Two Scholarship Awardees Tell Stories of Leadership & Language Growth!

Giving Voice Scholarship Awardee’s Leadership Collaborative Experience Fosters Growth

Sister Jenny Zimmerman, a Sister of Notre Dame from Toledo, Ohio, received a Giving Voice Leadership Initiatives Scholarship this summer, which she used to enroll in the Leadership Collaborative Development Program, an organization run by Sister Vicki Wuolle, a former Giving Voice participant. Sister Jenny is just a few months into the program, and spoke with Giving Voice about her experience so far.

Sister Jenny

GV: Can you tell me a little bit about the Leadership Collaborative Development Program?

Sister Jenny: The program itself is just getting started–it is an 18-month program and we just had our first face-to-face session. Going forward we will be meeting once a month with our assigned small group, mostly on Zoom or Skype calls. Once a month I will also meet with a mentor, who is on our general leadership team in Rome. And then two more times we go for these in-person sessions. It will conclude November 2019.

A lot of what we do is evaluate ourselves on probably 20 or 30 topics, in ways that you can grow as a person and as a leader. It’s not necessarily leadership for religious communities, but it’s about how to be a leader in whatever it is that we’re doing. It is a fascinating process and I’m anxious to keep delving into it.

GV: What was the in-person meeting like?

Sister Jenny: They gave us a print-out of our individual topics [of aspects of our selves], and they had this huge floormat. They had us standing inside the circle, in which we had reactive tendencies and then creative tendencies. It showed what the opposite of our reactive sides is, and how to grow in the creativity side. We will have 4 sessions with this “life coach” where she’s working with us one-on-one about our own individual things we’d like to grow in. So for the next month she sent links to online videos, and we get another set of new information and we meet once a month on zoom with our group, and once a month with our mentor. 

GV: How has the scholarship opportunity helped you grow?  

Sister Jenny: I’m excited to see where this leadership program takes me.  I am always interested in self-knowledge and growth as a person. Hearing from the sisters who have done it in the past, I know that’s what this leads to, so I am excited about that.

For more information on the Leadership Collaborative Development Program, visit their website here.

Sister Mandy, in the center, with her community.

“The scholarship really lit a fire in me”

Sister Mandy Carrier, a temporary professed sister with the Sisters of Mercy, was one of Giving Voice’s first Leadership Initiatives Scholarship awardees this summer, which brought her long-sought goal of learning Spanish into a reality.

“I’ve been meaning to learn Spanish for a long time, to connect with my community in Latin America. We have meetings periodically with our entire community and I get there and half of the people speak Spanish. I keep meaning to work on it and getting the grant really lit a fire for me because I’m definitely the kind of person who needs some motivation,” Mandy said.

Mandy’s Giving Voice scholarship went to Verbling, a language-learning website which hosts live teachers who instruct one-on-one sessions. A chef by day in a Connecticut soup kitchen, Mandy, who attended culinary school before joining the Sisters of Mercy, is able to fit Spanish classes into her busy life with the flexibility of the scholarship.

“I feel a lot more confident, the teacher I am working with has been doing her whole class in Spanish so it’s really forcing me to speak. It’s a lot of work and I feel like I’m getting someplace,” Mandy said.

Mandy takes classes once per week online, then has homework outside of class. She’s using her new language skills already to help build bridges with Spanish-speaking sisters. 

“I have one sister who is sort of a penpal who I write with in Spanish and I want to connect more with sisters from South America. I’m hoping to get to know them better,” Mandy said. “I have sisters in Beliz, Honduras, Chile, Peru and Argentina. I would love to go to Latin America to do a language immersion, that would be a really neat experience I’d love to have!”   

Click here to learn more & apply for a Giving Voice Leadership Initiatives Scholarship!