2014-02-05

This post originally appeared on the United Way of the National Capital Area website, and we recommend reading it there! Click here to view the original page, complete with audio, video and a “Meet the Corps Members” section. United Way of the National Capital Area sponsors the City Year Washington, DC team serving at Kelly Miller Middle School. Last month, their President and CEO talked with our corps members as part of our Learning from Leaders Series

United Way NCA CEO Provides Insight on Leadership to Local City Year Corps Members
By Willona Sloan

Rosie Allen-Herring, President and CEO of United Way of the National Capital Area (United Way NCA), addressed dozens of energetic City Year Washington D.C. corps members at their Learning from Leaders event, which was held at George Washington University.

The monthly series invites local executives to share their insight, personal experiences and knowledge with the corps members, who also have the chance to interact with the leaders in an engaging Q&A discussion.

City Year Washington D.C. is a valuable partner to United Way NCA, and together we are making an impact on student achievement at Kelly Miller Middle School in the District of Columbia. United Way NCA sponsors a City Year corps at the school to provide in-classroom and afterschool support.

“It really does take a village,” Jeff Franco, City Year DC’s executive director, said of the United Way NCA/City Year partnership. “It is really key for us to have United Way be a partner in the work we are doing.”

Despite the subarctic temperatures, the room was crackling with the corps members’ electric enthusiasm before the program even began. Allen-Herring was joined onstage by D.C. native and corps member Phillip Emeritz, who serves with the United Way NCA-sponsored team at Kelly Miller.

Emertiz moderated the discussion and asked Allen-Herring some pretty challenging and extremely interesting questions, soliciting her response on a range of topics from solving the dropout crisis to her personal leadership philosophy.

Allen-Herring who strongly believes in the “servant leadership” model said effective leaders demonstrate compassion and are willing to listen to and learn from others. She also said great leaders “motivate, influence and inspire.”

It was Allen-Herring’s advice for making important career moves that most resonated with the corps members. “Always try to understand your passion first. Then, you will have the core values to help you determine what you want to do,” she said. Allen-Herring recommended that each corps member ask himself or herself, “What am I passionate about; what skills do I have; what do I think I am good at doing; what do others think I am good at doing?”

Corps member LaRonda Doakes, who serves at Kelly Miller Middle School, said Allen-Herring’s advice came at just the right time. Doakes is wrestling with the decision of what she will do after her service with City Year ends in May.

“I learned so much,” said Doakes. “It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, what your position is, whether you’re on the bottom or the top, as long as you’re doing what inspires you to wake up in the morning, that’s all that matters.”

Taylor Rhodes, a team leader at Kelly Miller, whose tenure also will be ending in May, said she was motivated by Allen-Herring’s suggestion to make a list of passions, skills and interests. “It’s something you know that you probably should do but to hear someone who is successful say that she’s done it and obviously it has helped her, I think that’s helpful and really inspiring to hear,” said Rhodes.

The Learning from Leaders discussion also provided an excellent opportunity for Allen-Herring to meet some of the passionate corps members such as Nuval Cherian, from Bethesda, who has been inspired by the change he has seen with the students he works with every day.

Together, United Way NCA and City Year are making a huge difference in the lives of youth in our community by helping them develop academically and by connecting them to caring adults who serve as mentors and tutors.

Below, our corps members describe in their own words why they are so passionate about their work at Kelly Miller. [SEE ORIGINAL POST]

Learn more about [United Way of the National Capital Area's] education initiatives and join us in our goal of creating brighter futures for the youth in our community.

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