I was really honored and grateful to be a part of Leadership Philadelphia’s Keepers and Connectors program over the last six months. During our last session (at the Union League—pretty fancy), I reflected on some of the ways that my participation in the program and my relationship with the several dozen other millennial leaders in Philadelphia impacted me positively. Here are five ways.
- I met some wonderful people. I loved my Junto (Ben Franklin’s word for political faction). They were generous and kind-hearted and we got to work together to do some amazing stuff (more on that later). But It was really wonderful to be made to interact with them. At the end of our session last week, we affirmed each other (actually quite common in Circle of Hope) and it was a great moment to remark on how blessed I felt by my comrades here. I’m able to say I actually made some friends that I hope I have for a long time! I was touched when some of them were crying sharing their stories, or even remarking to each other that they’re not sure what they did without one another before this began! I’m glad for the connection and for the reminder that people want to relate.
- I don’t need to be shy about what I’m doing. I’m not sure why this is so common among my friends and I, but we often shy away from talking about the basic stuff we are doing. For some reason, talking about Jesus and the work he’s doing through Circle of Hope is something that we seem to be self-effacing about. I want to change that even in myself, and a few things happened that helped me move in that direction. For one, we visited a nonprofit as a Junto and its director toured us around the space and asked us to sign up to learn more. We all did it. For another, the other people that I related to assumed (correctly) that I was interested in what they were doing, and they weren’t ashamed. Why not share? And for three, Circle of Hope is worth sharing about—many people remarked to me about how we seem different than the typical image of Christians they think of. Someone even noted that we seem to be more like Christ!
- People want to do things to change the world. The people I met in our cohort are civically engaged and want to make Philly better. That much was clear when we visited Broad Street Ministry to learn about the great work that community is doing to help end homelessness in Philadelphia. It was also clear when our group enthusiastically helped out with a project at Riverbend (a nonprofit in the affluent suburbs committed to helping kids from the city learn about the environment). I think we should keep sharing those opportunities with each other.
- Community and leadership are tied together. Leadership is committed to developing Philly’s leaders. And leadership is about building a team, working together to accomplish something. It’s not about dominant, self-centered, charismatic voices. Leaders help people work together and to a common goal. These leaders have some great vision for Philadelphia, and I think we’re all a part of that. Community and leadership go hand-in-hand.
- Haters gonna hate. Leadership is pretty proud to promote itself and gives some sweet swag with their logo on it. I, for one, am grateful for the umbrella and the pen I have! But that’s not everyone’s thing. Some people think self-promotion is “wrong.” It’s true that some people’s brand is the anti-brand. We could spend all day trying to convince the nay-sayer and the cynic to do something with us. Leadership’s talent pool was so rich and generous, I decided that I need to look for the people that are looking for me, and looking for us. I want to make a natural and genuine connection, not try to just convince someone who is just gonna hate.
Anyway, I am grateful for my time at Leadership and how it developed me, and the new network of friends I have. I’m so thankful my sister Megan Rosenbach got me involved, too. It actually gave me another reason to love Philadelphia. My advice? #MoveToPhilly