Progressive Leadership in Action – The New Leaders Council, Sacramento

nlcBy Lisa Murphy

I’ve been at my job for a little over five years now, and although I love my career and am grateful for the work that I do, in the last year I felt that I had reached a stage where my skill development had started to plateau a bit. I sensed I needed something outside my Monday through Friday, 9-6 routine to mix things up a bit, and foster continued professional growth.

So when I came across the application for the New Leaders Council, Sacramento Chapter, I thought I’d give it a shot.

I was unfamiliar with what the NLC program had to offer a young professional such as myself, but figured at the very least it would provide me an opportunity to engage with other young professionals from a variety of different industries. What I didn’t realize at the time, was NLC would be a turning point in both my personal and professional life.

First a little background: The Sacramento Chapter of the New Leaders Council was founded in 2009.  The New Leaders Council has chapters in over 20 cities all over the Nation and is widely touted as a pillar in the effort to establish a progressive majority. The mission of NLC is to train and support the next generation of political entrepreneurs. NLC recruits young professionals who are emerging leaders in their respective industries, and brings them together for the shared goal of promoting progressive values and causes.

The fellows meet one weekend a month over a five month period and participate in a series of workshops that not only help us develop our professional selves, but encourage individual growth as well. We have the opportunity to learn from respected local business leaders and successful entrepreneurs such as Christina Harbridge of Allegory Inc., freelance journalist and owner of Writestuff Ink, Greg Lucas and well-regarded political strategist, Jason Kinney, to name a few.

As part of our five month program, we are tasked with collectively planning and executing a fundraiser to benefit NLC Sacramento and NLC National, and create a reserve for next year’s fellows class. It’s an opportunity not only to pay it forward but to learn the very intricate details that go into planning a fundraising event of this nature.

While the process of planning this event has been challenging at times, working very closely with the other fellows and learning new skills that I will be able to apply to my career moving forward has been very rewarding. I have unexpectedly found myself in a leadership position as chair of the PR and Outreach committee and am discovering abilities I didn’t even know that I had; in particular the ability to find creative solutions to unforeseen issues that arise.

I find it satisfying to work with a group of my peers who trust my decisions, give me constructive feedback, and inspire new ways of thinking. I’m grateful for the caliber of people that NLC attracts, and I find I learn something different from each fellow that I interact with, since we all come from such diverse backgrounds.

We still have a few months to go, but already I have been empowered by my experience with the New Leaders Council. I know that many of the relationships that I build here will continue to progress and benefit me throughout my career. And the new skills that I’ve acquired and existing aptitudes that have been awakened within in me are invaluable gifts that will keep on giving long after I’ve completed the program.

I am so grateful to NLC for the integral role it has already played in taking my personal and professional achievements to the next level. I will leave NLC a more confident, capable and inspired young leader, ready to give back what has been so generously given to me and be a meaningful part of the progressive movement. I encourage anyone who wants to take their skill set to the next level, and give back to their community, to consider applying to next year’s class. I can guarantee it is a decision you will not regret it.

For more information on the New Leaders Council, Sacramento Chapter and to learn about the rest of the 2013 fellows class, please visit:


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