Report date
December 2017
Learning Log

When I started the Fellowship I was very excited to begin work on my Master's Degree at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. I took a full schedule both semesters and finished all of the class credits in one year. Because I was in Rochester more than I had been during the past 10 years as a Legislator and no-longer had to be concerned with conflicts of interest, I was again able to join non-profit boards again. I also was able to participate in leadership activities wearing a new hat, but school was my main function and focus. In the past six months, however, I have been able to branch out using my Fellowship to participate in more experiential opportunities that have been life-changing. The various opportunities have allowed me to develop and grow my leadership skills. As an example, the summer and fall travel both to Northern Europe and the US West Coast to study sustainable living and energy efforts gave me the opportunity to represent my city and state with city and other governmental leaders from around the country and world. I was also able to deepen my knowledge of the kind of efforts that will need to be done in Rochester in order to bring our city in line with other leaders in the sustainable and livable city movement. I took advantage of contacts shared with me by acquaintances I met through networking to enhance my travel experience by talking with locals who have knowledge of the field and were able to help me in a personal way that could not be experienced searching websites or reading pamphlets. I was able to invite government leaders from Denmark to our own city and provide them a useful learning experience by working collaboratively with individuals from multiple sectors to provide our visitors with a program and experience that met their needs and interest. I also helped to educate and entertained German officials from our sister city of Muenster as they visited and learned what we are doing on the energy front in a reciprocal exchange. I have shared the knowledge I gained with multiple groups and various city staff in order to support their efforts to improve our city and am now accepted as someone who knows and has a basic understanding of the energy sector. I have taken leadership roles on the many non-profit boards that I know serve. I have sought to grow the organizations, work collaboratively with other groups in town on issues of mutual interest and engaged the community on a variety of issues. I have worked to build and re-build relationships with area leaders in the many different fields: energy, public health, leadership development, public television, children's museum capitol campaign, youth mentoring. The work on a new non-profit organization focused on women's leadership development has been a good growing opportunity for me. I have had to navigate through shared leadership with a range of established strong women leaders as well as new, fresh and excited upcoming leaders with limited experience. I believe my training at Rockwood and the Harvard Women and Power program (and the resulting research I did on equity in the workplace) have given me a solid base from which to begin trying out new skills and take risks. Agreeing to be a speaker at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum was one such experience. I was outside of my comfort zone not being an expert on designing a "city for peace", but with some reading and preparation I was able to speak with the authority I had as a leader and as someone who knows my own community. Learning to accept that I know what I know and that it isn't everything but it is enough to lead with if I speak my truth, my heart and with good intentions. I have had to work at overcoming self-doubt, but it is becoming easier as I understand myself better. Self-care and finding time to reflect do not always come naturally to me. I am working to build in the time necessary throughout the day to reflect on m leadership - my actions, my words, my relationships - so that I can continually improve to better serve my community. One year ago just as I was stepping back into the classroom, my daughter became quite ill and was hospitalized. Her subsequent diagnosis and the difficult road ahead has added emotional stress I've had to learn to manage. This has also helped me to understand the importance of family, living every day to its fullest and the need to create balance. I especially need to care for my relationship with my husband who has been a staunch supporter, but has suffered a bit during the stressful times and my rigorous school schedule this past year. All these experiences, the good and the bad, have helped underscore the need for me to pause, to reflect, to take care of myself and my family so that I can be there for my community, too.