Y2K was about to hit and we all were wondering what would happen. Of course, there was much of nothing; planes still stayed aloft and the world did not change much. However, there was something significant for me that year- Leadership 2000. We all know it now as Leadership North County. Classes were at Cal State San Marcos, and the experience for me was the start of an academic and practical pursuit to discover the essence of leadership. My experiences and training on what it meant to be a leader was geared primarily toward the highly structured world of police work.I was a sergeant at Escondido PD at the time and thirsty to learn more about what leadership was outside my world of fighting crime and serving my community. L2000 connected me to other leaders around our area and we shared our collective stories of the challenges we faced. My comfort zone was pushed- my group project had nothing to do with law enforcement. Our final L2000 project topic was about wastewater and the challenges that leaders in the industry face. I did not know it at the time, but the L2000 experience was a crucible for me. I knew in order to grow as a leader (and as a follower) that I had to move away from the confines of what traditional police training had to offer. L2000 was the start of a long discovery process that continues today and I hope will never stop; life-long learning was a major take away for me. L2000 inspired me to finally complete college.
A few years later, I had obtained a BS from Azusa Pacific University in Organizational Leadership and later a promotion to lieutenant. A few years after graduation, I was back in the classroom at the University of San Diego for my MS in Executive Leadership. What I learned- what we learned as a class- on the Friday’s of the weekend sessions was put to use on Monday morning. The practicality of formal education and the application of the learning began to become increasingly clear for me. Learning about leadership begat deeper understanding of what it was about. Fast-forward another four years after graduating from USD and now I find myself back and involved in Leadership North County. It is one of those “circle of life” things. The leadership journey is therapeutic and full of moments of discovery. It is about listening to the issues and making connections in order to understand. It is about doing something to make the world a better place. It is about arousing people and not being afraid to disrupt the status quo. I look forward to this new opportunity to work with LNC and alumni. I am excited about building new relationships, sharing stories, and experiencing more personal growth during the journey.
Mike Loarie is currently a Lieutenant for the Escondido Police Department. He began his career in law enforcement 29 years ago with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. Later, he worked for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and ultimately arrived at the Escondido Police Department in 1989. Mike believes in the value of leadership training and has worked tirelessly to bring such training to the police department.