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Telling Their Own Stories

    

Dr. Lenny Salzerg, Friday Fellow '95
Fayetteville, NC
Associate Director, Southern Regional Area Health Education Center

 

 

  

 

  

Leadership: 

I have used my leadership as a physician to help train better doctors and provide better healthcare to my patients. My current position is Associate Director of Family Medicine at Southern Regional AHEC where, along with my clinical practice and teaching, I direct a Faculty Development Fellowship for Family Physician Faculty and also created a Chief Resident Workshop. I am an active advocate in my community, having served on the board for the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, and Teen Improvement Projects. Recently, I finished teaching a 6 week "Crucial Conversations" course for an organization called "Partnerships for Children." This 12 hour course helps people recognize when a conversation becomes crucial: when it is high stakes, when there are differing opinions, and when there are strong emotions.
Fellowship Impact:
The Fellowship helped me to understand the complexity of context and the value of having awareness of systemic "isms" in our society and implementing adaptive leadership tools where I work, which serves a diverse population. I've personally used these lessons as a Family Physician in patient care, in my leadership role in residency education, and when teaching residents and students. It continues to have a powerful impact on my life. Among the most important things I learned was something I least expected as a teaching of the fellowship - the power of reflection.
Success Story:
My next big project is beginning a Diabetes Fellowship. We were funded and will start with our first Fellow in July. There is a glaring need for more experts in the management of Diabetes in North Carolina, and this fellow will be ideally suited to fill this need.


Susan Faircloth, Friday Fellow '14

Raleigh, NC

Associate Professor, Leadership Policy & Adult Higher Education, NCSU

 

 

 

Leadership:

My leadership and research interests include: indigenous education, education of culturally and linguistically diverse students with special education needs, and the moral and ethical dimensions of school leadership. I have served on the Advisory Board for the North Carolina Court Improvement Program, the Bureau of Indian Education's special education programs and services, the Goodling Institute for Family Literacy, and the American Indian Center at UNC-Chapel Hill. Currently, I serve on a presidentially-appointed board for the Bureau of Indian Education's Special Education Programs and direct a Collaborative, the Indigenous Collaborative on Education, Research, and Service. We sponsored a community work day at the headquarters of the Coharie Tribe in Clinton, NC.

Fellowship Impact:
As a member of the current class, I am looking forward to the learning and skills that the Fellowship will bring.

Success Story:
I am excited to conduct an oral history project to preserve the stories of individuals who taught at or attended the East(ern) Carolina Indian School in Clinton, NC.

 

 

 

Emma Allen, Friday Fellow '99
Winston-Salem, NC
Insurance and Financial Services Professional, State Farm Insurance Company

 

 

 

Leadership

My life's work has been about improving the lives of others through creating financial education that is actionable and changes lives, families, and communities. Recently I was appointed to the Winston Salem Board of ECHO (Everyone Can Help Out) which is focused on building a diverse community and promoting integration around the goal of understanding and appreciating differences. I was appointed to the Winston Salem Woman and Minorities Business Council for the City of Winston Salem and charged with inspecting the minority participation on city contracts. I have received the Maya Angelou Women Who Lead Award, the Thurgood Marshall Leadership Award, and the Charlotte Post Women Who Lead Award.

Fellowship Impact:
Because of my Friday Fellow experience I approach my business and community leadership from a place of compassion, open-mindedness, and a renewed commitment to deploying my energy in a way that promotes the betterment of my community at large.

Success Story:
We are celebrating the second year of opening this agency in Winston-Salem, which is a huge milestone. Recently I was able to refinance a home for a family of four that was facing foreclosure by reducing their interest rate to a new affordable monthly payment.

 

 

Mary Holmes, Friday Fellow '97

Fayetteville, NC

Executive Director, Cumberland Community Foundation

 

 

 

Leadership:

I recently celebrated my 18th year as executive director of Cumberland Community Foundation. It is inspiring to see the growth in the foundation's scholarship and grant programs. I have served on many boards at the state and local level, including NC Association of Community Foundations (chair 2006/2007 and 2012/2013), NC Network of Grantmakers, the NC Center for Nonprofits, Center for Self-Help, Cape Fear Regional Theatre, Fayetteville/Cumberland Chamber of Commerce, Museum of Cape Fear Historical Complex Foundation, and other organizations and projects that improve the quality of life in North Carolina.

