Report date
January 2022
Learning Log

After completing the strength finders test, I discovered my dominant strengths, and it gave me a sense on what areas I am strong in. the strength finder test allows you to work in the areas that you are good at and not in the ones you might not be as strong at. My top five strengths were includer, positivity, responsibility, woo, and communication.
My first strength finder is Includer, I was not surprised about being an includer. This draws me back to 4 years ago, when I expressed interest in Fargo Human Relations Commission, and my motive was to create a vibrant inclusive community. I want to build a community that recognizes, welcomes and values the voices and perspectives of all residing there. My leadership goal – and passion – is to assist individuals, groups and organizations to work together in building this type of community. This correlated to the strength finder report of includer. which is -people with strong Includer talents center their lives on this philosophy. They want to include people and make them feel like part of the group. They notice people who feel like outsiders or who feel unappreciated, and they reach out to bring them in. They instinctively accept others. Regardless of race, gender, nationality, personality or faith, Includers cast few judgments. Their accepting nature doesn’t necessarily rest on the belief that we are all different and that one should respect those differences — rather, it rests on the conviction that fundamentally we are all the same. We are all equally important. Thus, no one should be ignored. Each of us should be included. As a Director of Equity and Inclusion for Moorhead Area Public Schools, I want to be inclusive as much as I can. I always make sure that all stakeholders are included in everything we do as a district.
My second strength from the strength finder assessment is positivity. Per strength finder report, People with strong Positivity talents are generous with praise, quick to smile and always on the lookout for the upside of the situation. They always seem to find a way to lighten the spirits of those around them. They are optimistic, hopeful and fun-loving. They celebrate every achievement. They find ways to make everything more exciting and dynamic.
While reflecting on my essay, I had a conversation with a friend about our expectations of leaders based on our cultural formation. I grew up understanding leadership as a responsibility for the welfare of your entire community. My grandfather, a leader in our community, would tell us, I cannot be whole unless everyone is whole. When I think about my leadership goals, I think about how to ensure the wellbeing of everyone I know. I know I have a responsibility to continue to be a leader who people call first for help, who they know will show up, who they trust to be fair. Members of the New American community and other communities ask me for help with immigration documents, legal representation, Habitat for Humanity applications, snow clearing, fundraising, translation, personal concerns, and community initiatives. Institutional and public leaders rely on me to represent immigrant and refugee interests, to bridge between groups and explain cultural differences. As a leader, I want to keep helping other people, but I also want my role to be more than only responding to people’s concerns and challenges. I want to help my community transition from just surviving to have the security and stability they need to thrive, take care of each other and realize collective goals. I want to evolve as a leader into a role of organizing my community and other communities to advocate for their own interests. I want my community to move from isolation to interdependence and impact.
My third strength is responsibility, per strength finder report, responsibility in action is - People with strong Responsibility talents take psychological ownership of anything they commit to, whether it is large or small, and they feel emotionally bound to follow it through to completion. They keep their promises and honor their commitments. They don’t let people down, and they work very hard to fulfill all of their responsibilities and keep their word. I learned about leadership responsibility at a young age. From 11-17 years, I lived in a camp in Ethiopia with other Sudanese Lost Boys. Not only did I have to step up to be my own parent, but I was also responsible for the survival, daily lives of other orphaned. As chair of the S. Sudanese Community in Fargo-Moorhead. I was able to bring our members together every weekend, to address issues we are facing as a community of immigrants. Most surfacing issues were, finding work, securing housing, accessing services, transportation, understanding and overcoming cultural differences, learning and understanding English and raising children in a culturally-unfamiliar context and ensuring children's educational success.
As a result of the weekend engagement, I was also able to bring elders and youth together every weekend, and together we were able to address concerns regarding an increase in teenage pregnancy and criminal behaviors amongst youth leading to immigration and citizenship issues and generational misunderstanding between parent and children.
As a result of community weekend engagement, we were able to develop a One-on-One tutoring project, builds on our community investment in academic enrichment, youth development, English language for adults. The impact of one-on-one is that we were able to place 256 people in the workforce that first year, and more the following year, we were able to develop after-school programs to help children of non-English speakers who are unable to get help at home.
My fourth Strength finder is Woo. Per strength finder, woo in action. Woo stands for “winning others over.” People with strong Woo talents enjoy the challenge of encountering new people and gaining their esteem. They are drawn to meeting new people. They want to learn others’ names, ask them questions and find common interests on which to build rapport. People with Woo among their top themes can enter a crowd and easily know what to do and say. Some people shy away from starting up conversations because they worry about running out of things to say. People with a lot of Woo do not. They see no strangers — only friends they haven’t met yet. As a child orphaned and displaced by violent conflict in charge of other orphans, I was the peace-loving one. There was an American named David who visited the camp for a week. After observing us, he asked me to attend a six-month certificate-based peace course. My approach to struggles and challenges today continues to be focused on peace-building and Community building. I was given the scholarship to come to the U.S. because I was one of the top students in high school, in Ethiopia, where I studied in Arabic and Amharic. I was the only one in that school able to write and speak five languages. However, when I arrived in Philadelphia, PA, in 2006, I didn't know any English. I was able to enroll in high school and take intensive English courses. One of the ways I taught myself English was by watching cartoons and repeating what I heard. One year later, I graduated from high school and applied and was accepted to Pennsylvania State University. I had to work twice as hard as my American classmates to complete my undergraduate degree. Woo is one of the best strengths to have, it has help me connect to others with different cultures from mine.
My fifth strength is communication, per strength finder, communication in action - People with strong Communication talents like to explain, describe, host, present and write. Using their natural talents, they bring ideas and events to life. They turn thoughts and actions into stories, images, examples and metaphors. They want their information — whether an idea, an event, a discovery or a lesson — to captivate the audience. This drives them to hunt for the perfect phrase and draws them toward dramatic words and powerful statements, which is why people like listening to them. Their word pictures pique interest, provide clarity and inspire others to act. This is one of the strongest strengths to have, participating in the Blandin Foundation’s Leadership in Ethnically Diverse Communities Communication training has deepened my skills in building relationships and addressing conflicts across cultures. This extends to my role as a Multicultural Representative for Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, representing 225 churches in the region and work to help people of color be recognized as part of the Lutheran faith in the USA.
Inconclusion, my top five strengths are very important to have to be a successful leader today and in the future. They are also better when you work with other leaders that has some strengths you don’t have and strengths you have that they don’t. It makes your work you are trying to do much easier because all of your strengths are working together making it much easier for all of us. Now knowing and understanding all my strengths very well, I can now know what areas to work in which will make it easier for me, because I am strong in these areas.
At an early young age, without parent or adult supervision, I learn to be independent and responsible, starting with just daily living. With other orphans’ children like myself, I took role of leadership in my group to care for myself and them.