Sharon Kennedy Vickers

Sharon Kennedy Vickers
Learning Log

Sharon Kennedy Vickers

Report date
November 2018
Fellowship term
24 months
Learning log 1

The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.

Theses words by Frederick Buechner, captures the essence of my time as a Bush fellow. For the last six months, I have been blessed with the opportunity to use my gifts and talents to do work that perfectly aligns with my life purpose - create space and place for individuals to self actualize - having all the resource they need to fulfill their life purpose. Through the Bush fellowship, I have been afforded the opportunity to make investment in the lives of others and transform my community; simultaneously receive, learn and be transformed as well. This work is why I was created - it is my hidden hunger; It has enriched my life immensely and provided me with unspeakable joy.

When I learned I was selected to be a Bush Fellow, I also begin my job as Chief Information Officer for the City of Saint Paul. The newly elected Mayor, appointed me to serve as director for the office of technology and communications. So, the Bush Fellowship was needed more than ever. I needed the fellowship to help me expand my leadership capacity to deploy technology as a strategic assets to improve the lives of all. As CIO, I am now responsible for ensuring the city uses technology to strengthen communities, public safety, and its local economy. Everyday, I have the responsibility to help Saint Paul leverage data and technology as a strategic asset to be more equitable, innovative, and resilient. Placing constituents’ needs at the center and partnering with agencies, private industry, and academia to further the Mayor’s goal of a city that works for all. This was in perfect alignment with the work I described in my application to become a Bush fellow.

Over the past six months, this fellowship has given me a platform and the opportunity to acquire the skills necessary to connect with leaders in the public and private sphere to create an ecosystem that fosters an inclusive innovation economy. On a personal level, it has created space from me to continue to do what is important to me, using my technology skills to connect, empower and transforms myself and my community, but on a much larger scale and with greater impact locally. This partnership with Bush has given me a network for life, an opportunity to exchange ideas and drive innovation with like-minded individuals. It has given me the energy to accelerate my current and future goals.

Over the last six months, I have been on this journey to discover what I need order to be an inclusive and innovative leader who can lead a movement to use technology for social justice, I have been working on my communication skills, increasing my industry credibility and building my social capital to create pathways for community member to inclusion, data, and technology in co-creating solutions to issues that affect them. I have confirmed my belief that technology has the power to engage and motivate people to solve critical issues - like inequity in education, economic opportunity, public safety, health, civic engagement.

Things I have learned. I have learned that you have to make time for self-care in ordered to sustain yourself and the work.

I have discovered my top three values for now....
1. Making an impact - I really want to use this time and opportunity to positively impact the worl
2. Respect - seeing and wanting the best for all. Using my position to help other discover who they are do those things that make them come alive.
3. Authenticity - Being me and what is right for me.

I have these things about leadership:

Be a purposeful leader - be clear about the purpose of my life and connect it with the purpose of the organization I lead
Be clear about the purpose of a leader - our goal is not to be the smartest in the room. It is to create an environment for successful for everyone.
Be clear about who you serve - it is the people, not yourself.
Be a value driven leader - create space for the co-creation of value-add products and services.
Be an authentic leader - be the best version of yourself.

The Fellowship has given me know and understand the work of my fellow fellows who are doing their work with courage and conviction, and I am inspired. Thank you to the Bush Foundation and my fellow fellows, thank you for the opportunity to serve and allowing me to be at the forefront effecting positive change, relentlessly pursuing creative strategies for positive social impact - ensuring ALL have access to economic and social well-being.