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Alumni Profile: Irene Fernando

Irene is one of the co-founders of STLF. Irene, Isaiah (STLF’s Executive Director), and Claire (STLF's Communications and Development Fellow) sat down over a cup of coffee and a doughnut for this profile, this is their conversation.

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Blog

08
Nov16
Time 14:13

 

Hi! My name is Isaiah

I’m told this is called a “sunrise” blog post; “sunrise” because it marks the beginning of something new in the same way that a sunrise marks the beginning of a new day. I love all sorts of outdoor activities; fishing, camping, hunting, hiking, canoeing. Those activities have dragged me out of a warm comfortable bed and into beautiful, cold, hard, and wild places on many mornings. On those mornings I’ve experienced the world coming alive as the sun crept above the horizon. A favorite moment was sitting on the rocky north shore of Lake Superior as the sun created a hazy mirrored twin on the lake and young rainbow trout jumped in mouth of a Tributary River.

Thinking about these sunrises and reading the sunrise posts of my coworkers I realized that sunrises aren’t so much the beginning of new thing, as much as they are the revelation of something that already exists. That morning next to Lake Superior, the lake and the fish and birds were all there before the sun peaked over the horizon. The sun revealed them in a new way. The staff here at STLF, is committed to and working for justice, revealing leadership in others, building meaningful relationships, and transforming communities long before becoming part of this team. That is one of the great leadership truisms. Responsibility to a position doesn’t make a leader; leaders take on responsibility and positions follow.

About twenty years ago a trusted mentor said he saw in me a potential for leadership. That conversation changed my life; I made decisions and pursued opportunities I otherwise wouldn’t have because I believed him, even if I didn’t feel like a leader. This is why the work of STLF is important; we enable young people to discover leadership, we allow them opportunities to make a difference, and we reveal yet undiscovered possibilities. The work of STLF changes lives, and through those lives communities are transformed.

STLF is a lot like a sunrise; it has a significance and value of its own, but what makes it incredible is that it reveals and awakens beauty and impact that was there all along, just in need of a little light. It is an honor to play a part in adding to this light. I’m new to STLF; I have yet to experience a PIF tour, I’ve never been a Bus Core, and I’ve never been to a tour Celebration. (I’m not even sure if I’m using all the correct terminology.) My hope is that I’ll be able to translate twenty years of experiences developing leaders and organizations, and add to the light in the lives of young people that is STLF.

 

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My Story - Ayoola "Ay" Okuribido

STLF shaped Ay's college experience and prepared him future leadership skills

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