A little history about this blog: I started writing this blog, when I received my Archibald Bush Leadership Fellowship back in 2011. We were asked to report amongst our peers and larger network in some mode, and I chose a monthly blog.
A quick browse through my posts will reveal a mixture of writings about leadership development, building self-awareness, notes on self-care and balance, as well as articles I’ve written about community-based social marketing and understanding behavioral nudges in order to advance sustainability.
Looking back, it was all pretty abstract to me. I understood the concepts of effective leadership, I could explain how different strategies and practices might work and why they were effective, but I did not know them myself.
Today marks 3 years since I arrived in Washington, D.C. I can’t say it’s been the easiest experience. These last three years have challenged me in ways I could not have expected – some of my experiences out here in DC have left me deeply disappointed, and even hurt. I’ve questioned my own abilities (and had them questioned publicly), I’ve had to re-affirm my interests and passions, and more than once, I’ve put myself out there only to be beaten back. I wouldn’t wish these experiences on anyone else, but they have made me stronger and I have grown in unexpected ways from them.
Today, I am challenged, inspired, and feel supported in so many ways. Montgomery County is such a wonderful place to be working in energy policy. My current work moves rapidly, is evolving every week – it seems a new challenge and opportunity presents itself on a monthly basis, requiring me to re-calibrate my expectations of my time, my abilities, and my goals. It is both exciting and exhausting. I also have the pleasure of working with very talented and passionate colleagues and am blessed to have the time and flexibility to also focus on my own health
The lessons I learned through my mentors and my Bush Fellowship have given me tools to survive (when the challenge is threatening), thrive, navigate, and dig deep. I have come to know and understand that leadership is indeed a practice and it is one meant to sustain the work, grow the work by engaging others, and take care of myself for that work.
Out of these last three years, in both the inspiring and challenging times, I’ve experienced great reward and richness. I’ve met amazing friends, inspiring mentors, found new things to love, ended up at an amazing job, and learned so much about myself and what I am capable of adapting to. I must say, I am GRATEFUL for it all.
Which is why I’m very excited to announce the next iteration in my leadership path: I’ve been accepted into the Chesapeake Regional Environmental Leadership Program. Over the next 7 months, I’ll be working with 19 others in small groups, meeting over the course of 3 retreats, to strengthen and hone my skills, vision, and path as a leader (in my own small way) to advance sustainability and environmental issues. I am excited to have this unique opportunity to learn and (hopefully) grow in new ways, to find new connections in my work and how I conduct my work.
And I am especially excited to take another step to further integrate myself in my new home. The mid-atlantic/Chesapeake Bay region is still a strange place to me, but I’m looking forward to learning more about the larger environmental community that is at work here, and to learn from them about their vision, and how I might fit into it all.
Thank you to Montgomery County DEP for providing me this opportunity, to my chief/supervisor for his support in this and daily endeavors, to my Bush Fellowship cohort members and mentors, and my Minnesota colleagues (CERTSies!), and family for inspiring, supporting, and still cheering me on.
Like with my Bush Fellowship, I will endeavor to post some updates about my experience.
Let the journey continue…