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Report date
May 2018
Learning Log

It's hard to believe this two-plus years of the Bush Fellow's journey is coming to a close. I know that all I have experienced, learned and grown has set me up to continue this intentional development trajectory for the rest of my life. There has been so much that has happened in the last two years. My perspective and worldview is so much different, partly because of the world we live in today and partly because of the personal growth in myself. I didn't know when I started that so much would change so quickly. I didn't know what doors would open from being a Bush Fellow. I never could have guessed the people I would meet along the way. People who have become such influential forces in my life and I see them being a part of lifelong friends and mentorships. In my last month of my fellowship, I went to Los Angeles, CA for the national women's leadership summit, The United State of Women. This was a great experience as one of my final Bush Fellows experiences. This lands firmly in the women's leadership learning and networking that my fellowship focused on. There was a great showing of women leaders from Minnesota. It makes me proud to be part of state that has embraced a diversity in leadership. While Minnesota has a long road ahead, I see that we are leading the change. Andrea Jenkins and Ilhan Omar led breakout sessions as well as being on the main stage. We had members from the Women's Foundation of Minnesota Young Women's Initiative, most notably to me was Nashel Bebeau from Deer River, MN-Leech Lake Nation. She spoke on the main stage in our language, Ojibwemowiin. Making stronger connections with our local leaders and re-connecting and meeting new women on the national scene was fun and inspiring. The break-outs and speakers were all amazing, especially Michelle Obama and Kamala Harris. Jane Fonda did a nice job talking about intersectionality in the women's movement. Later this month I will be traveling to North Carolina for the National Rural Assembly. I have been invited as a speaker on the panel to be moderated by David Simas of the Obama Foundation. I will be speaking about rural resiliency and the future of rural. This is also a great way to cap my fellowship. My fellowship focus has been three areas primarily: women's leadership, rural resiliency and tribal indigenous sovereign nations. I have been having 1:1's with people I view as leaders and champions in the areas of rural, indigenous or women's leadership. Because I am working at Tiwahe Foundation now, I have to be more creative and flexible in my fellowship goals and how to meet them. I also am thinking about how to make sure I continue to stay on this trajectory of learning and growth. In my final month, I am traveling around the state of Minnesota to have meetings with my mentors and inspiring people to build out a plan to continue my growth beyond the Fellowship deadline end-date. I want to make a plan of action for the next year and bigger goals for the next three years. The one area that I did not get to do was an international travel experience. I have set myself up for international travel in the next year. I have been invited to be a part of a racial equity delegation to Brazil for some learning there in the fall. I am also considering attending the Slow Foods Summit in Italy at the end of summer. This will all be on my own without fellowship funds. I actually feel better about this in some ways, because I know that my travel experience will be very intentional in learning versus simply a trip to somewhere I've never been before. I will also be pursuing my Master's in Public Affairs from the Humphrey School of Public Policy sometime in the next two years. When I think back on the past two years, I'm blown away by all the incredible superstar people I have met: Valerie Jarrett, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Dr. Jill Biden, among many, many others. More importantly, I have developed stronger relationships with incredible mentors and inspiring people doing every day work in community. There's just too many to name, and I know my network is much bigger, stronger and more diverse. I'm profoundly changed by the power of people and the power of networks built intentionally. I have had so many opportunities to speak to large audiences. I know this is an area of further development for me. I have taken on the challenge with positive and enthusiastic energy when asked to be a speaker, even when it still scares me sometimes. I feel like the Creator put me on this path for a reason and I am fortunate to have the audience of people. I'm happy that my fellowship led me to the Tiwahe Foundation, even though it was not a direct path. I'm happy to be working in my very diverse community of native folks. I'm happy for the change in my life to have more impact and to push myself in new ways.