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What People Have Said About the Academy

Dozens of up-and-coming Special Olympics leaders, including athlete leaders, have attended Leadership Academy sessions. Here's a sampling of what they've said.

All 5 Stars!

“The Leadership Academy creates tools for legacies. It brings to light the insights of one personality. It highlights the needs for strategic plans and monitoring. It gives tools to breaks down processes into actions, which can be handled. It has taught many the difference between urgent and important tasks. It has built a protocol in individuals for better management of time and tasks. The immense interactive sessions have been so informative and full of learning from varied peer groups. The entire Academy is full of initiative and creativity. Sessions on a boat, sessions in a park, sessions in a cultural village created for the Academy, et al... the entire Academy is NOT just a conference or a long meeting, it is a lifetime experience and stays with the trainees for a long time. The intense follow up after the workshop with tangible feedback and the support post workshop for the delegates is outstanding and appreciated. The pre-reading material for the delegates and the intense collaboration with the guest speakers from varied fields indeed is so professional and shows commitment of the Academy organizers.”

Dr. Commander Kartikay Saini, Chairman of Special Olympics Bharat - Special Olympics International Board of Directors, Member

Believing in Athlete Leaders

"Thank you for the wonderful leadership training, it was a very energetic workshop. I will definitely apply it and share with other athletes. I will try my best to change. Thank you Special Olympics Pakistan and everyone in the SO movement who gave us Athletes this chance and in believing we can be leaders of tomorrow!"

Jasmine Sharif , Special Olympics Pakistan, Board Member - Co-Chair, Athlete Input Council, SOAP

Motivation Beyond Measure

"In all my 35 professional years of career this is the first workshop...I have attended of this nature. It was very well conceptualized and organized. The sessions and interactions were very interesting and quite unique. I have taken back a huge amount of new knowledge scientifically classified and easy to understand and implement. Above all the motivation that all of you collectively built in me is beyond measure."

Dr. Reena R Kumar, Special Olympics Bharat, National Clinical Advisor, Advisory Trustee - Clinical Director, Special Smiles

Seeing Leadership in A New Light

"The entire academy took me by surprise from the thought-provoking content and lessons learned, to each and every one of you. Not only did I expand my network with incredible new colleagues and friends, but you all truly inspired me through your passion and dedication to our movement. Although I've always enjoyed my position, you all have inspired me to look at it in a whole new light and for that, I cannot thank you enough. Can't wait to hear about everyone's progress in their respective programs."

Britt Kleine, Special Olympics Pennsylvania

A Wealth of Knowledge and Inspiration

"The Leadership Academy workshop [was] the most worthwhile and valuable workshop I have been a part of since starting with Special Olympics. I don't think I fully appreciated the wealth of both knowledge and inspiration I received over the three days in Philadelphia until back in the office with time to reflect. There was an excellent balance of networking, sharing, learning and fun which is testament to the team and all the pre-work you must have done to ensure the week was a success. I can confidently say I am coming back to Canada with tools, views and resources that have started me on the journey to becoming a better leader and I look forward to the upcoming year working on the deliverables in the action plan, conversing with fellow academy members, continuing to learn and evolve and whatever else might come our way."

Tom Davies, Special Olympics Canada, Director, Program Development


"I thought this was going to make me an outgoing vocal leader. I'm glad it's not what it was about because, frankly, that intimidated me. Knowing that the goal is to be authentic to who I am yet to stretch to others is a much more attainable goal. I learned so much in such a short amount of time and am excited to put the lessons I learned to practice at work and in my everyday life."

Anonymous Evaluation Comments, Special Olympics North America Academy


"I've taken leadership/management classes but I've never been so engaged and feel like the discussions/materials are actually items I would/am going to use."

Anonymous Evaluation Comments, Special Olympics North America Academy

Best in 15 Years

"Absolutely best professional development I've experienced in 15 years of SO work. Far beyond expectations. I feel I have been privileged to work with and learn from an Academy that will historically change how leaders are equipped in SONA and for the culture of learning being established for staff around the globe."

Anonymous Evaluation Comments, Special Olympics North America Academy