Expect the Unexpected: 5 Reasons to Apply for the RIBBA Emerging Leaders Development Program

by Stephanie Mireku

RIBBA’s Emerging Leaders Development Program is a unique opportunity for professionals of color to invest in their leadership skills and amplify their professional trajectories toward greater success. The program encourages active and ongoing participation in discussions and projects related to topics such as personal brand, leadership style, conflict management, and managerial effectiveness. Participants have the platform to increase their overall access to resources and opportunities, enhance their capacity to lead, improve career opportunities, build significant relationships, and contribute to the fabric of leadership in their communities.

The program, currently in its second year of accepting applicants, has a reputation all on its own in part due to its remarkable outcomes, such as a 100% graduation rate, several promotions and job offers, board placements, business launches, speaking opportunities, and overall increased access to professional and personal opportunities. While it can be interesting and helpful to hear the facts, the stories make all the difference. In the words of Maya Angelou, “people will forget what you did, but they will remember how you made them feel”. We hope you feel the impact of the program by hearing the perspective from a graduate of the first cohort, Mushi Calixte, a Manager of the Community Support Team at The Providence Center, about why it would be advantageous to apply for the program. 

1. You’ll get what you contribute, but most likely you will get even more  

Mushi shared that she pursued the Emerging Leaders program in hopes to become a better leader to guide her staff and improve decision making. Her impressive outcome of attaining a promotion and increasing confidence, as well as maximizing potential and capacity to lead, balance major responsibilities and pursue additional endeavors in life such as an advanced degree, she attributes to the next level mindset and growth focused environment of the program. These were all added and unexpected advantages to participating. 

2. You will learn a lot of important truths about yourself 

Mushi shared that through this experience she learned about how giving she is, how that affects how she is perceived, and how she can best navigate that, additionally she learned that she is stronger than she ever thought she was. The program also reminded her of the important truth that she is enough, and that she can use her unique voice in leadership as a Black woman the way that works for her rather than molding to others’ preferences or expectations. In Mushi’s powerful words: “My seat is there, I just have to sit in it”. 

3. You will meet incredible people and build valuable relationships 

Mushi had a hard time narrowing down her favorite part of the cohort experience due to having such a high value and return on her time in the program, but she ultimately pointed out the essence of the program is the people, and specifically meeting everyone participating in the program who were also focused on a goal of elevating themselves as leaders of color. It was reaffirming to know that she is not alone in trying to better herself. She now has a whole new set of people that she can go to for advice, to share ideas and perspectives, and to connect with on a personal level. 

4. The conversations and experiences you have will elevate your career and life 

Mushi shared that she had previously participated in other leadership programs but what sets the RIBBA Emerging Leaders Development Program apart from others of its kind is the individual and collective impact of the experience provided by RIBBA leadership and staff envisioned and then made the program possible. All of the incredible resources, information, and opportunities shared with the interest of helping participants to grow, learn, and improve made all the difference. The support from each person who was a part of the experience made all the difference as well as the feeling of having real, relevant, and powerful conversations in the duration as opposed to the feeling of being lectured to. Mushi also wonders what could have happened had she had access to this opportunity sooner because of how impactful it has been already.

5. You get a rare opportunity to give to and invest in yourself

Mushi’s advice to future participants: “be completely open minded, put the information into practice, be hands on, and take advantage of everything that is offered, and most importantly be ready to receive” 

The Emerging Leaders Development Program prepares high-performing Asian, Black, Hispanic or Latino, Indigenous and multi-racial professionals for advancement into senior leadership and executive roles while raising their visibility as a force within their organization and community. This 7-month leadership program is designed to provide participants with the additional knowledge, skills and tools that they will need to take their career to the next level. The program includes in-residence training, assessments to aid in advancement, executive and emotional intelligence coaching, mentorship, volunteering, civic engagement, networking opportunities, and more. 

The Emerging Leaders Development Program is free for participants through funding received by the RI Department of Labor and Training and is delivered by RIBBA in partnership with the University of RI Office of Strategic Initiatives.

To learn more and apply, visit the webpage