Digital Leadership Symposium brings alumni experience and a college fair to NHIers
This article is by Tomas Miriti Pacheco.
This year’s Digital Leadership Symposium, designed to provide leadership education for all NHI students this summer (but especially for the LDZ cohort preparing for in-person programs in 2021, has been both a resource for students moving forward in their careers and a demonstration of how far those resources can take them.
Although a few incredible opportunities for learning have passed, a number of the highlights — including the first of two Digital College Fairs on July 8 and a to-be-announced session with U.S. Representative and social media powerhouse Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — are still available for any student who has committed to a 2020 NHI summer program. (Students can use this link to find and sign up for sessions.)
The presentations that students have experienced so far, including those by NHI alumni now in professional roles, highlight the value and potential many institutions see in NHI’s participants.
As Andrea Medina, Global Program Manager at LinkedIn, pointed out, “I’m always thinking, where are we going to tap NHI in?” She led a Symposium presentation two weeks ago on utilizing LinkedIn, bridging her professional life with her long history with NHI. Twelve years after she first had her interest piqued by the promise of Latino leadership education, she is still working with and learning from those initial experiences that followed.
She attended all three NHI programs and staffed 20 more, serving 5 times as a Head Coach and serving for two years as an LDZ program Secretary of State. Her strong commitment to the organization stems from her continued engagement with the skills and interests she developed as a student. At LinkedIn, she sees the possibility for the growth of an NHI alumni network, where amongst the many walks of life they choose participants can still benefit from the connections they are forming now.
Indeed, the Symposium itself brings together a diverse group of alumni. During the Cafe y Cultura event on June 25th, actor and choreographer Gustavo “Suavo” Vargas discussed his competitive spirit and drive to explore new terrain—something he has been exceptionally capable at doing while choreographing tours for several international superstars.
“I never know where I’m going to be or what’s gonna happen,” he said, describing his work life. But it is in these unpredictable moments — like when he crashed an audition that led him into the music video for Britney Spears’ “… Baby One More Time” — where Vargas thrives.
For participants, having a community mindset and moving fearlessly into new situations are important tools on their journey. “I want to get ready for college, and this program will prepare me for the next chapter of my life,” said Lauren Gonzalez, a rising senior at Communication Arts High School in San Antonio, and a member of the CWSx winning team that competed earlier this week.
“I have gained confidence in myself, valuable information on colleges, the sense of leadership, knowledge of how to choose the right path for me and not let anyone choose my future, and really great friends,” echoed Beatriz Ramirez from Escuela Sierra Nevada in the Mexico City metro area.
These digital programs have shown new ways for the NHI community to connect and share information even as it prepares participants for a return to traditional LDZ programming. As they continue their participation in other NHI events this summer, and even further into the fall, they will carry with them the knowledge and connections taught in this forum.