Learning from a Legend

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As I jump head first into the world of politics it has been incredibly difficult to separate myself from continuing to be involved with the activities that ultimately inspired me to run for office. In the Fall of 2012 I had the enormous pleasure of serving as the Chair of the first My City Summit. It was a labor of love as the Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana embarked on a new endeavor – a conference designed by and for young adults to inspire a new generation of leaders to become attached to the community to effectuate positive change. The event was a resounding success, surpassing all expectations. Ultimately, the planning of the summit helped me determine that my talents would best be served by representing the people of the 84th District.

When YLNI was afforded the opportunity to host another My City Summit this Spring – in the midst of my busy campaign season – I was faced with a difficult decision. I could continue to the campaign at full throttle, or I could lend a hand with the summit. Ultimately, community came first – it always does. And I’m glad it did. This year’s summit was led by a team of dedicated young leaders determined to take the event to a next level. They brought together an amazing collection of inter-generational leaders for a community wide conversation.

My small role was to help honor the legacy of Ian Rolland and his efforts in leading our community with his courageous leadership. A small role – a huge responsibility – and an even bigger privilege. I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with and interview him on several occasions in preparation for the summit. Almost every time, he reinforced the notion of having integrity in being a leader. These aren’t words that he merely said when the camera was on, rather, they are words that he lives by – and chooses to teach.

The 2014 My City Summit was a truly wonderful experience and I’m proud of the work that was accomplished by YLNI and the committee members. I expect that there will be some wonderful and innovative ideas generated from the discussions that night, inspired by the incredible talent assembled on stage and in the room. However, as I returned to the campaign trail in hopes of earning the privilege of representing constituents of the 84th District, I can’t help but believe that the slight detour from the campaign trail wasn’t an accident. It was a lesson.