My first time hearing about the Center for Leadership Learning and the Diversity Leadership Development Program was through an announcement from one of the clubs I joined. It went something along the lines of this: “If anyone is interested in a leadership program that involves receiving 2 academic units, a leadership certificate, and a program that teaches you about the importance of leadership, diversity, and inclusion, then I encourage you to join DLDP, a program offered by the Center for Leadership Learning.” After hearing this announcement, I noticed my ears were perked up. I was fully focused on every word being said about the program. I went home and quickly did my research on CLL and the leadership programs they had to offer. I read through the requirements, the differences between the two certificate programs, and the requirements to apply. Minutes later, I hit “Apply” for DLDP.
One month later, it was the first DLDP seminar. In an environment full of new faces, I walked in with no idea on what activities awaited and what takeaways I would have by the end of each session, but I was excited. After participating for an entire quarter, I am proud to say I have learned a lot. Now, I understand what it means to actually impose self-care, what identity means and looks like, and the steps and knowledge needed to be an inclusive leader. For instance, I began to fully take care of my body and my mental health. I go the gym when I can, give myself the necessary breaks needed when working, and eat healthier. After all, your body supplies the energy you give it.
Another important component of DLDP is something known as sustained dialogue. It is a time where every individual comes together to deeply reflect on issues, assumptions, and actions. It is also a time to hear, learn, and grow from one another. The first few sessions were quiet and awkward but it was expected. No one really wanted to share their thoughts; but as time went by, people became more comfortable and started to speak their mind. I even started to step out of my comfort zone and shared more of my opinions. I became comfortable with the uncomfortable. Looking back, dialogue really broadened my perspective. I have become more open-minded and have grasped a better understanding on each person’s struggles, insecurities, and point of view. In the end, I realized a lot of us have more in common than we think.
As a result of DLDP, my habits have changed and I have been more aware of what goes on around me. DLDP has guided me in a different direction than I had anticipated and I am glad to say I enjoyed this path. I came into DLDP with a mindset of growing and learning, and have walked out with a one-of-a-kind experience. It is why as a fellow peer and DLDP participant, I urge everyone to participate in this leadership program, as it is a step in enriching your learning experience.
Constance Wong is currently serving as a communications volunteer for the Center for Leadership Learning. She has joined DLDP and is hoping to use her experiences in both positions to learn more about herself and her career. She knows that being a good leader incorporates a lot of qualities that are not just taught but learned and she hopes she can become a great one in the work field.