Letter from the Founder

 

It was 90 degrees, burning hot, and only 8AM. I was with a team of three other people and a translator in a rural village in Ghana. We had spent the past two weeks working to build a water treatment center, where local women entrepreneurs will sell clean water. It was the day before the opening ceremony, and we were screwing in the last piece. One of us twists it one too many times. Water begins leaking and leaking. It wouldn’t stop leaking! We tried fixing it with tape, but it kept leaking. So, we made the decision to have one teammate go the two hours to get a replacement piece, and bring it back that day. During this, the rest of us continued to visit local households to explain how to keep the water clean. One family asked us – “if we drink clean water, will we get fat like you?” Twenty-four hours later, the women entrepreneurs sold the first buckets of clean water.

 

About a month before this experience, I just graduated from Georgetown without a job - despite spending the year applying and interviewing for jobs constantly. However, I luckily had been accepted into a fellowship with Saha Global, which provided me with the above experience. This turned out to be an invaluable experience that sent me on the path of founding Future Leaders in Action.

 

Post-fellowship, I started applying to jobs again and noticed that it was an entirely different experience - I felt confident and had numerous professional examples to call upon all from my three-week fellowship experience. Within a month of returning from Ghana, I finally got a job!

 

After this, I started sharing the value I found in the fellowship with people around me. I began to see the missing piece, which the fellowship helped fill for me.  I wished that more people could have access to high-quality professional development and leadership opportunities, especially, people who cannot afford the luxury of unpaid internships or are not provided with traditional leadership opportunities such as non-traditional and first generation college students.

Based on these observations, we founded Future Leaders in Action in 2015.

As a result of my experience, one of our top priorities is empowering fellows to realize the extent of their abilities while gaining both practical and theoretical leadership skills needed to effect change where their passion lies.  We select fellows with leadership potential, but often the fellowship is the first chance they have to lead a project that they can really take ownership of. By the end of the fellowship, they have proven that they are capable of leading a project, not only to themselves, but to others. They have the confidence and skills to further work towards their passions. With each cohort of fellows, I continue to feel it is a privilege to witness their growth. I can't wait to see the impact each of them will make as they continue their careers.

 

With gratitude,
Kirsten