By: Vickie Yakunin, Manager, Community Relations, Time Warner Cable
One of the best decisions I have ever made was to move to Dallas three years ago. But, it wasn’t until about a year ago, that I realized that I wanted to make Dallas my new home, that this wasn’t going to be a city that I lived in for just a few years. I feel a connection to Dallas that is different from any other city that I have lived in…and, there were four other cities (Washington, DC, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Phoenix) that came before my move to Dallas! I have truly enjoyed spending the last few years getting to know Dallas…visiting the museums, attending shows at the Performing Arts Center, cheering on the Mavs & Stars, strolling through the farmers market, walking along the path at White Rock Lake, and discovering a new restaurant just about every week! I decided that really the next step in getting to know the city better was to get more involved! And, that’s when I applied to the Leadership Dallas program. I have a number of colleagues, friends and community partners who have participated and have shared insightful feedback about their experience. It was obvious that the program would offer exactly what I wanted in a leadership development program – personal growth, the opportunity to engage with professionals who offer different perspectives, and certainly, the experience would offer a deeper understanding of the challenges the city faces and also the solutions that would help our city prosper and grow.
On the morning of Thursday, September 13th, I picked up my retreat roommate, Vanessa Benavides, and we were off to start our Leadership Dallas experience! The LD retreat was amazing! I enjoyed meeting other professionals in our community, learning from our class advisors and participating in the team challenges (Go Big Cats!). Pete DeLisle, the Director of the Posey Leadership Institute at Austin College, is an outstanding speaker who led our class through a thoughtful discussion on leadership effectiveness and the dynamics of a competent leader. We talked at length about the qualities of a leader – including the ability to influence people, the ability to make hard decisions and the capacity for intellectual honesty and discipline. In addition to team building and leadership conversations, we also received our committee assignments for the year. I am fortunate to be a part of a great group that will focus on planning the LD day on Education. I’m also part of the social committee…and it’s our job to make sure that our class is having fun throughout the year! We’re off to a great start on planning our social events.
In the short time we spent together at our class retreat, the process of building relationships, a shared vision, and the support systems needed to successfully complete the program have started to come together. It’s clear to me that my fellow LD classmates have a devout passion for community service and a strong desire to see our city prosper. It’s this passion that will keep us energized throughout this year-long experience. I know our class is ready to take on challenges, to learn and to inspire others in our community.