With my investment from Bush, I worked to expand my capacity to be an inclusive and transformative, outcome-focused and value-driven leader. My Bush fellowship expanded my capacity to focus on developing the necessary communication skills, industry credibility and social capital to mount and lead a social justice movement that harnesses data and technology to improve the well-being of all members of my community. Personally and professionally, it has allowed me to continue to do what is important to me, using my technology skills to connect, empower and transform myself and my community, but on a much larger scale and with greater impact locally. My life purpose is to connect people to resources they need to fully actualize – ensuring ALL people (especially marginalized groups) have access to economic and social well-being. I live on purpose by fusing my passions (people and culture) with my skills (technology and creating). My life work has centered around bringing people together to use inclusion, data and technology to solve complex world problems. My life is centered on the belief that all problems, even the seemingly intractable ones like income inequality, racial and gender inequities, education gaps - are solvable. I also hold a fundamental belief that the people who face those problems everyday, are the ones who hold the key to finding the solution, and must be a part of designing and developing the solution, so I work daily to create spaces and places that empower individuals to solve problems for their own communities. Through this fellowship I have been able to build a strong track record of success using data and technology as a mechanism to increase access for all and to meet the evolving needs of my community. I have been able to commit to making the tech economy more inclusive in Minnesota through advocacy and action on the behalf of people of color, women and marginalized communities; and expand the circle of opportunity to include black and brown people and their voices.
This fellowship has given me the energy and confidence to expand my current and future dreams. It demonstrated to me what is possible when you take control of your life and reminded me of the quote by Quote by Frederick Buechner, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.”
It has given me the opportunity to both co-create “new and better” ideas and put me on a path to becoming a courageous communicator with the ability to mobilize human and material resources. I am better equipped to deal with internal politics and resistance to change that can threaten innovation initiatives and early-stage developments. I am able to express vision, values, strategy; and complex ideas in simple ways; I am learning to speak with confidence in all situations and deliver messages with clarity.
A valuable lesson that I have learned on this journey has been, whatever you seek, you should give. So I committed myself to giving what I seek. I have come to understand that leadership is about listening, learning, and managing change. I have worked hard to build spaces and a culture of curiosity and continuous learning. The teams that have been a part of motivate and inspire me to work and perform at a level of excellence. I have the confidence to jump into the fray of action and actively participate. I am energized by the action, and enjoy the exhilaration of leading change that leads to improvement and innovation.I am able to facilitate the process of collaborative enquiry, and encourage open dialogue between people who are involved in the situation.
This partnership with Bush offered me a network for life, an opportunity to exchange ideas and drive innovation with like-minded individuals. I have developed and maintained relationships that form social networks willing to help me. I have a bank account of trust, goodwill, honesty and mutual understanding that can be drawn upon when forging a connection and change within the community. My network is diverse and inclusive of individuals who I may not normally encounter or regularly interact with, but are willing to help me move an idea from implementation to impact. Which reminds me another quote, by Edmund Lee, “Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see the greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself. Bush saw this in me which has lead me to my becoming an inclusive and transformative, outcome-focused and value-driven leader.”