Learning Logs: Fellows

Updates and Insights from Bush Fellows During Their Leadership Journey

Laura Zabel
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I have come to realize that a huge part of my fellowship is about reflecting on the last ten years of work at Springboard for the Arts and thinking and exploring what might be next. So, as I celebrated my official 10 year “workaversery” I took some time to reflect on what I think I’ve learned from the opportunity to do this work for a decade.

Charlie Thayer
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As I look back upon my first year as a Bush Fellow I become a little overwhelmed but I also have feelings of happiness and a continued increase in good energy for what is about to come when I enter grad school in a month and a half. I am beyond elated to have had the opportunity to increase and grow a beautiful network through my work in the community, I am excited to see what doors continue to open and where life takes me in the upcoming years.

Chris Stewart
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Half-way into my Bush Fellowship and the world is much different than before. One year ago I was at the beginning of my Bush Fellowship. My work with the African American Leadership Forum (AALF) kept my focus on becoming a better leader in the black community, and how to do my part in opening doors for others - especially those in generation x,y, and z - to lead as well. My goal was to build on the parts of that job that were most important to me: networking building, intergenerational leadership, and faith-based child-saving.

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Life is about learning and changing, and the direction I’m headed is clear in front of me: I’m on a track of ramping up opportunities and opening doors. I am continuing to grow and flex my skills as I tackle the projects and events I’ve created and executed, moving forward with the momentum from the Bush Fellows opportunity and continuing to build on myself inwardly: spiritually, mentally, and professionally, working on leadership skills ranging from a grassroots to an executive level.

The Expectation Hangover. It was February 2013. There were signs that things weren’t right. One of my staff members had shared with me how he was struggling. He was getting physically sick and professionally off his game due to the stress of the past few years. As an organization, industry, and community/country, we had been going through a lot: huge financial losses, deepening recession, and little signal that things would change for the positive in the short term. I told him that as his colleague and boss I didn’t want to see him leave.

Jennifer Waltman
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Reflection on my first year of the 2014 Bush Foundation fellowship is exciting! As I prepared to write this report, I experienced a great sense of pride in all that I accomplished externally, but more so, internally. I quickly realized that practicing my place in the world, being grateful and walking in humility, did not mean thinking less of myself, but instead, thinking of myself less. The “shift” of focus required me to put myself first so practicing my health and wellness became a habit versus a project.

Tawanna Black
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When I started the Transformational Leadership Certification program at Georgetown University six months ago, we were asked to write these two sentences in large font:

I AM A GREAT LEADER. AND, IN THE DOMAIN OF LEADERSHIP I AM A BEGINNER.

Then we took the time to let that concept sink in. Is it possible to be a great leader AND to be a beginner in the domain of leadership? It is if you believe leadership is a framework to inspire and inform actions, and not a set of perfectly executed skills. 

Jacquie Berglund
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It has been a year since I was selected as a Bush Fellow I am amazed at how quickly time has flown and how much I have learned in one year. I can honestly say that I have spent more time in the past year focusing on my own personal development than I have spent in my entire lifetime, which is I suppose, how the Bush Fellowship is supposed to work.

Megan Laudenschlager

When I began my fellowship journey one year ago, I was very focused on what I could do: how many trainings can I attend; how many meetings can I facilitate; how many products can I generate; etc. While I have done a great many things so far, my perspective has shifted from an external goal to an internal goal: Who can I become through this fellowship?

Marvin Sims, Jr.

I am in a completely different place than I was a year ago. It’s amazing what the Bush Fellowship can do to a person in one year. I guess I could describe my first year with the Fellowship as higher learning on steroids. I can think back to last May when I attended my first Bush Connect Conference at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis. When I first walked through the door and saw all the people, felt the excitement and embraced the energy, I knew I was apart of something special.

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