Addressing racial wealth gaps

Our Commitment

Report date
November 2019
Learning Log

My understanding of my own leadership has changed through the fellowship to date. When I began the fellowship, I thought leadership was something reserved for someone in a particular role; supervisor, manager, etc. achieving amazing outcomes with perfection. I have come to appreciate that leadership is not about having a particular role or title; it is about actions and behaviors that influence others. It is also not about big moments. Leadership is developed by faithfulness to the everyday responsibilities. When people around me see faithfulness to the daily activities, they are willing to join me in achieving significant outcomes. Finally, I understand that leadership is not about being perfect. I have flaws, fears and make mistakes often. The difference now is that my imperfections do not force me to withdraw. My imperfection/mistakes provide an opportunity for transparency, learning, growing and building relationships. It does require me to share my experiences with others and listen to their experiences. In the past, I always thought that if I shared something negative it, would depress the audience or, in the alternative if I shared something wonderful, it will appear as if I am boasting. However, while context and posture are very important, sharing with others the good, the bad and the ugly, allows me to build relationship with others and creates opportunities for them to share. This lays the groundwork for me to influence others and for me to be influenced by them.
Focusing on my own leadership has really been beneficial in shaping the way I lead in my work. Being a Bush Fellow has given me the platform to share with others my learnings and growth. Further, as a graduate student, a number of my assignments require implementation of new theories at work. This has allowed me to connect with others in different departments and learn about their work. I find that I am more confident to reach out and ask questions. I have learned more about my division as well as the entire agency. I am able to have increasingly more impactful collaborations. As a result, I have been invited to participate in agency-wide work groups. Focusing on my own leadership has increased my network and my influence in my work.
While focusing on my own leadership has help me in my interactions with others, I believe it has been most beneficial in shaping my perspective of self-care and it’s prominence in sustaining my ability to lead. I cannot emphasize enough the benefit of self-care in my leadership and growth journey. My oldest child is 22 years old. Since her birth and the birth of my other four children, I have been trying to get by with the best of my abilities. I have been effective in some areas but I have been running on fumes. There was no way to predict all the things that happened last year. In our orientation, there was a presentation on self-care. I took it to heart and immediately, after starting my fellowship, I implemented self-care activities. Initially, it felt like a luxury. However, now it is mandatory part of my day, week and month. These activities were already a part of my routine when disaster hit. Without implementing these practices, I am not sure how I would have reacted to the death of my father or my sister or how I would have approached my mother in law’s terminal cancer. My self-care activities have sustained me in the worst of times and allowed me not to simply function but also to thrive. This has also been something that I shared with my children.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to take this journey. It has been so good for me as well as my immediate family and the community around me.