ISBLI challenged my personal leadership goals and has been a significant contributor to the process of my personal and professional development.
“Southern rooted, West Coast cultivated” is how I describe myself to others, a nod to being born and raised in rural Mississippi, then moving to Oakland, California where I graduated from high school. My undergraduate, medical, and residency education were completed in Louisiana (New Orleans), Michigan (Detroit), and Georgia (Augusta), respectively. I identify as an African-American woman convert to al-Islam who is a wife, mother, and physician. I have resided in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area for nine years where I provide primary care services and community health education to the residents of almost half of the counties in the region.
Traditionally, physicians are trained to give orders, and the individuals who answer to them—nurses, medical students, resident physicians, etc.—are expected to ensure the orders are carried out. Realizing that the most effective leaders had formal leadership training, I joined ISBLI to become a better physician leader and a better community leader. ISBLI has helped me further develop my confidence to serve as a leader.
Prior to the first session, all participants took a leadership style assessment. I gained insight on my strengths and weaknesses as an individual, as well as how others perceive me. Understanding my leadership style is crucial on so many levels—from implementing effective conflict resolution to improving team efficacy. Additionally, because all of my fellow ISBLI participants took the assessment, I developed a better appreciation for the leadership styles of individuals with whom I interact professionally and socially.
In the team project, I engaged with individuals whose careers ranged from law enforcement to non-profit organizations to art. My training with the ISBLI was yet just another friendly reminder that medicine, though my personal ministry, is my career and not the sole way in which I can be an asset to my community. Additionally, the program has truly expanded my social and professional network, allowing me to create partnerships with other likeminded persons who want to be a force of change in their communities.
ISBLI challenged my personal leadership goals and has been a significant contributor to the process of my personal and professional development. This program has shown me that though my leadership style may not look like the next person’s, I am fully capable of being a fair, just, and effective leader. I have a substantial amount of life and educational experience, and now better understand how to use it to continue serve humanity and—most importantly—continue to serve God.