Growth During the Leadership Summit by Tearza Valencia

Hello, my name is Tearza Valencia! I am a senior at Grants High School and a dual enrollment student at NMSU- Grants Branch. Although I’m still in my first year of Evolvement, I have already been accepted as an Evolvement New Mexico Leadership Team (ENMLT) member. I applied to be a member of the ENMLT after considering all of the opportunities that would be available, including the Leadership Summit sessions. I knew that the whole purpose of the Leadership Summit was to expand members’ professional and personal skills, which sounded like a great way to spend my summer! I also looked forward to getting to know the Evolvement team and their mission in a more interpersonal way.

         As expected, my Leadership Summit experience has been informative, fun, and inspiring! Not only do I understand what is being asked of me as a changemaker, but I also have a clear idea of how to accomplish it. I have also been made aware of the fact that just because I am a leader, I am not expected to have everything figured out. This means that ENMLT members are encouraged to network and bond with each other, which has made our Social Sessions interesting. I’ve learned cool facts about my team, including their many hobbies and favorite songs. I have even heard their testimonies about why they joined Evolvement and why they are passionate about its objectives. In my opinion, that was the best part of every meeting because it made the connection between us all apparent. It was also motivating to learn about all the hard work every member has put into this one organization’s movement.

         Thanks to my Summit experience, I have improved in a few categories including leadership, advocating through social media, and public speaking. I understand that taking initiative is an important quality of a good leader. I learned that connecting to others through social media and print-based media is vital to successful advocacy. I gained knowledge about rapport building, power poses and leading the conversation when speaking to others regarding Evolvement’s purpose and goals.

I know that everything I’ve learned during this experience will benefit me in the present as well as in the future. From meeting with my principal to hosting an event at my school, I will demonstrate the skills and confidence that attending the Leadership Summit helped me expand. I truly cannot wait to see what the ENMLT, including myself, accomplishes this year!

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