2015 Emerge Blog & Video Series Kickoff

2015 Emerge Blog & Video Series Kickoff



Guest post from Emerge Class of 2015 graduate Julie Remde.
Julie is a Producer at Palate Films.

As a proud member of the Emerge Class of 2015, I’m excited to be sharing the announcement of this blog series with you. When we began our Leadership Austin journey together in September, each of us brought our own passion for making Austin an even better place to live. When we graduated in December, we not only left with a deepened sense of personal purpose and drive, but also a collective commitment to our community. Over the next 12-weeks, our class is bringing you the opportunity to reflect on that experience with us.

Early into the program, our class was divided into 12 community engagement teams. The people on each team shared a similar passion for a specific issue affecting Austin – such as transportation, education, affordability and equity.  Our groups engaged with community leaders to dive into these 12 different community issues.  Based on conversations with those leaders and individual research, each team created a three-minute video and led class discussions to dig into our specific topic.  The videos captured what each group felt were the most important things to know about the issue at hand. We had the opportunity to reflect on those as a class and leave with a call to action.

Experiencing the discussions and looking back on the extensive reflections we all shared during the sessions, I got to witness how 20 minutes increased understanding about each issue, opened each of us up to a new perspective even if we were familiar with the topic, and gave people ideas of how to engage to exact change.  One of the most exciting parts of this project was seeing how many distinct voices are represented by our class of 55 Austin leaders.  We each bring a unique voice, history, set of skills, and network to bear on those biggest challenges in Austin.  

Recurring themes also appeared, which you will see:

  • These issues are very often interlinked.  For instance, the issue of affordability in Austin affects our artists and whether they can afford to live in this creative capital and the prospects for foster care youth aging out of the system to create a stable home;
  • Even if an issue is highly complex, you can engage at an individual level.  While you may not be able to change the entire education system (although, please do try!), you can act as a long-term mentor to struggling kids and improve their ability to successfully make it through the current system
  • Being part of the conversation is the first step for all of us if we want to make our community better.  Sitting on the sidelines isn’t an option.  We all have a role to play to make Austin what we want it to be.   As Judge Eric Shepperd energized us in our closing Emerge session “Your VISION.  Your VOICE.  Your VICTORY.”  That’s what it takes from the Best Class Ever and from all of you to continue making Austin awesome (and weird).

Starting next Tuesday, February 23rd, we’ll release one video per week accompanied by a blog response from one of my Best Class Ever classmates. Please join us over the next three months as we share these with you.  Join the conversation!

NOTE: The opinions of Leadership Austin alumni, faculty members, and guest bloggers are their own, and do not represent an official position of the organization.

emerge_h60pxInterested in the 2016 Emerge Class?

Recruiting starts in May 2016