Fellowship Impact:
Every single day of my life, my community is enriched because of my Friday Fellowship experience. I gained confidence in reaching out to people who are not like me to include them at the table. I am more capable now of hearing what people are saying and not saying. How do you measure the impact of knowing how to welcome someone when they walk in a room?

Success Story:
Recently we have been focusing on assisting small nonprofits and community groups to engage in planned giving and endowment building. It is challenge and very rewarding to help build sustainable support for our diverse community organizations.

  

  

Leslie Takahashi Morris, Friday Fellow '95
Walnut Creek, CA
Lead Minister, Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church

 

 

Leadership:
I have been working with my church to end the mass incarceration of people of color and have been working for the last five years on recognizing the importance of fair policies for undocumented workers and their families in the global economy. I serve as the chair of the board of the Rainbow Community Center, a bgltq resource and counseling center and I just finished a term as the chair of the Interfaith Council of Contra County where we were working to reduce religious intolerance.

Fellowship Impact:
My hope is that the goals and approach of the Friday Fellowship will spread to organizations and networks as Fellows carry their learning into their lives and that North Carolina is thus more equipped to deal generously and fairly with all the people who do and will call North Carolina home. I know I have brought the Fellowship with me to California and to all my work here.

Success Story:
In California, we passed Prop 47 which was one of the first efforts nationally to decriminalize some nonviolent crimes and redirect money from the prison industry back to rehabilitation, education, and supportive services. The church I serve was active in hosting the campaign work for this.

 

 

   Alice Tejada, Friday Fellow '01

   Raleigh, NC

   City of Raleigh Police Attorney

 

 

  

 

Leadership:

In my previous role as an attorney with Legal Aid of NC and in private practice, I spent over a decade representing the rights of workers in North Carolina. Now as an attorney advising the Raleigh Police Department, my leadership is about ensuring that all employees are treated fairly in the workplace so that they can thrive and succeed in their goals while being held accountable in their responsibility to maintain the public safety.

Fellowship Impact:

I’ve built some unlikely friendships. There is a man here at the department who I admire greatly. We disagree about 80% of the time, we have very different political orientations, and I love talking with him and learn something every time I do. We have deep mutual respect even though we are so different.  The Fellowship taught me that this is possible. If I approach people authentically, being who I am and wanting them to be who they are, they respond. And, we can listen to each other and understand where we are coming from, even if we continue to disagree. I learned in the Fellowship that I don’t have to hide who I am to please people– that people respond to authenticity and it invites them to be authentic too. Then we can actually hear each other and learn. I use what I learned in the Fellowship every day – the notebook from seminar three is in my office and I use it all the time.

Success Story:

After the fellowship I had to really look at where I was using my leadership and ask myself—is this about my ego or my career?  Can I make a contribution here?  I left a bunch of Boards where I was contributing nothing—I was just there to fill a space or to add it to my resume. Now, if I am working on a board or leading an effort, it is because I am truly contributing. I do a lot of discernment about how to use my time and energy and that has made me a better leader.

 

 

  


 

  Jose Hernandez-Paris, Friday Fellow '99

  Charlotte, NC

  Diversity Specialist, Charlotte-Mecklenberg School Dist.

 (photo credit: Charlotte Magazine)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leadership:

I serve in multiple roles, all of them impartial. At times I am an advocate, a trainer, an advisor, a representative, a facilitator or a point of contact. Therefore, my influence varies according to the role, but I like to summarize it as the person who at times has to be the conscience of the district, or the person who has to say or point out what others may not see or be able to say. This is a risky and at times controversial role to play. However, I have learned to influence decision making processes and policies in a way that it moves the district forward in providing an equitable and equal educational experience for all students. The way I achieve this is by empowering the decision makers and the folks who have direct contact with the students through guided learning and “influential advocacy.”

