Report Date
November 2014
Learning Log

As I take time to reflect on my first six months as a Bush Fellow, I am utterly amazed at how quickly the experience has passed by. Since being announced as a Bush Fellow, my professional career has been a whirlwind of advice, activity, and opportunity. I am just now beginning to understand what a truly life-changing experience my Fellowship journey will be.

Because of the additional ability and opportunity afforded to me by this experience, I have been able to attend professional development opportunities that I otherwise wouldn’t have access to. So far, I have been able to participate in the Dale Carnegie High-Impact Presentations Course, Generation Now Leadership Visit, Council on Foundation’s Annual Community Foundation Conference, and Graduate Studies in Social Entrepreneurship at the University of North Dakota. Through my experience with these opportunities, I have been able to learn how to present my ideas confidently, concisely, and clearly; research community-building initiatives and social ventures in Eastern North Dakota; network with and learn from other community foundation staff from across the country; and build my capacity to grow and manage current and future social ventures.

In the next few months, I am excited to continue learning about social entrepreneurship and the way young professionals are shaping the nonprofit sector at the Independent Sector Conference and discover more about national leadership at the Harvard-Kennedy School of Government. In addition to continuing education opportunities, I will still be working toward my vision of engaging Millennials in shaping the future of the Minot community and establishing the Minot Area Community Foundation as an anchor institution through different civic and philanthropic opportunities.

While continuing to learn more about the areas of focus related to my vision, I am also discovering more and more about myself. I am beginning to understand my reactions to different leadership styles and also how I can begin refining my personal leadership style to best support the individuals around me. By becoming more self-aware and understanding of other points of view, I feel that I am becoming more relatable and better at consensus building. I am also coming to the realization that I need to take better care of myself and carve out more personal time throughout my week so that I don’t become too overwhelmed with the vast amount of activities and responsibilities I have taken on in recent months.

In addition to building my personal and professional capacity, the Fellowship experience has impacted how I am viewed in the community. Because of the credibility gained by becoming a Bush Fellow, I have been approached to take on more leadership activities in the community. One of these activities is working with city leadership to engage Millennials in community efforts. This will consist of public presentations and open forums; small invitation-only breakfasts; and one-on-one mentoring. The hope is that we can connect the more established generation of leaders in the Minot area with individuals who have shown a commitment to the community and are proving themselves to be the future leaders of the region.

Being a Bush Fellow and working toward my vision is a huge commitment of time, energy, and resources; however, it has all proved to be worth the effort. As I try to map out the rest of my Fellowship experience, I know that the vision that I have will definitely change as I continue to evolve. Just as I had hoped, becoming a Bush Fellow has been a real catalyst for my career, and I can’t wait to see how I will progress in the remaining year and a half!