What has stood out for me about my leadership development through this Fellowship to date is that I am a powerful manifester. Early in life my parents gave me a platform to independently think. It started off as I played, created imaginary stuff and dreamed in my room as a little girl. I remember back to elementary school where I found pleasure in leading my classrooms in answers or cooperation to get things completed. Then in junior high and high school, as shy as I was, I enjoyed leadership roles that led my peers into positive spaces collaboratively. Of course this whole time I didn't truly understand my power. My step-mom used to always say 'When Neda puts her mind to something, it happens.' I never understood what she truly meant until this fellowship.
As I have had the time and opportunity, through this fellowship, to look back over my 12 years of leadership in my organization, I have had a chance to realize that it has been me with this vision in my head that I wholeheartedly fully embraced. It was my thoughts before my effort that has led to my current reality of having an organization that is allowing for me to have fun with my colleagues, leading Black girls to emotional, physical and spiritual freedom in a classy, real and non-negotiable, unapologetic Black woman's way. The fun part is that the thoughts keep coming and my organization is truly evolving into a magical experience that continues to free the minds of Black girls in the Twin Cities! I have been able to lead my team this past year to reflect on what has worked for the three levels of ages we (elementary, middle and high school) service. We've been able to solidly reassess our organizations culture from our Board to our girls. I’ve led my team to be able to think outside of a poverty mindset as Black women which has been the most rewarding for all of us considering many of us have grown up within the same systems our girls are growing up in. This alone has allowed for my leaders and myself to pivot as an organization ensuring our personal individual healing (top down) so that we model what wealth and health looks like in our whole-selves no longer band-aiding unhealthy narratives just for funding and societal outcomes. We are learning ways to get the outcomes in a way that makes sense for our organization.
With this fellowship I have had the pleasure of working with Black men and women who are helping me to understand my body and how it works from an African and African American, national and international, scientific and spiritual perspective. This has been one of the best feelings ever. To understand how America is set up on different standards when it comes to my body and that by looking at it from a personal, genetically different lens makes a huge difference in my health and the way we teach health to the girls we serve is super cool. I’ve also had the opportunity to learn about how my thoughts and my mind work on a universal psychological level and how my everything follows my thoughts (positive and/or negative) and how that truly influences my reality. This has changed my life. Learning how all of this plays a role in society as it stands today has been mind blowing. It's things that as a Black girl in school I should have learned and is exactly what our girls should be learning today.
As I push for us to get financially stable, solidify our headquarters and create a sustainable and scalable model for my organization, my leadership development journey is a huge part of what I am bringing to the table for our headquarters to be successful and I am excited about it! This is an experience that allows me a whole better leader. It's helping me be better for myself and my sons and friends not affiliated with my business.
I am honored to have been chosen to be a fellow and to be able to own my accomplishments, own my well being and own that my leadership has truly changed the lives of girls who look like me, as well as, women who look like me. I am excited to zone in on best practices outside of Minnesota in the upcoming year. My leadership development is still in progress and I am super geeked about the depths of knowledge that I am learning as I continue my journey as a Bush Fellow!