The Bush Foundation Fellowship is a journey that has to be approached with a very open and curious mind. Starting from the very beginning at the fellowship retreat, it was clear to me that this would be a very different program than most other fellowships that I had been a part of. I sincerely appreciated the diversity and strength of my cohort group, and the perspectives that were shared by the Bush Foundation leadership team as well as the guest speakers that were brought in.
My initial goals were modest to reflect the journey that I knew was waiting for me. I also allowed myself room to readjust and reassess my goals, acknowledging that I might have to be do some things differently from what I had earlier planned. 6 months later, these are the updates that I can share based on the initial goals I set for myself:
1. Increased expertise in the field of information technology, with special emphasis on research methodologies to assess positive use of technology. For this goal, I have continued to look for resources that can help me increase my expertise. For example, I attended SOCAP18 in San Francisco this past month. This was a conference that brought together more than 3,000 professionals in the Social Capital and Social Enterprise spaces.
2. Study model organizations, such as CODE2040 in San Francisco, CA, to research and implement ways to attract more African immigrant youth to the field of technology. I have started laying out the groundwork and connections needed to visit these organizations, and I hope I can report on the successful visits in my next log.
3. Strengthen my leadership expertise. I have added two new mentors into my leadership circle. They are both women, and both represent an acknowledgement on my part that I have to seek guidance from voices that were not part of my inner circle before the bush fellowship was announced.
4. Increase my professional network. On this goal, I made strategic decision to reach out to past bush fellows and add them to my network, as well as attending at least one major national conference every 6 months. Attending SOCAP18 allowed me to significantly increase my professional network and possible connections that can help me during this leadership journey.
5. Self care. I added this goal as a reflection of what I learned from our cohort retreat. I appreciated the reminder that we need to take care of ourselves better if we were to be successful in our leadership goals. For this, I have set a goal of taking a full family vacation at least once a year, and one weekend a year that I can do a personal reflection on my own. I have already taken the family vacation in the summer, and look forward to spending the reflection weekend this coming spring.