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WE Lead Module 1 Recap
The WE Lead scholars have had an action-packed stay in Dallas. Many already say they have formed lifelong bonds with their fellow scholars and are ready and prepared to implement their newly-acquired skills into their jobs and personal leadership projects back home.
Their first classroom session focused what it means to be powerful, subconscious beliefs about power across gender lines, and the ways we can ‘access’ our personal power. For one of the exercises, scholars listed the characteristics associated with powerful women, powerful men, powerless women, and powerless men.
Throughout the module, scholars met graduates of other Bush Institute leadership programs, including the Stand-To Veteran Leadership Program and Presidential Leadership Scholars. VLP Scholars provided insight on making the most of Bush Institute opportunities and personal leadership projects. PLS Scholars shared their leadership experiences related to social impact work.
Their first weekend here, the scholars attended the Dallas Cowboys vs. Jacksonville Jaguars game at AT&T Stadium. In addition to entertainment and exposure to a new aspect of American culture, the experience sought to demonstrate the business of professional sports.
They also participated in Teambuilding with Taste, a Chopped-like competition that fosters collaboration and trust.
The following week, visits around town included SMU’s Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity, which develops sustainable technologies that improve the standard of living for the world’s poor, and Akola Project, a nonprofit jewelry brand that creates work opportunities for women in poverty. Akola jewelry makers worked with scholars to create their own bracelets.
During their final week in Dallas, scholars sat down with President and Mrs. Bush for a Q&A session. The scholars discussed the challenges facing their countries while hearing advice, insight, and inspiration from the President and First Lady.
One of the final class sessions, titled Leading Effective Teams, required scholars to break into teams and build towers with marshmallows, straws, Twizzlers, and raw pasta. They learned the importance of adjusting their strategies on-the-go and the effectiveness of incorporating fun into team-building.
Remaining highlights include a dinner “speed-networking” session with former Women’s Initiative Fellowship mentors, and scholars will join staff for the Bush Center Halloween Party.
Scholars will return home on Saturday to put their newly-acquired skills into action and to continue honing their Personal Leadership Projects. Module 2 will take place via online training, and the scholars will return to the U.S. in March to visit New York, Washington, D.C., and finally Dallas for graduation.
Miriam Spradling serves as Senior Manager, Communications for the George W. Bush Presidential Center, where she focuses on the Bush Institute’s global initiatives.
Prior to joining the Bush Center, Miriam was an Assistant Director of External Relations at Stanford Law School, managing recent graduate engagement, direct appeals, and the class gift campaign. Before Stanford, Miriam worked for MD Anderson Cancer Center as a Communications Specialist. In that role, she provided writing, video production, and media relations support. Miriam also worked for ABC13 in Houston as an Associate Producer.
Miriam graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in business. As a student, she completed multiple internships, including roles with former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Texas Monthly, ESPNU, and ABC News.Full Bio
Dreamer to Achiever
In Egypt, it was not common for women to run or play sports in public. 2013 WE Lead Scholar Mariz Doss worked to change that perception.
WE Lead Graduation
The inaugural class of WE Lead scholars graduated from the 5-month program on March 21. WE Lead seeks to empower and equip women to become more effective leaders and to advance economic opportunity in their communities and countries.
Q&A with WE Lead Scholar Nadia Behboodi
Nadia Behboodi, a 2019 WE Lead Scholar from Afghanistan, is CEO of the Afghan Women’s Organization for Research, Learning, and Development. She volunteers with Seeds of Change, a network of professional women and men standing for female leadership at all levels, and manages Afghanistan’s first circle of the Lean In network, which promotes female empowerment.