Celebrating my personal, professional ambitions during International Women’s Day

Shanette and mentors 2015 - International Women's Day
Shanette and two of her mentors/women who inspired her at the 2015 NACDA Convention
Left: Chevonne Mansfield
Right: Temeka Samuels

The month of March is known as Women’s History Month and March 8 is International Women’s Day. A day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. There are many local and national events held throughout the month to celebrate and empower women.

This awareness month and celebratory day prompt me to reflect on my own life and career as a woman as well as the many women who have inspired me. These women include my mother, famous women, and women who I look to as mentors.

My mentors have always taught me, “good leaders must lead by example. By walking your talk, you become a person others will want to follow.”

As I progress in my career, I continuously look inward and self-reflect to see how I can improve both personally and professionally. Each year I set professional goals with deadlines and milestones. I identify and attend professional development workshops that correlate with my goals to ensure success. This fiscal year my goal was to enhance my management skills.

Two years ago, while attending the Crain’s Women of Note event, I picked up a brochure on the YWCA of Cleveland’s professional development programs. After reviewing the program offerings, I felt the YWCA Women’s Leadership Institute Boot Camp aligned with my professional goals – specifically to enhance my management skills.

I decided to pull the trigger and sign up for the program. Since October 2016, I have been attending YWCA Women’s Leadership Institute Boot Camp bi-monthly sessions focusing on leadership and management. The YWCA Women’s Leadership Institute offers a comprehensive leadership development training curriculum and corresponding programs that are designed to build, train, recognize, and empower transformative leaders at all phases of their careers.

The leadership development program is designed to bring together women from varying backgrounds and stages in their careers, and organizations to deepen their self-awareness and self-management in an effort to become more effective and productive leaders. Through this leadership development program, I have gained 29 “sisters.”

As I progress and advance in life and my career, I try to lead by example and give back to others. I strive to offer the support and serve as a mentor for other women who are also career driven. As Oprah Winfrey says, “the biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.”

About Shanette D. Buford-Brazzell

Shanette Buford-Brazzell is the special events manager at United Way of Greater Cleveland. Prior to this role, Shanette was events coordinator at The Jerome Schottenstein Center/The Ohio State University from 2013 – 2015. She currently serves on the Board of Directors/Fund Development Council for Junior League of Cleveland, is a member of Cleveland State University Alumni Association’s Young Alumni Council, as well as a mentor with College Now of Greater Cleveland. Shanette received her undergraduate degree from Cleveland State University in 2013 and a certificate in sports philanthropy from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.




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