The African American Leadership Forum’s Task Force includes 12 Black leaders from across Minnesota; each with a unique skillset and community engagement experience. These leaders are chosen via an application and interview process, and focus on Education, Health & Wellness, Economic Development, and Family & Culture in the Black community to bring about change.

We recently reached out to one of our Task Force members to get their insights on what’s happening in the program.

AALF: What topics are you currently discussing in the program and how do they relate to your personal community engagement experiences in the Black community?

Jones: Currently, I’m focused on Health & Wellness in the program. This relates to me as a psychotherapist in the community and my aim to improve the mental and emotional health of members of our community. Unfortunately, there has been so much trauma and toxic stress that we experience that it has almost become normalized; which it is not normal. We have more to offer this world than our ability to be resilient in the face of adversity.

Of AALF’s four leadership personas (Ambassador, Builder, Influencer, and Thought Leader), which do you most identify with and why?

I see myself as a Thought Leader. I offer informed opinions in my field of expertise. I’m a trusted source who inspires people with innovative ideas, I turn ideas into reality, and I provide strategies for achieve success.

African American Leadership Forum (Community Harvest Event)

What have you learned about your leadership style since beginning the program?

The main thing I’ve learned about my leadership style is that collective minds make my leadership better. I see this program almost like a mastermind group. I am able to learn more, improve my understanding, and build a better network. Leadership is about being agile and impressionable.

Why is AALF’s Collective Impact work relevant? Is there anything about the program or its structure that you find innovative or a new approach to solving challenges in the African American community?

AALF’s Collective Impact work is relevant because the work needs to be organized and done by someone in our community, why not AALF. This process involved a Human-Centered Design process that includes a structured method for problem-solving. I believe that this process allowed for actual work to get completed on complicated problems.

Passionate about improving the lives of African Americans? Apply for the next iteration of the program. Contact the program’s director, LaCora Bradford Kesti, with questions at lacora@aalftc.org. You can also stay informed about the Forum’s programs and events by becoming a network contributor. It’s FREE and easy to join!