No matter how talented or passionate we are, it is critical to seek out opportunities for personal growth in order to reach our full potential. I’ve compiled a list of programs and professional networks in Rhode Island to help you do just that. — By Jess Evora
Here we go!! In no particular order…
New Leaders Council is a national organization with a local chapter in RI. The RI chapter selects 20 fellows each year to participate in a comprehensive leadership program in which seasoned professionals serve as mentors. Fellows of the program complete a capstone project upon graduation. Alumni of the program go on to do great things. You can inquire about applying for the program by contacting the NLC RI. Applications are due in October. This is an incredible opportunity to enhance your professional competencies and expand your network. Learn more.
Millennial RI was created to help you #ChooseRI. This excellent organization believes in the beauty of RI, and agrees that it is a wonderful place for young adults to live. They host great events for professional development and networking. They have a membership component ($30 for millennials, and $20 for students). However, anyone is welcome to attend their events, regardless of whether you are a member. Learn more.
The Young Leaders Circle (YLC) is a professional network of emerging leaders of change who are looking to expand their network and build on their professional skills. There is a membership component. Members have access to great resources, including the Learn with Leaders sessions, which bring seasoned professionals in to speak with YLC members. The website describes YLC as “a strong networker of leaders, doers, and influencers”. This is a program by United Way of Rhode Island. Learn more.
EduLeaders of Color RI is an organization dedicated to empowering leaders of color with a focus on social justice efforts. The organization does have a primary focus on education (hence the name), but holds a strong conviction towards the power of collaboration. They welcome professionals of color in all fields to join them in their efforts to support and empower the RI community. The organization hosts MeetUps once a month during which they focus on a specific theme. They usually bring in powerful speakers from the community during their MeetUps. Learn more.
The Nonprofit Emerging Leaders Program is a professional network of rising stars in the RI non-profit network. This 10-month program, which is offered by the Rhode Island Foundation, takes a cohort of about 15 professionals each year, and guides them through a self-directed learning experience. Each participant is paired with a mentor in the non-profit sector in RI. There is a competitive application process, according to the program’s webpage. Contact RI Foundation to inquire about their recruitment process & timeline. Learn more.
Although the program is temporary suspended as they seek out new sources of funding (as of May 2018), this is a program all women despite their backgrounds and/or passion, should look into. The Women’s Policy Institute is a leadership development program directed by Women’s Fund RI. The program runs September through June with new applications being accepted every 2 years. This program assists women in understanding the strategies of influencing policy and empowers women to consider leadership positions in the state. Check to see if the program has returned.
Some of these programs require long-term commitment, but others are simply professional networks in which all you need to do is to attend one event in order to increase your potential for professional and personal growth. Are you not big on networking? That’s okay! But you have to at least pretend you enjoy it, because it is so important. Just go to an event with a friend and commit to approaching just one person or group.
You can do it. We know you can, and you know you can. Go out there and be great!!
US & OUR CULTURE
A blog that celebrates the diversity and the impact of today’s young professionals