Gene Burka Gelgelu

Gene Gelgelu
Learning Log

Gene Burka Gelgelu

Report date
November 2017
Fellowship term
24 months
Learning log 1

My leadership journey has been incredible. I can't believe it is already 6 months since I started my fellowship. I started my fellowship on June 1st and it has been an amazing journey. I visited cultural corridors, met diverse leaders, attended events and conference and planned leadership training course and doctoral education. I listed everything I wanted to do to build my leadership capacity. Some of these planned activities overlapped and I had to make some adjustment to it. What is more amazing for me is being a doctoral student which has been my dream for many years and now I am already learning a lot from my first semester courses.

I have to admit that the journey wasn’t easy, but I learned that how to be a bold and an adaptive leader and the Bush leadership fellowship gave me the opportunity to do that. Working with mentor and coach helped me to see things differently. Since I never worked with mentor and coach, it feels different, but it is okay. I learned a lot from them and continue learning different approach of doing things. They helped me to realize my full potential and challenge myself.

I collected a lot of leadership books and I read most of them. I attended events and met a lot of diverse leaders. I was extremely busy for the past six months with work, school, family, and leadership developments, but everything is going well. I have to admit that while I am going through this overwhelming work, I have support from family who were there for me and I am very thankful. I am grateful to my wife,daughter, mom, sister, friends, and others who are there for me and is supporting me while I am struggling with busy schedule. When I planned to visit cultural corridors in California, I reached out to my friends to connect me with leaders who were connected to the cultural corridors. I am very thankful to have such an amazing friends who were there to support me and connected me to the right leaders. Now I realized about the importance of social capital and sometimes we take such valuable asset for granted.

I planned to take one week leadership course, Authentic Leader Development that tuition cost $15,000.00, at Harvard early this summer, but I had to make some adjustment and postponed for next summer or sometimes between my school schedule. Also I reached out to some of the leaders and I am getting other short leadership courses that may better suited to my schedules. I am still exploring my options. Also I postponed some of my travels because of my class and I will do during my school break. I am excited about the opportunity that the Bush leadership fellowship has opened for me. The area I am not doing well is selfcare. I understood about the importance of self care in order to succeed as leader. However, this is where I need to invest more moving forward.

I like this quote:
“Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.” George Washington Carver

Just being in my first semester to my doctoral program, I can see a big difference now. I did learn from my past experience, when I was doing my undergraduate education, that it was education that opened a lot of doors for me. I remember when I came to America about two decade ago, my first job was washing dish and I was lucky to get that job that helped me to survive. I had to make decision whether I wanted to do that for the rest of mylife or go back to school. I chose to go back to school and I decided to work. It was that decision helped me to see better world than the situation I was in at the time. That is why I like this quote. One of my educational research for this semester is the impact of culture in cooperative business development. I am interested about this topic because I wanted to know about the impact of culture in economic development. In order to complete this assignment, I had to do a lot of research and post blog every week. Through this process, I realized that the impact of culture on economic development.

Also in order to build my leadership capacity, building network relationship was one of my fellowship goal. During this past six months, I have been intentionally reaching out to leaders locally and nationally. Some of my approaches didn’t work, but it is okay I was able to learn from those and made some adjustment. Something I did, as soon as I was accepted to Bush fellowship, was to evaluate my commitment at the time. I wanted to make sure I spend my time and effort on my fellowship. I was planning commissioner and human right commissioner for city of St. Paul for several years and require a lot of commitment, I work full time, and have family. I enjoyed serving our city as a planning commissioner and human right commissioner, but I realized that I will not be effective in serving the city if I was overcommitted. I decided to resign from both position, but it was hard decision I had to make and it was necessary. Now I am very intentional on where I want to invest my time. To accomplish this effort, I am seeking opportunity that will help me to expose myself to regional and national level economic policy. This is area that will help me to increase my network and I am exploring opportunity in this area.