I continue to marvel at the entire fellowship experience and all that led up to me applying and then ultimately receiving the fellowship during the pandemic and the revolutionary moment in history with the murder of George Floyd and the racial reckoning that came as a result and is still ongoing. The reflections each month has been most effective as I looked back on what I have learned in the last two years, who I have met throughout this process, credentials I now have, demands for my leadership talents to lead large organizations and securing multiple government contracts for fatherhood program and testifying at the Capitol for fathers and fatherhood program funding and policies. Even and I reflect on this past month on all I have accomplished since the fellowship began and completing my last course this summer for my capstone project. This is my final class for my MPA degree as I was allowed to participate in the commencement ceremony in May. The summer semester has been an easier transition reducing my classes from 4 to 1. However, the challenge has been taking on such a big project working with a team of 4 classmates completing our research project with the city of Maplewood focusing on affordable housing. Although challenging, this capstone class and community project has allowed me to build upon my continued knowledge of my analytical reasoning, quality research, policy analysis, and leadership development skills. I continue to have experience working across sectors participating in a workgroup in the private sectoral as a consultant working on organizational and program development for a social justice organization. We are at the final stage of the project as they are refining their program component of the organization preparing for their upcoming 4th cohort to participate in the year long program. I am building on my leadership as I am further learning about board development and management as I sit on two boards and recently completed a class that focused on effective board leadership. I have learned that there can be many challenges daily in an effort to stay on track for many boards, which can lead to boards becoming a working board dealing with operational and personnel issues. These challenges have also led to organizing internal and external HR processes to prevent similar challenges reoccurring in the future. This has been extremely informative and assisting with my knowledge base and skills as I hope to start my non-profit that will consist of having my own board. I have learned from my participation as a board member, readings, videos, class discussions my classmates I came away with a much more comprehensive understanding of how effective boards work and, what they are designed to do to be most effective for the organization. I continue to build on my knowledge base to expand allowing my ability to continue to connect the dots from what I have learned throughout my professional career. My leadership in the non-profit arena and, also my experience to effectively communicate to others is only building my confidence in many spaces. I am more articulate, conceptual, theoretical, and effective when I speak based on my continued leadership growth. I feel myself continuing to enhance my unique skill set as an impactful and caring leader.
What has surprised me the most is my endurance, tenacity, strength to keep going as a leader through crisis, adversity and significant loss. My leadership has evolved tremendously and, my view of my impact continues to stretch beyond my current professional role. I was recently invited to conduct a training for 400 Child Protection workers on how to effectively engage fathers in government systems focusing on child welfare to achieve outcomes for the ensuring that kids are healthy and safe based on fathers being involved in a healthy, active and responsible way.I continue to hone my skills preparing for an upcoming community event. Fine tuning the process of establishing planning, fundraising and coordination of volunteers of community partners for 31st annual event celebrating fatherhood at North Commons Park in North Minneapolis. We have begun our annual fundraising efforts to reach our goal of $15,000 and we are 90% there. I continue to learn how to be effective in my ability to fundraise for this event, our fatherhood program which will assist me in the future to reach my goal of starting my own non-profit organization. This remains comforting for me in my leadership role in my community and true testament to our 32 -year history and community support of my work along with managing many other volunteers/family support organizations who help plan/support the event. This is icing on the cake for me as I continue to celebrate Fathers and their children by giving back to my community. Sustaining my leadership is a top priority and remains critical to my future work and practice as a community leader. My overall health and well-being are also my top priorities in 2022, 2023 and beyond. I continue to practice my Self-care activities such as diet/nutrition, biking, bible study participation, prayer, therapy, and regular massages. I still do my best at managing both work and family. It remains part of my larger goal developing as a leader. It is a process in becoming a regular lifestyle improving my impact as leader and leading by example. I continue to travel both domestically and internationally safely and fulfill the promise I made to myself to prioritize self-care for the leadership long game. I completed my goal of renewing my spirit, learning about my ancestors and my healing journey from all the tragedies I have suffered this past year traveling to Capetown, South Africa. It was an incredible, uplifting, empowering and life changing experience allowing me to trace my ancestry and channel their spirits and what they endured to overcome tragedies in my ongoing journey to heal from the recent loss of my firstborn son. This entire experience has brought me closer to my faith and my purpose to fulfill my ultimate calling to serve my generation.