Tell us about your current role?
I am the Program Manager of Curriculum and Instruction at Genesys Works Chicago. Genesys Works strives to enable economically-disadvantaged high school students to enter and thrive in the economic mainstream by providing them with the knowledge and work experience required to succeed. My role is to strengthen our programming and instructors to create a path to achieve our vision for the future.
Why do you like working in the nonprofit sector?
Throughout my life, I have been fortunate to have many people (coaches, teachers, managers, family friends, etc.) believe in me and help create opportunities for me to reach my goals. I know that those opportunities are the key to my success. I want do the same for others. Being a part of an organization that allows me to create opportunities and arm students with skills that create lasting, positive change in their lives is a dream come true. I often imagine a world where my students are the next group of leaders in our city. This vision keeps me going every day.
Why did you sign up for the Leadership Institute?
Leadership is not easy. It takes stepping outside of the day-to-day and learning from other leaders to really get there. Whenever I talk with someone I admire, they tell me about a conversation they had with someone else they respect and admire. Being a part of the Leadership Institute was an opportunity for me to learn with some of Chicagoâ€™s most incredible and talented leaders.
Tell us about how what you learned in the Leadership Institute is changing or reinforcing your leadership style?
As I quieter person, I, at times, struggle with feeling like a leader when I do not say much. However, being a part of this group truly changed my point of view. Participating in this cohort helped me to be comfortable in my own skin and define my leadership style. I walked away from each session with a head full of ideas about how to take what we learned back into my office. Iâ€™m much stronger and confident as a result of the Institute.
What did you learned from your Leadership Institute Mentor?
My mentor, Greg Didomenico, and I discussed, at length, what it takes to be a good leader, dispelling myths of leadership. He helped me identify what I do well, what I can improve on, and overall gain more confidence. The conversations we had will always stick with me. Whenever Iâ€™m questioning myself, I can see Gregâ€™s face and hear him saying â€œyouâ€™ve got all you need.â€
What is the best piece of advice youâ€™ve ever received?
A friend of mine said, â€œDo not tell yourself no. Let someone else tell you no.â€ In that moment, I was reminded that when I tell my students â€œanything is possibleâ€ and push them to strive to do great things, I need to do the same for myself. In conversations with friends, we often discuss growing older and putting limiting ourselves because our knees ache, we have more responsibility, or we go to bed earlier. In setting these limits, we put a ceiling on our potential to do great things. My friend reminded me that each day is a great day to do something amazing.
What are you most looking forward to in 2016?
I am looking forward continuing to learn and grow as a leader while enjoying Chicago with friends and colleagues.