Keith Weedman became a student of constructivist thinking in 1985. He was mentored by Robert Shaw, a psychiatrist and thought leader whose passion included achieving mastery in psychotherapy and teaching psychotherapists how to effect profound change in their clients’ lives through a brief, results-oriented approach. Weedman then obtained his Master’s degree in Psychology through an external degree program with extensive clinical training utilizing constructivist thinking under Shaw’s tutelage.
After obtaining his Master’s degree, Weedman demonstrated the potency of this disciplined practice to leaders while honing skills. He transformed his county’s welfare system into one which generated community pride and ownership by: 1) engaging the community to work in partnership with clients and existing agencies to enable self-sufficiency; and 2) training employees how to empower their clients. His role in leading these change initiatives was written up as a case study (see link below) for Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Then Indiana Governor Evan Bayh, after participating in the initiative’s three year anniversary celebration, was inspired to strive to replicate the initiative in every Indiana county. Programs created and staffed by volunteers and funded by local corporations included a monthly newspaper series highlighting client success stories, a corporate scholarship program, private sector work experiences, a mentoring program, and a food bank staffed by client volunteers.
In Columbus, IN, Weedman transformed a personal vision for his community into the Wheels to Work Program through working in collaboration with others. He convened the team of volunteers who invented the program where interested community members could donate a car to any one of six collaborating not-for-profit agencies to be sold to clients who lacked reliable transportation to sustain their employment. The program was designed to serve clients participating in any self-sufficiency program within the county. A bank was enrolled to manage the interest-free, affordable car loans (which covered the cost of vehicle repairs and program administration and gave clients some skin in the game and a credit history). A used car dealer was recruited to receive and inspect donated vehicles and perform necessary repairs at cost. He also stored the cars on his private car lot and showed them to clients deemed eligible. Wheels to Work received an Innovation Award from the National Governor’s Association. Proceeds from the award were used to create a replication tool kit which enabled the program to be replicated in 15 Indiana counties and in other states.
Weedman has invested over 17,000 hours elevating his skills in this disciplined practice and developing and refining resources to help leaders expedite their learning. He has led hundreds of workshops and training sessions dating back to 1988, and presented at two national conferences on welfare reform. He learned the relevance of using this disciplined practice to build future generation leadership skills as an unexpected benefit of effecting organizational and community change.