To all our wonderful partners. My time with Higher is coming to an end. In fact, today is my last day in the office. I’m leaving to focus on school and some creative projects I’ve always wanted to pursue. The easiest way to express how I feel is to thank you all for helping make my time with Higher a fulfilling and life-changing role – Thank You!
Here are five of the most important things I’ve learned over the past three years:
1. The Upside to Being Outside of my Comfort Zone
I truly love to learn, and I have to admit, I’ve learned the most when I’ve stepped outside of my comfort zone to do my job. Whether standing behind an exhibition booth table or presenting in front of a room full of service providers, the situations that have caused me the most anxiety are, by far, my most cherished memories with Higher. I encourage each of you to do something that challenges you to learn something about yourself in the New Year.
2. Practice Makes Perfect
When I think about the presentations, webinars and trainings I’ve done with Higher, the ones that I’m the most proud of are the ones that I’ve taken the time to practice. Over and over and over again. Coming into this role with Higher, I didn’t realize how much time goes into designing, developing and conducting an effective presentation. Many of you do it every day and I’m inspired by your abilities!
3. Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help
When I first started with Higher, I thought that the fact that I lacked frontline experience working with refugees was something to be ashamed of. As I started to get to know the network, it became clear that I was wrong – when I admitted that I needed help to understand the world of refugee employment, every person I talked to was SO HELPFUL. I’ve tried really hard to mirror the incredible generosity and kindness I’ve received from the network, but it’s difficult to imagine I’ve come close. You guys are amazing.
4. The Importance of Community
The timing couldn’t have been worse for me personally, but I’m so glad that I made time to attend the Welcoming Institute in August of 2015. Throughout the two-day event, Welcoming America somehow managed to change the way I think about communities, and more surprisingly, the role I wanted to play in my own local community. To summarize, I went from not really caring on day one to finding myself on Baltimore’s World Refugee Day planning committee before I even knew what was happening. Thanks, Welcoming America – I needed that!
5. A Little Kindness Goes A Long Way
Giving a compliment is easy, free, and motivational, but I wonder, can you remember the last time someone told you that you were doing a good job? Please, I’m not looking for a compliment – really. What I am hoping is that you pass on some kind words today – maybe to a colleague or maybe to a client – no matter what, you’ll make more of an impact than you will ever know. Here are a few easy phrases to get you started: “Keep up the good work!” “Great job!” “Thank You!”