Yo Ame La Vida

Goals Reflection – LEAD 150 Final Assignment

            This summer I began my internship with three main goals: self-awareness in relationships, effective and authentic leadership among my peers, and I hoped to better understand the connection between my NGO and Ecuador’s culture.

Ama la Vida. This is the slogan of a new campaign that went out to the public when the current president of Ecuador went into power. It literally means “Love the life,” and it’s used as marketing as part of the tourism ministry of Ecuador. I feel like I did accomplish my third goal, and this slogan comes to mind in that connection. In a sense, I feel as if the slogan tells one to take hold of their own lives and take initiative to be happy. Although that doesn’t directly relate to the NGOs I worked with, I believe that the taking initiative and being aware of one’s agency is up to one’s own will to take the first step and recognize the situation. This is what the NGOs stand for, and that’s what I learned from this internship. I spent most of the summer taking my own initiative to get through a lot of the unexpected situations I was in while abroad.

As I’ve mentioned before, halfway through my internship I decided to switch NGOs and homestays in order to truly feel as if I was making a difference, and this took a lot of will in me to make the right decision, go against some advice from the local coordinator, and make the effort to change my plans. In doing this, I discovered the professional value of taking initiative and speaking out to your higher-ups. Backing me up through this was my intrinsic need to feel as if I was being useful to the Ecuadorian community, which I accomplished once I left CEMOPLAF to go work for EQUIDAD.

Aside from this, I developed some authentic leadership skills and built personal relationships with my peers and coworkers. I did both of these through the help from the organization itself and from my TA – Erika Danckers. Both gave me feedback on my performance and struggles during my internship that helped me become a better leader by working with the team and as a team. The supportive relationships I built were as a result of the mostly group work involved in EQUIDAD. We worked as a team, and the directors and supervisors asked for my opinions, ideas, and help on a lot of the work and projects. In addition, we would have team lunches, events, and meetings which helped in allowing us to become closer at a personal level, and it allowed me to expand my network beyond my NGO team. This allowed for me to truly explore what authentic means to me.

Authenticity varies from individual to individual, and to me it means that one can be true to themselves and their team while leading. This can be done by including the whole team on decisions, work, and other important tasks. Most importantly, all should be aware of the expectations, goals, and workload. In order to build my motivation, capacity, and opportunities to lead, I must be aware of this authenticity and put myself out there with these intentions of an authentic leadership.

Some of my next steps to continue my leadership developments should be to reach out to different, and otherwise unusual, opportunities to grasp a better and wider sense of leadership and authenticity. In addition, asking for feedback, support, and advice  on things aside from work will help me develop as a better and more authentic leader.


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