April 12th, 2012

Celebrating 20 Years of Johnson & Johnson Head Start Management Fellows Program

From Conrad Person, Director, Corporate Contributions, Johnson & Johnson

Head Start and Johnson & Johnson both seem at home in a single sentence.  Both names evoke images of children and both organizations have the protection and nurturing of children at the core of their separate heritages.  But where does UCLA Anderson School of Management fit into the picture?  Let’s face it, we usually think of MBA programs as calculating, strategic, and a little cold.

At least that’s where I was mentally when I began my Head Start journey back in 1992.  I had accepted a temporary assignment in Corporate Contributions with the goal of doubling the size of the fledgling Johnson & Johnson Head Start Management Fellows Program at UCLA Anderson.  I understood the children needed teachers, nutritious food, and safe transport but I had not considered that these things entail human resources management, procurement, logistics and well-defined policies and procedures.  I quickly learned that Head Start Programs also serve as advocates for children and families and need strong communications and public relations to ensure adequate funding and community support.

In other words, I learned that running a Head Start program, sometimes serving thousands of America’s most disadvantaged families, is as much a management challenge as it is a social service challenge.  And while most Head Start managers have been educated in fields like education, early childhood development, and social work; they rarely have management training.

This is where UCLA Anderson enters the picture.  Because one key faculty member, Senior Associate Dean Alfred E. Osborne, believed that management education was as relevant in the world of community service as it was in the world of business, over 1400 Head Start managers have received an intensive two week experience at UCLA followed by real world application through a Management Improvement Project.  In this he truly led the field. In fact, the MIP concept has become a hallmark of Johnson & Johnson supported management education.

Head Start administrators attend a course at UCLA Anderson for the 2009 UCLA/Johnson & Johnson Head Start Management Fellows Program.

Over the past two decades UCLA Anderson has constantly refined and adjusted to meet the needs of today’s Head Start Director.

Perhaps most significantly, the program has created an off shoot effort that helps train parents to be more effective health care providers to their children.  Professor Ariella Herman has touched over 45,000 families through this training and has demonstrated in peer reviewed publications that educating parents can bring better care to children.  Just as important, it brings a sense of empowerment and confidence to parents, many of whom have literacy challenges than make compliance to treatment plans difficult or even impossible.

Ariella Herman (right foreground), research director of the UCLA/Johnson & Johnson Health Care Institute, speaks to a group of Head Start administrators.

So, when you think of Management education, know that thanks to UCLA Anderson, it has helped non-profit executives provide more help, more efficiently, to more families for over 20 years.

Read more about this partnership in UCLA Anderson’s ASSET magazine.

Curt Weeden (left) and Conrad Person (right), the original and current leaders on the Johnson & Johnson side of the UCLA/Johnson & Johnson programs, participate in a panel discussion as part of the celebration of the partnership’s 20th anniversary.

3 Responses to “Celebrating 20 Years of Johnson & Johnson Head Start Management Fellows Program”

  1. Mary E Hafner says

    The UCLA / J&J Management Program has given me more than I can ever express. It is from the J & J Program that I learned; what true leadership was, how to strategically organize and use a PERT chart, that I needed to think out of the “Head Start box” and form partnerships with community businesses and organizations and Head Start had to promote itself as a leader in the community. Since July 1996 when I attended the UCLA / Johonson & Johnson Program our agency has formed meaningful partnerships with our community members, purchased a beautiful brick building which houses seven classrooms and the entire management team, taken over the running of the local Community College Child Care Center, located four of our up-county Head Start Centers in local elementary schools, operating a UPK classroom at our Glens Falls Center for the City School District and we received our first grant to serve Early Head Start..
    I was honored to receive the Helen Taylor Award in 2005 and it will always be one of my most cherished possessions, but the memory of the Professors at the UCLA Anderson School of Management and the dediation of Johnson and Johnson will forever be a part of me. Thank You, Mary

  2. Alan Guttman says

    As one of the “leaders” who was fortunate enough to be selected to participate in the Head Start Johnson and Johnson Management Fellows program, I am grateful for the depth of insights and the breadth of organizational management skills offered. I will never forgot Dr. Osborne’s first message to us: we need to do more “leading” and less “managing”. The Fellows program instilled in me the need for nurturing visionary leadership in Head Start programs. As Conrad, notes above, Head Start programs are complex programs, facing numerous management challenges like many large businesses. While federal funding of the program often fluctuated with congressional allocations to Head Start, Johnson & Johnson was and continues to be steadfast in its support for this valuable incubator for today’s and tomorrow’s Head Start program leaders. Better Head Start leaders translates to improved management and fiscal systems that promote improved staff performance and services resulting in higher quality education, health, nutrition, mental health, and social services outcomes for our nation’s low-income children and families. Just as our programs need great leaders to succeed, UCLA and all 1400+ Head Start Fellows know full well that Johnson & Johnson’s sustained commitment to and financial support for this great program is the fruit of Conrad Person’s dynamic leadership. Thank you, UCLA. Thank you, Head Start, Thank you, Conrad. Finally, thank you, JOHNSON & JOHNSON!

  3. OC Dentist says

    I am grateful for the information and insight that was offered from this program. Thank you for sharing everything in your post. Please keep us all updated on any future events.

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