| Adrian Jay Neil-Hobson
ONE OF THE THINGS I like about being a writer is the opportunity to expose the community to new things. Several months ago a friend of mine told me about Pride Leadership, a program by the United Way of Central Ohio that prepares members of the LGBTQ community to take an active role in the larger community. Specifically, Pride Leadership gives individuals the tools and knowledge that will enable them to be assets to various organizations by being an active board member. Pride Leadership is a five month leadership program that consists of a retreat, monthly workshops and activities. Each session is designed to build skills around specific areas one may encounter while serving on a board such as fiscal management, diversity and inclusion and board governance.
I will also be honest and say that I was nervous about how I would interact with my fellow participants. All of them were in some way, shape or form making Columbus a better place. I realized that I would be working with some of the most innovative, passionate and intelligent individuals that this city has to offer. It was a feeling that I haven’t felt since my freshman year of college, but I discovered that I had nothing to worry about since I, too, was selected for the program. The chemistry among the Cycle 7 members was amazing and inspiring.
From day one, we meshed very well, and we recognized what each individual could contribute to the group. During the retreat we did numerous team building activities, but the “Artifacts” activity was especially memorable to me. Each person had to bring one item from home that they could not part with. The scenario was, “If your house caught fire and you could only grab one item, what would it be?” As you can imagine, this process was very personally revealing for the members. By the time we completed the circle, nearly everyone was in tears. We realized that no matter what our careers were and where we came from, we were human, and we were all there for a common goal—to make Columbus, and therefore the world, a better place where everyone could live in peace and be treated equally.
Each Pride Leadership cycle is given the task of planning and implementing a group project that will impact the community in a positive way. The projects can have various components to them such as fundraising, holding events, assessing needs and marketing. The goal of each project is to be build awareness around a particular issue or organization. This can be achieved by working with an organization, or in our case, creating a new one.
In Columbus, there aren’t any organizations that cater specifically to meeting the needs of LGBTQ families, and there isn’t a central location for those interested in creating a family to go to for resources and support. Our cycle saw this as a huge need and opportunity, so we went beyond our expected goal to create The Family Pride Network of Central Ohio. Learn more about the kickoff of this new organization on the next page. I am proud to be part of Pride Leadership and proud of what the members of Cycle 7 have accomplished together.
Learn more or get involved with Pride Leadership: