Two new DELP scholars share their thoughts on community, career, and making a contribution.
Close to 80 Diversity Executive Leadership Program scholars gathered in June to celebrate their successes and welcome 12 fresh faces into the fold, as the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau, the exclusive sponsor of the DELP program, played host.
Associations Now asked two members of DELP's class of 2013–2015 about their experience with the leadership program that supports individuals from underrepresented identity groups within the association community.
Associations Now: What are you most excited about as you join DELP?
Irving Washington III: I'm excited about connecting with my class and the 135 members of the DELP alumni community. Detroit CVB President Larry Alexander says it best: "This is more than just a program; it's a movement." DELP is truly about making an impact for diversity and inclusion in the association community, and I'm experiencing that firsthand.
Tracy King: All of the connections that DELP offers: to industry leaders, to experts and ideas that will challenge me, to CAE resources, to make a meaningful contribution as an ASAE volunteer, but most of all, the connection to a vibrant community of peers.
What attracted you to the program?
Washington: As a first-time attendee at the ASAE Annual Meeting last year, some of the most impactful and meaningful conversations I had were with DELP alumni. I returned from Annual and checked out the goals of the program, which include support, training, mentoring, service, and access. I knew this program would provide the support I needed in my new senior management role.
King: DELP is a prestigious program with a critical mission: promoting diversity in an industry that represents diverse constituencies. I admired the mission, and I knew the experience would make me a more valuable asset to my organization and that it would help me to take my career to the next level.
What advice would you give to someone considering applying to the 2014–2016 class?
Washington: This is not one of those programs where you can create a cookie-cutter template for your application and use general terms as to your reasons for applying. Spend some time really looking at the goals of the program and aligning that with where you are and where you want to be in your career.
King: Use the application as an opportunity to tell your story—where you are in your leadership journey and where you aspire to be. Be prepared to be fully committed. ASAE and the Detroit CVB make a tremendous investment providing opportunity—it's up to the scholars to take it from there.
For more information on the DELP program or to apply, visit www.asaecenter.org/delp.
[This article was originally published in the Associations Now print edition, titled "The DELP Connection"]