I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to became Bush Fellow and learn about all aspects of leadership formal and informal. The understanding of my leadership changed over the months as I have increased my leadership skills and build my confidence to own my lived experience and lead. Since I started my fellowship, I have gained a lot of experience in transforming my leadership. As someone who had been leading a campaign to combat colorism, skin-lightening practice and chemical exposures I did not have before clear picture of how the issue is beyond USA and its impact on global communities. The fellowship gave me to do more in depth research within the impacted communities in MN, other states and globally. I have had the opportunity to travel to some countries, meet with local communities both in urban and rural areas. I had the chance to interview many individuals, government officials, business owners, skin-lightening dealers and testing products. All of this experience helped me expand my understanding of the issue, increase my skills on these issues and position me a global leader and expert on combating the issues of colorism, skin-lightening and chemical exposures. It helped me to strategies the work we do through the Beautywell and ways to increase our impact in the US and globally. I have had the opportunity to partner with CNN to document and publish the impact of colorism and skin-lightening practice on communities of color in the US and Kenya. I have also co-hosted some other discussion sessions with CNN. I have started the process of establishing first of its kind global coalition that will focus building support system to combat colorism, skin-lightening practice/products and chemical exposures.
Moreover, I have had the opportunity to do Nonprofit Executive Leadership Certificate at Harvard University which helped me learn ways to lead nonprofit effectively, expand our funding pool, strategic partnerships and increase our impact. I also had the opportunity to have Executive Leadership Coach which has been very helpful guiding me through the process of accomplishing my fellowship goals.
Since I started my fellowship self-care has been huge part of what I wanted to do on daily basis and making sure that I learn different ways I can do self-care and ways to build in my busy schedule. Doing exercise, medication, daily prayers and taking some time off has been helpful to sustain my self-care as I travel, do research, and educational campaigns in the midst of global pandemic. As I have been practicing self-care in the last several months it now became embedded in my daily schedule. Sustaining my self-care also helped build overall health and well-being.