The last year has been transformational in more ways than one. From the moment I was awarded the Bush Fellowship, I have felt the freedom step into the role the community needs me to be. This includes paying attention to what I need as a leader to recharge, reflect, and be present at home and at work.
At times it's felt like I haven't made much progress with my Bush Fellowship because every experience I use as an opportunity to learn and grow. Sometimes the smallest things are the most impactful, whether that be paying attention to the movement and play of my kids or noticing the daily acute changes in nature as the seasons shift, I've been looking for the lessons in everything. The Bush Fellowship has given me peace of mind to pause and breathe with regularity.
Last year, I had the opportunity to travel to SOCAP Spectrum and an angel investing bootcamp- the last ones that will probably be in-person for some time. To be in rooms full of POC game changers felt revolutionary. Investors, founders, philanthropists came together to discuss the future of social enterprises in our communities. After getting over the initial fear of not fitting in, I met some true innovators who are uncovering community and providing space just like we are at The Coven. They came from the Mississippi, Hawaii, and beyond and shared their challenges and triumphs. We learned from each other, and I'm so grateful for the experience to meet others doing this work. At time, it feels like the universe delivers connectors together to help one another.
One of my goals was to meet empire builders and understand how they think, move, rest, and grow. Honestly, since COVID-19 struck, I had moved this to the back of my mind, focusing on survival. Because we've had to move everything virtually, I decided this would be something I would pick up again when travel was available again. Then just a few weeks ago, I met Arlan Hamilton from Backstage Capital. She is on my list of people to connect with and because of this crazy situation, we were able to pull it off. We launched virtual programming in partnership with Lunar Startups as soon as everything shut down and have been picking the brains of leaders around the country on their survival methods. What I realized is that the people I had on my list who are thriving and empire building are actually just incredible survivors. They're resilient, and they know how to weather the storms. I'm recognizing that now might be the best time to connect with these individuals as we are all moving through a common crisis, and our own wellbeing rests in the hands of each other. Now, more than ever, we are all bound together.
While the last few months is not how I would have wanted to spend my Fellowship, I'm learning more about myself as a leader now in deep isolation and reflection. If my work is to connect and support communities, I must find innovative ways to do it. It is tiresome and uncertain, but I am equal parts energized by the opportunity to innovate and terrified of the outcomes. I suppose these are the ingredients that make a survivor.