Qualities of leadership are embedded within us all. Our life experiences give us the ability to empower others who wish to grow in knowledge and skill. Leaders know that growing together as a unit leads to success, not only in terms of sustainability, but also in terms of improving individual performance and creating new leaders. I’ve learned to become a good leader; but I first had to be of service to others. The values and skills I’ve gained from my experiences all taught me that I must lead by example.
Connecting the dots in my own personal story, I’ve seen that one needs to stay focused and have a vision at hand. I grew up volunteering and worshiping at my local church, became involved with social justice work through my father, and spent over 10 years in Girl Scouts and Student Government leadership. Most recently, I co-founded my non-profit organization “Read Lead.” Read Lead inspires youths to read and instills the importance of education through our partnership with the CDF Freedom Schools program. Every experience in my life has been an opportunity to shape who I wanted to become.
Last week I had the opportunity to gather with our state lawmakers, advocates and fellow Emerge sisters in our state’s capital, Sacramento. I had the honor of spending the morning shadowing a state senator and learning firsthand what her daily acts of service and leadership involved. A variety of conversations with her staff offered deeper opportunities for learning and reflection. The team was thought-provoking, and answered questions on guidance as I move forward in my journey of leadership.
Our Emerge training emphasizes the need to be clear on our own values. Personal experiences are instrumental in shaping our leadership style and ultimately our policies. Experience guided by values orders our steps and allows one to lead with clearer determination and direction. My guiding principal of servant leadership has provided a strong foundation for a future involving public service. It inspires me more and more and has given me courage to continue connecting the dots to develop into the leader I wish to become—a leader that enhances, nurtures, and influences others towards greatness!