Leadership program to help minorities’ voices be heard

A new leadership program plans to pave the way for minority individuals in Central Minnesota by providing leadership opportunities and resources for success.

The Jugaad Leadership Program is an initiative created by Eunice Adjei-Bosompem that plans to set up members with guidance, information, skills and resources through a 7-month program that is currently accepting applications.

Jugaad Program Chair Eunice Adjei-Bosompem Photo by Sarah Rudlang
Jugaad Program Chair Eunice Adjei-Bosompem
Photo by Sarah Rudlang

“As an immigrant coming from Ghana… I didn’t know where resources were,” Adjei-Bosompem explained. “I know most minorities also goes through the same thing and they don’t even know how to start, how to dress for interview, or how to even be at a decision making table.”

That was what inspired her to develop a program crafted to help minorities, whether they are new to the country or lack the confidence and resources to become leaders within the community.

“Jugaad” is Hindi and Punjabi for innovation, which is what Adjei-Bosompem hopes to instill in the program’s members when the class begins on March 26.

The program will help minorities move important community issues forward and to have more minorities at the decision-making table, Adjei-Bosompem said.

Adjei-Bosompem is not alone in the initiative though, as several other minority leaders like Ryan Daniel, the executive director for Metro Bus, are also part of the leadership board.

Daniel helps by providing advisory support to the program through developing the curriculum, setting up the speakers, locations and the logistics behind the scenes.

“We need to have you guys at the board tables, meetings and have input,” Daniel said. “We know the issues that affect St. Cloud, so how can we have your voices heard within the community? [By] having the opportunity to teach people about resume writing, financial literacy, how to talk about community engagement and how to get involved and understand community issues.”

The program is accepting applications through Feb. 12, and community member Dominique Swanigan says she couldn’t be more excited.

Swanigan is the only African American woman driver for St. Cloud’s Metro Bus, and she says working there has given her the chance to see the need for this program in the community.

“I see a lot being a driver,” Swanigan said. “I see a lot of people that would benefit from this. When I’m able to actually see individuals in different situations, I know how much this is needed. Not just with the women, but with the men also.”

Swanigan plans on applying for the program as soon as possible, and hopes others will follow suite.

“If there’s a program that’s going to offer me a skill to be able to go after a different position, even within my company, I’m going after it,” Swanigan said. “You can’t be scared. Stop looking for excuses or a hand-out. You can’t be a better you without trying.”

Organizations and businesses are able to nominate individuals to participate in the program by contacting the Jugaad Leadership Program via email at jugaad2016@gmail.com or by phone at (320) 310-2246.

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