On Friday, September 23, the new cohort of the Jugaad Leadership Program celebrated their graduation. The Jugaad Leadership Program (JLP) was established in 2015. “Jugaad” is a Hindi and Punjabi word that means “innovation.” JLP is a leadership program that is supported by community partners and sponsors; the program ‘Train, Place & Connects’ Emerging Leaders of Color from underrepresented and marginalized communities to be professionals, leaders and advocates in their respective communities. Participants in this seven-session professional development training come from several countries across the globe and the United States.
The Program is designed to provide underrepresented community members with the knowledge, skills, and resources to become effective leaders in Central Minnesota. The program effectively trains and mentors the next generation of Emerging Leaders of Color by placing them on boards & commissions, build social capital, develop their networking skills, connect them to critical community resources, and obtain internships and employment. JLP’s primary goal is to support and empower the BIPOC community in Central Minnesota to assume individual and collective responsibility for positive change. We believe that these efforts will help create models of leadership that recognize and leverage the strength that comes from diversity. Executive Director of the Jugaad Leadership Program, Eunice Adjei, shared more with us.
“The program attracts and empowers talented BIPOC students, residents, newcomers, and professionals who want to build their capacity as leaders and advocates in Central Minnesota and beyond. Our programming and outreach activities aim to grow and develop the potential of our ethnically and racially diverse community members through learning opportunities that help them define where they want to engage, advocate and then equip them with the means to act on those aspirations”.
“Our mentoring program builds multicultural professionals and social networks that will, over time, create a deeper understanding and appreciation for the benefits of a connected diverse community. JLP graduates have the opportunity to apply for a placement with mentors in the community who work or volunteer in fields that JLP graduates are interested in pursuing or learning more about. Mentors have reported that these relationships are mutually beneficial and contribute to their intercultural competency growth. The program is focused on reducing the disparity in representation of BIPOC communities in leadership positions in Central Minnesota through a series of training, pairing with mentors, and providing support for seeking roles on boards and commissions as well as job placement. Beyond specific and targeted opportunities for professional development, the program builds multicultural social networks through a mentorship program, offering multicultural social opportunities. JLP aims to support businesses and organization seeking to advance their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts through a strategic, intentional and innovative framework”.
“The City of St. Cloud is an indispensable partner in our work. The enthusiasm and personal investment from St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis have built a warm and authentic connection between participants. In addition, many of our sponsors have also become a resource to JLP as mentors. Mentors are made up of CEO, Presidents, and Directors from renowned organizations, businesses, colleges, and schools, such as the Initiative Foundation, Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation, Central Minnesota Community Foundation, St. Cloud Technical and Community College, Microbiologics, Minnesota Department of Housing, Stearns County Court Administration, the City of St. Cloud, Centracare Health, among others”.
“We are proud of Jugaad’s growing organizational capacity as well as the increasing presence of JLP graduates within the leadership of Central MN. The program was featured in the Kare 11 news “Community KARES program” and has received many accolades over the years on its impeccable achievements and innovation . It has been rewarding to see the benefits and impact of the program through the many accomplishments of our Alumni, including serving as board chairs on renowned non-profit organization or City of St. Cloud boards and commissions, being entrepreneurs, advocates, Americorps VISTA participants, taking up leadership and executive roles within the workforce to retaining dynamic and exceptional talents in Central Minnesota”.
“We have been able to forge a strong relationship with some local businesses in Central Minnesota and continue to extend warm invitations to other businesses who share our vision and mission to join us. The success of the program would not be possible without the support and participation of partners and sponsors including the City of St. Cloud, St. Cloud Technical and Community College, Metro Bus, Microbiologics, the University of Minnesota Extension, Central Minnesota Community Foundation, the Initiative Foundation, Morgan Family Foundation, United Way, Centracare Health, McKnight Foundation, and Otto Bremer Trust”.
“The broader community is invited to connect with JLP leadership and our Emerging Leaders of Color by signing up to be volunteers, a mentor, becoming a donor, and a sponsor”.