Executive Director Fellowship Reflection: Maria Paula Hernandez
I feel so lucky and grateful to work with an organization like Blue Future. I feel extremely appreciative to work in a team of young leaders that are dedicated to making the progressive movement more inclusive and transformative. Blue Future works hard for young people to feel they have a space where they are given the tools, skills and overall resources to be as productive and effective as possible within our communties. I am a first generation student, first generation Venezuelan American women, I am brought to this work because politics and organizing has always been personal to me. My passion for political organizing began my senior year of high school and continued during my freshman year of college. Being born and raised in the Coral Springs/Parkland area of Florida, I was directly impacted by the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018 and I understand that my community will never be the same. Gun control, immigration reform and multiple other major issues within the progressive agenda are personal to me, my family and my community. My experiences and my story is how I channel my voice into this space. I choose this fellowship because this opportunity is not something to be taken lightly or for granted, this opportunity has helped me further connect with young organizers, learn and grow more than I could have ever imagined as a leader. I genuinely feel that I have acquired the “dream job” as the Executive Director of Organizing at Blue Future. The greatest skills I have learned are expanding my leadership style and ability. Leading the Generation Run Fall program alongside multiple other programs we completed partnering with other organizations and being a part of the leadership training every Thursday has been transformative for my present and future self. I overcame multiple obstacles throughout this experience, I have gained more confidence, I trust myself, my gut and my decision as a leader more and I have gained further comprehension to how exactly a youth led organization is run. Gaining the knowledge of fundraising, creating cohorts and leading further organizing training programs. I enjoy working, meeting and connecting with young leaders in this space. I really appreciate and believe it’s so special to connect with others that either have similar stories or completely different ones. Sharing stories and connecting in whatever way with young people is extremely inspiring and empowering. That is exactly what organizing means to me. I see myself always being involved within this youth movement because it’s a personal calling to me. Being a productive and proactive leader in it is what I want to continue to do in the progressive realm. I see the future of the movement taking over the world and making it a safe place for all. I see a lot of our agenda flourishing and being established through policy and more Gen-Z leaders being elected! The future for me holds positive, special and amazing accomplishments, memories and stories. The future for me is to hold a Master Degree and PhD. I am extremely excited to have gained the experience and knowledge in this once in a lifetime opportunity I was given at Blue Future right out of college at such a young age to be this leader, and to have gained transformational change within myself. I will forever be a part of Blue Future in some way, I will continue to be a productive and proactive leader in this movement and most of all I will continue to represent my Latin community as a first generation women empowering and inspiring others. The advice I give to future leaders of blue Future is to always 1.) listen to it all; stories, lessons, advice. 2.) To engage and get to know everyone you come across- connecting with your team and fellow leaders is probably the most special gift that comes out of this all. 3.) Know that you deserve to be there as much as everyone else, take that space up proudly!
Launched in the summer of 2022, Blue Future’s Executive Director Fellowship was a six-month program for two leaders to serve as Executive Directors while participating in expert-led, community-focused leadership training and coaching on a variety of topics. Some topics we focused on were strategic planning, strength assessments, conflict resolution, civil resistance, second-order thinking, critical race theory, and organizational behavior. To continue fulfilling our core mission of developing progressive political leadership, we intend to continue this fellowship in the future!