I have a feeling that this week’s posts are going to be super long, political, and maybe even boring because I will have a notepad with me at all times. For this I am sorry, but at least it’s organized!
Yesterday morning I drove three hours along Hwy 82 East for Columbus, MS. I arrived at the campus of the W at maybe 10:30 A.M. and was quickly greeted by the scenery that I have grown to love over the past few summers.
We started how any program would. Find a parking spot. Get room assignment. Get key. Make sure key actually works. Unload bags. Put lovely parking pass in windshield so you don’t get towed (trust me, getting towed is not as fun as it seems).
Thirty-three women who attend college in MS assembled for our first introduction, and starting at that first hour I have been very excited and honored to be a part of the inaugural class of the NEW Leadership Program Mississippi.
“Like” the Facebook page to learn more (or to see pictures of me!) https://www.facebook.com/NewLeadershipMississippiWomen?fref=ts
Our faculty-in-residence were the first to be introduced to us. They will be very active leaders in this program throughout the week, and I have already had the opportunity to talk to them and learn more about them on a more personal level.
Bridget Pieschel is our director and I have already grown to enjoy the energy she brings to the program.
Kate Brown is another director. I must say I was very excited when I first opened my acceptance packet over a month ago and saw Kate’s name listed. She is the very first person to introduce me to the W in 2010 at MGS (which I will blog about a lot in June. Just wait.) I am thrilled to be able to attend a program under her leadership once more.
Sally Doty, Heather McTeer Toney, Carole Leland, and Nancy Bocskor are our facility-in-residence and have been outstanding representatives of public service.
I’ve had lunch with Sen. Doty twice and both times have been very conversational and pleasant. She is truly an exceptional leader.
Heather McTeer is the former mayor of my hometown (Greenville, MS). Considering I was a young teenager at the time she held office, I was not up to date with local government. I’ve learned so much from hearing her speak and giving us her testimony as the first African-American and first female to serve as our mayor.
Carole… I’m secretly determined that Carole and I are going to be BFF’s, and she is determined to convince me to run for public office. In our small group discussion, I openly said that I do not ever plan on running for office. Period. I’m not opposed to it, but when I look into my future and imagine myself skipping down the road to success, I don’t see myself headed toward the Capital. (However, I can see myself flying to California to visit Carole!) She is an excellent speaker and has a very lively personality. I can’t wait to talk more with her this week.
and, last but certainly not least, Nancy. She has been quite the character since day one. She had complications flying in yesterday but never seemed frazzled. So far, I have enjoyed eating the delicious lasagna with her, learning about her travels, and listening to her networking stories.
Another very wonderful woman is Kelly Dittmar. She comes to us from Rutgers University and has talked to me every day, (and now we’re Facebook friends!) so I hope she remembers me. She has been a great person to talk to and bounce ideas off of, but she has also helped me understand the reality of women involvement in politics in the United States. Just to sum it up: It’s not easy, breezy, or beautiful; girls need to break the barriers that we think exist and cover the country with our ideas, perspectives, and dedication.
We have had several speakers over the past few days and these are merely a few things I’ve taken away from them:
- “You will IMPACT the leadership of Mississippi” -Rex from Stennis Center
- “Challenge yourselves” -K. Brown
- “Don’t just shake hands and think you’re never going to see these people again” -S. Doty
- “You are the next generation of leaders” -H. McTeer
- “We Can Do It!” (insert Rosie the Riveter photo here)
- Sometimes it just takes someone to lead by example. They don’t necessarily have to be successful, but for them to at least try is a milestone.
- “Men run for office to be somebody. Women run for office to do something.” -Kelly
- Team sports participation is important because it teaches you that you’ll lose sometimes, but you have to move on and try again.
- “Self-awareness is always included in the definition of leadership” -Carole
- If someone tells you “Good Job”, make them tell you why so you will know what to continue or repeat.
- “Don’t let yourself think you can’t do something; let your heart tell you what you can do” -H. McTeer
- “Remember three words: be, know, and do. Be who you are. Know who you are and what you stand for. Take action” -Amy Tuck
- “Respect does not come with the job title; you have to earn it” -A. Tuck
- “People don’t care how much you know until they know you care” -John Maxwell
- “Be willing to extend a helping hand even if they will advance beyond you.” -A. Tuck
- You may need others’ help to achieve your goals, but don’t forget that others may need your help to succeed too.
- “A kind word goes a long way, but a negative word goes even further”
- Don’t be afraid to say “I was wrong”.
- “You can’t get to second base if you have a foot still on first.” -A. Tuck
- The road to success is always under construction.
- “Open doors to people who have often had them shut” -Nancy
- Men like to have their names on buildings. Women like to have their names on scholarships.
- “You can’t text and tweet your way to life” -Nancy
- God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. Listen twice as much as you speak.
These are just some main points I’ve gotten over the past couple days. Some of these may seem obvious, but sometimes someone has to say it out loud for it to really sink in.
Another great part of being here is our head intern, Megan. We have worked alongside each other at MGS since 2011, and I just love that I get to see her in action especially as our Political Jeopardy creator (be on the look out for more about this lovely lady and her fabulous storytelling skills later in June)
Other guest speakers we have had are Jimmie Moomaw, Monica Banks, Reecy Dickson, Angela Turner James, and Amy Tuck. All of these influential women have served as a true inspiration and have encouraged me to be a better leader and communicator.
Also, I have an entirely separate part of my notes for “leadership skills”. Don’t worry, I’m not about to post that too. I haven’t decided yet when I’ll post them, but eventually I will.
We have also had lots of other fun activities, such as a networking reception, ice cream sundae break, and group project discussion (which will be discussed further later this week). We also got super cool personal business cards! HOLLA!