Alumni Spotlight

October Alumni Spotlight with Charles A. Archer, Executive MPA '11

oct 17 alumni spotlight

In this month’s alumni spotlight we speak to highly accomplished lawyer, author, speaker, adviser, entrepreneur, and co-founder and CEO of The THRIVE Network, Charles A. Archer. Charles offers leadership lessons, a look into his community-based nonprofit, relates his experience in the Executive MPA program, and more.

Tell us about Everybody Paddles: A Leaders Blueprint for Creating a Unified Team. What inspired you to write it?
Everybody Paddles is a management model focused on reaching strategic alignment and accelerated change through collaboration. The Everybody Paddles principles provide an outline for successfully building company consensus and developing effective behavioral dynamics within organizations. Readers learn how to put the right metrics in place, enabling teams to translate operational outcomes into business solutions.

Throughout my career, I have sought business books that provided realistic guidelines for someone like any executive or me. Most management books offered advice, but not enough seem to connect theory to practice. Everybody Paddles: A Leaders Blueprint for Creating a Unified Team was written to examine all aspects of management, create an original vision on communicating with your team and provide practical guidelines based on real experiences.

What is The THRIVE Network? What were your goals when founding it? What have you accomplished thus far and what do you hope to accomplish in the next ten years?
The THRIVE Network is a community-based organization where we assist people with disabilities live with dignity, respect and independence. Our mission is accomplished by offering programs and services to individuals so they can reach their potential. With a dedicated and committed workforce, THRIVE’s goals have always been to give a voice to the voiceless, presence to the excluded, and opportunity to the disadvantaged and disenfranchised.

For twenty years, THRIVE has impacted the lives of thousands our individuals and their families throughout New York City by creating platforms which move them from dependence to independence; remain an employer of choice within the non-profit sector; advocate for social justice issues; participate in the transformation of the service delivery system; partner with other organizations and businesses concerned about community development; and strategically prepare for the ever-changing social service and health care system. Under the governance of a supportive Board of Directors, I hope that we not only expand our service and program options for those with disabilities, but venture into health care, homelessness support, and affordable housing.

How has the Marxe School and the Executive MPA program helped you along your career path?
The Executive MPA was a tipping point in my career by shaping my understanding of public policy and administration. Even though I co-founded The THRIVE Network in 1996, I did not become the Chief Executive Officer until 2007. As an attorney and even being in leadership positions throughout my career, being a new CEO of a community-based organization required an enhanced skillset. The Executive MPA provided a collaborative learning environment that prepared me for participant engagement, employee interactions, management development, financial awareness, board governance and fundraising.

Do you have any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs and advocates of positive change?
We can foster positive change through the daily evolution of leadership. This is leadership that involves learning many lessons, both successful and challenging, that uplifts and inspires those around us to seek social justice and change.

Here are a few of my lessons learned:
 Leadership is Constant
 Leadership is about Followership
 Leadership through Mentoring and Coaching
 Leadership is Active & Involved
 Leadership is Life
 Leadership is a Learned Mindset & Behavior
 Leadership is Management & Governance