NLC sparked change in my life, and it can in others

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by Bri Jenkins, 2019 NLC Austin Fellow

When I was first nominated for NLC, I was not sure what I would be getting myself into. That first day I was greeted by a lot of nervous, yet friendly, faces as all nineteen of us began this new journey together.

Nineteen people, eighteen women and one man, who I now get to call my friends.

The first two days we shared our personal stories, opened up, and let our vulnerability show. I think that has been the key to how close we all have gotten in the last month. Lowering those walls and letting your humanity show is what human connection is all about and NLC has taught us that people can continue to surprise you and that sharing your story matters.

Now don’t get me wrong, there has been a ton of work, more work than I originally thought I could handle. After that first weekend I considered quitting. As someone who is very involved in Austin between working in Development for a nonprofit, sitting on two nonprofit boards, and being a 28-year-old with a social life, adding another project quickly seemed to be unrealistic. I decided to stick it out and the hard work has been worth it. NLC has caused me to really think about what is important, ask myself if I am spending my time effectively, and plan for things that matter.

When I initially started, I was most intrigued because I have been considering running for public office since 2017. I didn’t think that within a month I would be considering leaving the field of nonprofit, after nine years, and applying for city jobs. I have also agreed to be the Co-Chair for this year’s NLC June Fundraiser because I believe that training progressive leaders is very important, and I want to make sure that NLC can give this opportunity to whoever wishes to take part.

Over the next four months I hope to grow. I hope to get more confident in my story telling and creating personal connections. I hope that I can have more faith in myself to one day represent the people of Austin, or wherever I end up next. I hope that NLC can change other people’s lives like it has changed mine.