Nhia Vang

Nhia Vang: Strategically sharing your story

August 4, 2020

“How much do I share?”

“How do I match my application with what the selection committee is looking for?”

These are two common questions we hear from Bush Fellowship applicants. If you’re looking for a cut-and-dry answer to tell you what to do, there isn’t one. While of course the Fellowship selection committees are guided by the selection criteria (track record, potential and plan) as they review applications, applying for a Bush Fellowship is a truly reflective and transformative inquiry process.

How much to share will look different for each person depending on where they are in their journey and life story. The application process requires you to do deep reflective work: to think about your leadership potential, identify what you want and name the steps to get you there. We often hear from applicants that the application process can be emotionally draining, but we also hear that the process is inspiring and valuable to applicants as they work on the application and beyond, as an invitation to self-reflect and share their stories and vision for leadership growth.

So, how do you strategically share your story in your Fellowship application?

As you prepare to share your track record — your story thus far — carve out time to reflect on your life story and how it has shaped you. Ask yourself, what do these reflections mean and what do you want to do with them? This will help you choose what you share and how you share it.

As you consider your potential and your plan, home in on specific leadership goals that will support you in making large-scale change in your community and our region. Describe your course of action and how your leadership potential will help drive change. Explain how you are positioned to make that large-scale change and how you will engage your community and stakeholders to build and move alongside you. Why you, and why now?

With the Bush Fellowship, you are supported to think big, to build skills to be an even more equitable leader and to impact systems-level change. Tell us how the Bush Fellowship can support you in your leadership journey and push you in a different trajectory. How is this trajectory different from what you could have accomplished without the Fellowship?

When you need clarity and re-grounding, revisit the selection criteria and the application questions. You are the expert of your story and your potential. It is key to connect the dots in your life story and share a story about your leadership journey that will demonstrate your strengths and opportunities for leadership growth. The Fellowship is about you and your leadership potential. You are the investment.