I couldn’t believe that I have completed my two years of the leadership journey. Throughout the leadership development, I have become an influential amongst many circles. I have been engaged in a variety of organizations, prominent people, and community members seeking guidance and advice from me. People who I have never met, including those from out of Minnesota, reached me inquiring about my fellowship work and the research study that I am involved in. Although COVID-19 hinders some of my final work, including publishing my alternative Islamic financing options, I do have realized that getting the necessary tools, resources, and support, allowed me to achieve my fellowship goals. This onetime opportunity fellow built my leadership capacity, especially in this time pandemic. The Somali Minnesota COVID-19 taskforce committee voted for me to lead the task force to coordinate community health issues, create coronavirus awareness and education, allocate the available community resources, and connect them one-another throughout the COVID-19 crisis. My organization was selected by the city of Minneapolis to help low-income families for the city's $3 million housing emergency gap fund.
Also, I have learned that leadership is about dreaming things that are too big to achieve, have self-confidence, and take unusual and sometimes unpopular initiatives in order to change people’s lives.
I am surprised that things that I thought would be impossible to accomplish became possible throughout the journey. I have highlighted two major work developing for my leadership:
1. Getting a Ph.D. in public administration: - As planned, May 10th, 2010, I have completed all of my course work with an impressive GPA of 3.8. I believe achieving academic success and getting a doctorate is an excellent achievement because, as a busy father of eight children, community organizer, and small community-based nonprofit organization director, I believe fulfilling this Ph.D. dream is a milestone. It will add a lot to my leadership potential and enhance my ability to influence others. I am going to be officially becoming a community of scholars soon.
2. Building an Alternative Financing mechanism: the interest-free Islamically acceptance micro-loans and wealth-building got reliable traction in Minnesota. I have created an alternative finance committee, including banks, academics, government, faith, and community leaders. I have initiated a steady campaign of finding alternative financing for culturally specific communities patterning with both mainstream and grassroots organizations. For example, the Minnesota DEED, city of Minneapolis, and Hennepin County small emergency COVID-19 business loans were all INTEREST-free. All state-wide applicants, Minneapolis and Hennepin County residents, who own small businesses, get access loans without interest for the first time. Interest-free loans and alternative financing now got attention to local Minnesota banks and community development corporations.
Finally, I encounter surprises and new challenges almost every day, so I believe that those new phenomena make me even more robust and allow me to become a strong leader.