It is December, my last month as an Atlas Corps Fellow. It is also the last month of the year and like everyone else I find myself thinking about the year and how best to describe it. I can say that the year has been both amazing and challenging. This is the first time I have been away from home for a full year but as I look back I can confidently declare that it was all for a worthy cause. I made new friends, learnt a lot of things about nonprofit work and leadership, experienced a new culture that has made me appreciate humanity even more, adopted new habits that I am proud of and discovered new things about myself and my abilities. Bill Bradley once said “Leadership is not something that is done to people. Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better.” The last part of his quote aptly describes the mission of Atlas Corps – to create situations that unlock people’s potential. Like other fellows I found myself in situations that made me discover a lot about myself and my potential. And I ask myself, ‘Does the experience end here?’ As I prepare to leave the United States, I go through the list of ideas I am keen to introduce to Zimbabwe; I reflect on lessons learned; I take a look at my expanded network of professionals, peers and leaders that I will maintain contact with and I think about how to be an active member of the Atlas Corps Alumni network. All this in sum means that Atlas Corps is not just a 12 month episode in the United States that is concluded by a trip back home. The experience does not end here. Atlas Corps is a turning point in life and leadership. Atlas Corps is about creating networks and unlocking potential. Atlas Corps is about growing and becoming better. Atlas Corps is creating and inspiring the next generation of leaders. And these have been and will be everyday experiences, whether one is in the United States or in another part of the world. And so I wonder, should we be saying goodbye?
By Munya Malunga December 26, 2014