NSLI founders Megan and Braden Penhoet appreciate the power of American innovation and industry, as well as rising concerns regarding growing income inequality, sustainability and community economic development.
The Nordic Scholars Leadership and Research Institute arises from the Penhoet’s deep family roots in the Nordics, starting with Swedish Finns’ immigration to the Pacific Northwest at the beginning of the 20th Century.
The Penhoet's professional work in university innovation at U.C. Berkeley, international educational programs at Stanford University, and leadership for sustainability research at Malmö University drives the NSLI mission. Academic research, professional expertise in innovation and higher education combined with their family summers in Sweden to form a strong appreciation for Nordic models.
When their eldest daughter returned from her junior year in Denmark, she shared her sense that the many lessons the Nordics can teach were not adequately captured in traditional study abroad programs. The real value of the Nordic Model had not yet been leveraged. The collaborative model of leadership touches every Nordic success and could be taught to rising American leaders.
The Penhoets and their collaborators developed NSLI to investigate the possibility of a leadership education program for motivated, high-achieving U.S. college graduates. The program design promises to uniquely leverage the Nordics’ investments in responsible innovation and collaborative leadership.
NSLI research and program design aims to create pattern-breaking, positive social change in the U.S. and strengthens Nordic- U.S. relationships for shared global impact.