Emerging Leaders Cohort 1 2023
The first session of my Emerging Leaders cohort left me feeling excited, hopeful, and grateful that a program like this is right here in Grand Rapids. Having the opportunity to share in such an experience with passionate and driven individuals makes me think of what leadership and community mean. I walked away after that Wednesday with the reassurance that this is not about just learning but transforming. This is not about attending sessions to take notes, meeting people that can benefit me, and walking away with another addition to my resume. This is about supporting and transforming leaders who are going to be supporting OUR community. This is an investment in OUR future, and I am grateful that I can be a part in all of this.
Grand Rapids continues to surprise me with the wide range of resources that are available, as well as the people that make those resources a reality. Wedgwood Christian Services has been an organization that I have heard of by name for many years, but never knew the extent of the amazing work that they are doing. Kori Thompson shed light on not only what Wedgwood does, but conveyed the love and dignity that is shown through their work. It was also a pleasant surprise to have a challenge thrown into the mix where we can network, grow, and support some kids along the way.
In Finding Your Unique Voice, Vincent Thurman, who is also an Emerging Leaders alum, spoke of his own journey and those moments that impact the rest of our lives. Showing up as an authentic version of yourself was a lesson that I heard loud and clear. Have fun no matter where you are in life and find ways to be of service. As someone who has struggled in my own life to find a voice that matches what is in my heart, hearing someone express the same experience let me know that I am ok. Experience life and all that it has to offer is a lesson I strive to live by every day. The time I spent listening to not only Vincent but all the speakers and facilitators during our session brought up a sense that I am not alone in this journey. The triumphs and tragedies are to be experienced together. Looking forward I am excited to get to learn more about those in my cohort and connect. The thread that started that first Wednesday can continue moving forward, it does not have to simply go away once we are done. As Emerging Leaders, we can begin forming these relationships and connections right now so my future and your future becomes OUR future.