This past weekend, we came together in the Detroit area for a special purpose. It was the 10th anniversary reunion of the Diversity Executive Leadership Program (DELP). Sponsored by the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau, it was an opportunity for alumni to reconnect and
haze meet the new class of DELP scholars who we affectionately call the newbies. Sure, I could run down the activities we participated in from the visit to the Arab-American Museum to taking in a Detroit Tigers game, but that would be boring. The real story here is about how this one program has changed us all.
To the newbies, yes, it’s a whirlwind, overwhelming experience. It’s a lot to take in over the course of five days. You start with a two-day orientation at ASAE headquarters followed by a weekend in Detroit where you meet a bunch of people with impressive resumes and years of experience. How can you not feel a bit intimidated by that? However, by Sunday evening as you flew home, my hope is that you understand that this program is more than just professional development, it’s about family. Class of 2011-2013, congratulations and welcome. You’ve gained an entire network of bright, talented individuals who are willing and able to help you through this journey. Don’t be afraid to call on us if you need anything. These next two years will only be as productive as you make it. Go forth and make us proud.
To the esteemed alumni (especially my class of 2008-2009, aka The Best), it was so good to see you, to share some laughs and hugs and business cards. This weekend should serve as a reminder of why we applied (sometimes more than once) to be a DELP scholar in the first place: to receive the resources and support needed to reach the next level of our careers. I hope you feel as inspired and ready to conquer the world as I do. As former ASAE Chair Velma Hart once told us, the time is now to start making an impact. That journey has begun, but there’s much more to do. Let’s be a good example to the current DELP scholars.
Looking forward to seeing many of you in St. Louis in August. Until then, thank you. I am blessed and honored to serve as a DELP scholar with you. Continue to support each other and this valuable program.