Monday, December 9, 2013

A few thoughts from last week...

After a year of monthly, at times, very long 8 day courses in what is described as a MBA certificate program on leadership, I can say it is done. Indeed, a year-long program successfully ended last Thursday. However, it only spring-boarded my mind, thoughts, heart and energy to look ahead, plan ahead and above all, be honest and true to my wants, hopes and dreams, both personally and professionally. And so I will...

I was honored to have had the opportunity to speak on behalf of my Emerging Leader co-hort last Thursday at the graduation reception. I was blessed to have my loved ones with me, including my kiddo, who I hope felt proud of mom's accomplishments.  Below is what I wrote, then read to the attendees.

.....Thank you Brent, Lisa and the rest of the University of Dayton’s Center for Leadership staff. It is truly an honor to stand here in front my co-hort of emerging leaders. Of course we are all here due to the support, faith and generosity of our supervisors, so on behalf to the co-hort, supervisors, I thank you very much for allowing each and everyone of us to participate in this year-long program.

Much appreciation also goes to our mentors who have been sounding boards, supportive, yet challenging and always available to keep us in check when we needed them. Your advice and encouraging words gave us incredible and invaluable perspective as we developed or fine tuned our skills.

Never the less, my deepest, our most heart-felt thanks to our families. Our spouses, partners in crime and in life, who had to deal with us when some days were long and multiple juggling acts had to take center stage. To chuckle and get dinner ready when at times mom or dad also had to get some homework done.

We came together on a cold, gray morning in January and here we are… on a cold gray evening in December. (smile) It sure has gone by fast. From Myers-Briggs, to accounting and finance, management and marketing- how many of us opened a Twitter account because Irene Dickey said it’s not a question anymore, you HAVE to be o Twitter. Our colleagues and peers, bosses and mentors embarked on this journey with us, whether they wanted to or not and for that we are grateful.

I think, I hope, we are better employees, supervisors, mentors, professionals, leaders, better people, now than in January. On a personal note, and in attempt to eloquently and appropriately represent my fellow emerging leaders, I can only describe this experience as transformative. I am certainly not the same person I was when we first began this journey together. Dare I say none of us is. We now are roughly 20 plus strong. We shared personal and professional stories, frustrations and successes. We have built community within the professional leadership community.

When we first met, we were strangers. Now, we may not be sending each other Christmas cards... or will we? Now, we are colleagues, we are resources. Maybe, we are friends. Some of us perhaps interacted with others in passing. When we next meet up in the hallway, around the corner, across campus, we can honestly say we have something unique in common: we were part of the EL co-hort for 2013. I’d like to think we also have each other's backs, for I know in my heart and mind that if I need the latest technology being researched at UDRI, I have Tim or Bang to hook me up! If I need an in with scoop at the DOD, that’s Department of Defense, I can call any of my new peers from the base. There are many more examples we can discuss but the point is that they are only possible to share because we have shared in this gift of meeting, learning, thinking, problem solving, strategizing, dreaming... hoping. Believing in what others believed was/is IN us, our leadership skills. Believing in ourselves and what our ultimate mission is.
As we now conclude the adventure that has been the emerging leader program and prepare to experience our reentry into our work lives with a keen sense of who we are, or at least the feeling that a match was lit and the fire in our hearts now burns with such intensity and power so we believe that we indeed are the best version of ourselves, we say, bring it!

Thank you to the many who again enabled us to be here, to our facilitators and teachers who have planted many seeds in our hearts and minds, seeds that will be fed and nourished to grow and become the strong branches of trees, trees that will bring shade when it's too hot and fruit to feed others, trees with deep roots that keep us grounded, while standing tall. May we remember to manage our energy so that we can better manage our time. May we remember to celebrate the small wins, so that they may contribute to the positive influence we inspire in others. May we also remember to celebrate what’s right in the world because celebrating what’s right in the world will give us the energy to fix what’s wrong...

 Lesson learned in all of this, my friends, is that it is never too late to keep yourself "in check" and making the necessary adjustments to be a better "whatever." I have a feeling you will feel empowered and confident to be not just the best version of yourself in the world, but FOR the world.

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