Conference on ‘Authentic Leadership’ Promises to Inspire and Instruct

    Shawne Duperon
    Shawne Duperon
    Shawne Duperon

    Let’s face it: Being a leader is hard work. Making decisions whether you’re a CEO or in charge of a Cub Scout troupe can be daunting and intimidating. Shawne Duperon gets it.

    That is why Duperon, conference sponsors and speakers organized “Authentic Leadership Day,” a May 14 conference aimed to helping people learn to become better communicators, how to handle bad times and how to enjoy the good days. When it comes to making tough decisions, conference goers will walk out with new tools and skills to get the job done, Duperon said.

    “Research shows people stay in jobs where they are inspired and appreciated. The leadership skills we’re focusing on at the event Wednesday are teaching progressive leaders how to grow and keep a diverse workforce,” Duperon said. “We’re all here for such a short time. Work doesn’t have to be a painful, exhausting experience. It can be, with exquisite leadership, a creative, compelling and fulfilling part of our lives. And just like our mission for Project: Forgive, we want to see more people stepping into this realm of leadership.”

    The day-long event at Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn also will have satellite session in Chicago and Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It will be live streamed by Detroit Public Television across the world.

    Speakers include Federal Judge Damon Keith, Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley, Motor City Connect founder Terry Bean and Gary Weinstein, who lost his family in a car crash caused by a drunk driver and then learned not only to forgive the driver, but to teach the driver how to forgive himself. Weinstein’s story led Duperon to begin a non-profit, The Project Forgive Foundation, which will benefit from the conference.

    Motor City Connect founder Terry Bean
    Motor City Connect founder Terry Bean

    “I’m excited to present at the authentic leadership event because I believe our world needs more leaders. Once people realize they are capable from leading where they are now, without appointment or promotion, we will all be able to move forward faster,” Bean said. “This program offers a blueprint for others to follow so they can become effective leaders.”

    Video messages will come from business and entertainment luminaries, including country singing superstar Naomi Judd, religious leader Archbishop Desmond Tutu and author Jack Canfield, who is the brain behind the best-selling series “Chicken Soup for the Soul.”

    Some background: Duperon, a six-time EMMY winner and international speaker, developed the concept of authentic leadership after her video on the concept of forgiveness went viral on the Internet, with tens of thousands of viewers across the globe. She defines authentic leadership as “trusting yourself while at the same time forgiving yourself for not being perfect.”

    “Our little video went viral and we had no idea of its impact. It became obvious the concept of forgiveness brings people together regardless of your religion or politics. The same is true for authentic leadership. Teaching and encouraging the type of skills that Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu emulate is good for business, good for people, good for everyone,” Duperon said.

    Sponsors include Chrysler, one of the corporations that has used Duperon’s “Authentic Leadership” approach. This includes learning techniques that help employees and leaders make the kind of decisions that move organizations forward and in unison, Duperon said.

    “It’s amazing what’s happening. Corporations like Chrysler Group are understanding the leadership skills such as collaboration, compassion and forgiveness, similar to what Nelson Mandela teaches, is exactly what’s needed in business today,” Duperon said.

    Besides Chrysler, event partners include an office of the U.S. Department of Commerce in Chicago, the Evolutionary Business Council and the Women’s Business Enterprise Council – Great Lakes. (Corp! Magazine also is in there as well with the media folks.)

    “We have nearly 2,000 people registered online. Many in Greece where the unemployment rate is above 30 percent.. Our Chicago satellite location is sold out already. Progressive companies like Chrysler are on board. Companies and business owners want this conversation of authentic leadership. It’s obvious by the response to the event. I’m thrilled to be a part of it,” Duperon said.

    The conference will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Henry Ford Community College’s main campus in the Forfa Auditorium, 5101 Evergreen Road in Dearborn. Registration starts at 9 a.m.. Tickets for the live events are $37 per person; streaming events are $7 per person. Complete details and registration information can be found at