The American Leadership Forum (ALF) was founded in 1980 by Joseph Jaworski, who left his successful law practice to address what he increasingly saw as a crisis of leadership taking place throughout the country. His vision was to establish a national organization dedicated to bringing together leaders from various sectors in communities across the country to develop their leadership skills and capacity and strengthen their commitment to work together on public issues.
After a year of meeting with leaders from across the United States, Jaworski and seventeen other prominent Americans launched the American Leadership Forum with this vision in mind. This group included John Gardner, former Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare; James MacGregor Burns, Professor Emeritus of Williams College; Warren Bennis, former Professor at USC and respected author; Tom Bradley, former mayor of Los Angeles; Harlan Cleveland, former ambassador to NATO and President of the World Academy of Art & Science; Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School, and James B. Stockdale, Vice Admiral in the U.S. Navy.
Through the vision of this group, ALF began in 1980 to address a need for more skillful, more ethical, more effective leadership on a local basis. They were convinced that if a diverse, cross-section of a community's business, elected, non-profit, labor, media, academic, professional, and religious leadership could be brought together to work on public issues, no problem would be beyond solution. In 1996, Joe Jaworski published a book, Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership, in which he chronicles his efforts to build the American Leadership Forum and explains the principles and values that ALF embodies.
Now a national organization with chapters established in Houston, Texas; Portland, Oregon; Tacoma, Washington; Charlotte, North Carolina; Waccamaw, South Carolina; Detroit, Michigan; Sacramento, California; Great Valley (Modesto) California; and Silicon Valley, California, almost five thousand ALF Senior Fellows throughout the country have completed the original program, bringing to their disparate communities a new sense of commitment, understanding and interconnectedness.