At its essence, leadership is about service: to ourselves, our families, and our communities.
I’ve always admired the work that the Islamic Speakers Bureau (ISB) does to combat anti-Muslim sentiment, and I’ve done presentations for them on Islamic art. I joined the ISB Leadership Institute (ISBLI) to challenge myself and embrace the possibilities of leadership. I’ve always considered myself a team player, someone who prefers to be in the background rather than in the spotlight. Recently, in my professional life, I’ve been asked by managers and supervisors to take on more leadership roles and through ISBLI I started to explore my leadership abilities.
For this year’s ISBLI team project, I was assigned to the Blue Team to create a mentorship program for the juniors and seniors of Al Falah Academy. I was fortunate to have been a member of a wonderful team of civic leaders that are serving their communities in a myriad of ways. Previous experiences led to me believe that team projects would result in one or two people doing all the work while the others would slack off. But ISBLI taught me the method to building and managing successful, effective teams, an important skill to have.
As a volunteer coordinator, I’ve had to bring my creative and entrepreneurial spirit to the job. Now that I’m a manager, I’ve learned that flexibility and great communication skills are wonderful assets to have when working with volunteers. Despite busy lives, they give a few hours of time each month, dedicating themselves to the mission of the Center. ISBLI reinforced that the key to letting volunteers know that I value their time and effort is by keeping the lines of communication open and building a relationship of trust and openness.
I know that my experience in the ISBLI 2020 program will affect me personally and professionally for many years to come. Leadership is not simply having a commanding personality, or seeming to be comfortable as the center of attention. I didn’t see many examples of people like me; the introverted, quieter types. That is, until I joined the ISB Leadership Institute. At its essence, leadership is about service; to ourselves, our families, and our communities. I want to continue integrating my new leadership skills on the job, with my online art business and in my volunteer work.