#SquadGoals for Life: Hanging out with progressives at NLC Austin


by Nakia Winfield, 2018 NLC Austin Fellow

NLC is just what I needed – friends, structure and opportunities to excel.

I have been looking for a crew of folks who are capable, competent, and understand that we need to be the change that we want to see in the world right now.  I wanted to hang with people who are making progressive societal change, interested in helping each other with their personal and professional objectives, and giving each other opportunities to improve, and here comes New Leaders Council with #squadgoals.  

The caliber of people that NLC has in my cohort is outstanding. Each one of these comrades is amazing in their own right and together they are downright stupendous. When we meet up, the intellect, expertise, and energy in the room is breathtaking and I’m over the moon that I get to be a part of it.  

On the first weekend, NLC had us channel our energy into “Life Entrepreneurship,” a structured goal setting process unique to each person that acknowledges and honors the life struggles and successes that we each went through to get to where we are today.  It involves intimate sharing and sometimes (often) crying.

We got deep, y’all.

Once we made peace with our past, the program had us each plan what we want our future to look like, and then had us set small, achievable goals and objectives to get us there.  Once we set those goals and objectives, our cohort-mates hold us accountable to them. Like literally #squadgoals.

NLC hones our skills. They provide us access to experts – leaders in their own fields with impressive resumes and tons of experience. Those leaders fly in from all parts of the country, and teach us the secrets of their trade like the co-conspirators that everyone needs. On top of sharing their experience, these professionals let us know that they will remain accessible if we have questions about their subject matter or just need general guidance.  Its clear that they want to help us on our journey to be better leaders and its helpful to have high expectations and strong support while we are learning new skills.

Finally, the work. NLC sets a high bar and requires us to fundraise for the next class so the next cohort can do what we are doing right now.  I do NOT do fundraising, and feel really uncomfortable with even the idea of it, so I jumped right into my discomfort and was the first one to volunteer to co-chair the fundraising committee. I plan to take advantage of gaining experience fundraising with the complete support of people who know what they are doing and want me to succeed. With the overwhelming excellence of my cohort and the help of recent alumni, I have no doubt that we will reach our goal and then some.

I am thrilled to be a part of this organization and look forward to both gaining now and giving back as alumni. #eachoneteachone