If I were to put myself in the shoes of a new Fellow, I would tell them to slowdown and reflect on this moment. Becoming a Bush Fellow was a long but a rewarding journey that forced me to deeply examine my life and how I got to where I am today. To be selected for the Bush Fellowship is a once in a lifetime opportunity and life-changing experience. The resources you are provided with will allow you to do some incredible experiences in such a short amount of time so make sure to cherish every moment of it. I will tell new Fellows to get ready for the avalanche of congratulatory messages that will come on their way. When the world learned that I have been chosen for the fellowship, many people from my network have reached out to congratulate and share their excitement and joy for me.
Its been about six months since the 2021 Bush Fellows cohort had been announced. For me, I have been primarily focused on developing healthy habits and self-care practices that I often neglected in pursuit of achieving other goals in my professional life. It took me few months to realize that achieving my personal and professional goals during the fellowship is a marathon and not a sprint. This realization has allowed me to slow down. It also allowed me to write everything I want to do during the fellowship and to deeply think about exploring new learning opportunities.
After I found out I have been chosen as one of the 2021 Fellows, I immediately began applying to the Humphrey Policy Fellows at the University of Minnesota and Leadership Twin Cities at the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce programs. Although the application process is competitive, I was fortunate to have been selected for both. These two programs are highly coveted and among the top leadership and professional development programs in the region and both programs are a year-long. I applied these two programs as part of my leadership development goal because I want to sharpen my advocacy skills, coalition building skills, and expand my network of leaders in the region. Both programs offer exceptional opportunities to work with other leaders in the region and work on areas of leadership, advocacy, and collaboration.
The Humphrey Policy Fellows program attracts some of the best and brightest emerging leaders from throughout Minnesota - individuals who are seeking a better understanding of how they can have an impact in their communities and in the world. The best part about becoming a Policy Fellow is the access it opens-up to an extraordinary network of talented doers, across sectors and across Minnesota’s increasingly diverse communities. During the year-long program, the fellows meet monthly for full-day sessions on policy, advocacy, leadership, and other topics and hear from some of the leaders in our region. The program also includes a week-long study trip to Washington, DC.
The other program I am participating is Leadership Twin Cities (LTC). Leadership Twin Cities is a professional development program that is designed to inform people about the critical issues facing our community. The program focus is to inform and inspire future leaders, like myself, and challenge them to make a difference. I found Leadership Twin Cities to be an invaluable program because it seeks to teach about community issues and discusses solutions to the current problems our region and communities face. Lastly, Leadership Twin Cities creates opportunities for participants to form relationships with classmates, making it a truly unique and lasting experience.
The Bush Fellowship is a once a lifetime opportunity to work on myself, and I intend to do just that. I am excited for all that is in store for me for the next 18 months. I will continue to participate leadership programs, public speaking seminars, work with personal and executive coaches, and connect with mentors and leaders in the region. I am also excited for the number of continuing legal education programs I plan to participate to expand my skills and network in the legal community. Lastly, I will be focusing on creating and building healthy habits—both mentally and physical—as well as practicing meditation, gratitude, and self-reflection.