Fellowship Impact:

The Friday Fellowship provided me with a unique, invaluable, and life-changing experience. The fellowship helped me reflect on my identity, and my leadership style. It provided me with a network of talented individuals who have become a trusted resource- in Spanish, Fellowship is “Hermandad” which means brotherhood. I honestly feel that this is a brother-sisterhood who will always be there. One of the most important things it has taught me, is humility. Servant leadership is not a cliché, but a way of life.

Success Story: 

There have been many occasions in which I have used what I have learned from my exposure to the fellowship. One that stands out was the time when we were able to convince the district that a bullying policy was needed in order to protect all of our students regardless of their background or identity, including sexual orientation. This seems simple now, but at the time it was highly controversial. I was able to work with a coalition of community members who represented both conservative and liberal ideals, the Board of Education, and district staff to write and approve one of the most inclusive policies in the history of public education in North Carolina.

 

 

 

Alyson Grine, Friday Fellow '11

Chapel Hill, NC

Defender Educator, School of Government, UNC-Chapel Hill

 

 

 

Leadership:

In general, my work is to assist North Carolina court actors – judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys – in maintaining the integrity of our legal system. Most recently, I have been working on helping them recognize and address issues of race when they arise in a criminal case.  We are seeking to equip defense attorneys so that they can protect their clients’ rights and make sure they receive a fair, impartial trial that is free from improper considerations such as race or ethnicity.

Fellowship Impact:

My fellow Fellows and their leadership work have greatly affected me. Thinking about this community of effective, committed leaders leads me to ask, “What could I contribute? What resources are available to me?” Their examples also give me courage to take on challenges that initially seem too big and make me want to duck! The Fellowship also helped me become more fluent in talking about difficult topics, such as racial disparities in the criminal justice system, even though it may be painful to do so. I try to find a quiet place within myself and say, “Please help me to be of service today.”

Success story:

We have created a practice manual, the first of its kind, to provide attorneys and other actors with the resources they need to address issues of race effectively when they arise in a criminal case. And, in order to make sure that the manual is put into practice, we are in the process of forming a network of attorneys who are committed to addressing issues of racial equity in the criminal justice system, and training these attorneys on the content of the manual.

 

 

Kel Landis, Friday Fellow '95

Raleigh, NC

Co-founder and Partner, Plexus Capital

 

 

 

 

Leadership:

As a native of Eastern North Carolina, the urbanization of North Carolina and the great divide between rural and urban in our state is of utmost concern to me. I have led many efforts to bring investment and attention to the rural parts of our state—particularly the east. The people and communities are suffering terribly there. I am also co-chairing the campaign to create Freedom Monument Park in downtown Raleigh, which will document the struggle for freedom by African-Americans, enslaved in North Carolina. Most importantly, it will be a part of the 4th grade curriculum of all of North Carolina’s public school students to learn the true history of the struggle, heroism and hard won fight for freedom on the part of African-Americans in our state. I am committed to telling the whole story and facing the tragedy of racism in our country.

Fellowship Impact:

My father was a leader in human relations issues in Rocky Mount in the early 70s, which was not a popular thing to be. He planted the seeds of responsibility in me and the Fellowship trained me and gave me tools to be able to live that responsibility out fully. I will never forget our early sessions with Angela Bryant in which we were challenged to face the dynamics of how power and –isms operate in our society. My work in the fellowship opened my eyes to systemic oppression and the importance of fighting against it--not just because it was the right thing to do but because it’s the best thing to do. I learned great lessons in the Fellowship in my late 30s that I have been able to apply in the past 20 years in all of my work. Many of those lessons show up in the book and I certainly credit the Fellowship for inspiring these ideas.

Success Story:
I recently published a book titled, The Little Book of DO, a call to action for all of us to do something, anything at all, to be of service in our communities. I believe that there is only DO or Don’t DO—there is no try. Trying alone is inaction. Doing and failing is better than simply trying. We are each capable of living our lives beyond ourselves and if we hope to have lives of significance then we must get out there and act. All of the proceeds from the sale of the Little Book of DO will go toward providing small grants to people and organizations who are doing something in their communities to make a difference. The only requirement is that they keep on doing it.

I call on all my fellow Fellows and all leaders to determine what they can do to make change and to DO it. Don’t plan to do it, DO.

 

   

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