Lise Tonle Mafodong Reflection

Dear UMBrella Group,

It was an honor to be chosen as one of the scholarship recipients to attend the NCCSWL conference. This conference was a phenomenal experience filled with many highlights and amazing moments. My overall experience of the conference was that it was worth every minute of my time. At the end of the third day I was sad to leave. The NCCSWL has transformed my view of what it means to be a leader, specifically a woman leader. This conference gave me the opportunity to be around many like-minded women who are eager to make, or have made tremendous change in their community and in the world. The conference also provided a platform where important issues such as safe campuses, sexism, racism, and feminism could be discussed openly.  

The NCCSWL provided me with the tools and opportunities to become a better leader. I learned that there are different kind of leaders. I learned that I am a mix between a holistic activist and a change-maker. I learned that all women leaders need to build a network and work together and support each other's endeavors. I got the opportunity to network with women who came from all across in the United States. I learned we all have a story to share and we can all learn from each other's experiences. I learned the importance of speaking up and letting my voice be heard because I will not only be speaking for myself but for others as well.

The conference also gave me the opportunity to meet and hear inspirational women leaders such as Hilary Corna, Franchesca Ramsey, Kimberly Bryant, Nancy Grace Roman, Kelly Tsai, and Sarah McBride. These inspirational women have all let their voices and stories be heard, whether through poetry, social media, or the STEM platform. They have all pushed the umbrella for future women leaders to follow in their steps. Hearing these women's stories empowered me to let my voice be heard and use my skills to empower others.

If I can go next year, I will definitely go without hesitation. I started promoting NCCSWL to other women leaders on my Facebook page and encouraged them to go to this conference next year. I think it will be a great idea for the University of Maryland, Baltimore and the UMBrella Group to sponsor students to attend this event every year. I enjoyed every minute of it. I even got to the opportunity to promote the University of Maryland, Baltimore during the Graduate School Fair.

Thank you again, UMB and the UMBrella Group, for giving me this opportunity. It has forever left a stamp in my life.

Lise Tonle Mafodong, LSGW, MSW