COVID might have brought restrictions, but it also brings new opportunities for the Multicultural Leadership Institute to expand its reach, according to new Board President Barbara Bouboutsis.
Because this year’s MCLP class will be online, Barbara and the current board see an opportunity to move beyond McLean County in their outreach and recruitment.
“COVID has taught us we can do this virtual thing,” she said. “The opportunity to broaden our geographic footprint is possible. The curriculum committee’s ability to shift on a dime and develop this year’s Class demonstrates the possibility of a transition to a real-world business setting.”
Looking ahead to her two years of leadership, Barbara said, “We have a solid foundation. We can position ourselves as a value to add to the community. We have this fabulous program that people go through and come out as a better servant leader with more self-awareness and understanding of diversity. I am fortunate to be part of this and shaping it during these unprecedented times. The challenge now is how we can learn from what’s happening now so we can do things in the future that will resonate with community organizations.”
She continued, “The Institute’s flagship program, MCLP, is a deep dive into who you are and how you interact with people. It starts with that self-awareness and then ripples out to how do I engage with people with different cultures? How do I give them room to be themselves and learn from them? The third component is the talent set I can bring to serve the community, now that I know who I am.”
In reflecting on her time with the Class of 2018, Barbara says that “through MCLP, I learned how to advocate better for myself professionally.” A native Chicagoan, Bouboutsis moved to McLean County six years ago. She chose to go through the program for the “professional and personal development opportunities, and the opportunity to connect with the community.”
Now, as an alumna and the Board president, Bouboutsis hopes to continue to strengthen the organization’s relationships with her fellow alumni and the community at large.
After graduation, Barbara joined the Board as Vice-President. She was also a member of the project selection committee. Both roles proved to be beneficial to her continued growth. Bouboutsis encourages other alumni to continue their MCLP journey through volunteering or even just by joining the MCLP Alumni Network Facebook page.
The private group serves as a space to share various opportunities, partake in intellectually stimulating conversations, and stay up to date with all things MCLP. The board hopes this new initiative will re-engage alumni for future growth and development.
Another goal Bouboutsis and the board have for the new year is to strengthen relationships with nonprofit community project partners outside of the nine-month course.
She noted that project teams complete their community project but are often left wondering about follow up. “I felt a disconnect there,” she said, between the project hand-off and a continued relationship with the organization. “I want to know how the project effort is working out. It’s more than just an exercise in class. We want to see it live and breathe in the community,” Bouboutsis commented.
To achieve this goal, the organization has instituted a mandatory one-year follow-up. It will now be a requirement of each project team to include goal measurement tools in their final projects. At this stage in the game, the participants are working hard to prepare their midterm presentations. If you’re interested in learning more, join us on December 10th at 5 p.m. More details to come.