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Leading with Intention

Building Something Tangible

I like to work with my hands – to make something tangible, a concrete example of my time and energy.  There’s something about the intention, focus and vulnerability of art that draws me in.  Something about the product: how it moves and shapes itself,  how when you think you’re in control you find out you’re not, and that’s ok.  So when I got the opportunity to volunteer with The Rescue Mission’s summer youth program at Hilltop Artists I jumped on board real fast.

Taking Action

The youth I’m working with are homeless, something absolutely foreign to me.  Through this time with them I’ve been shown a whole new world: pain, anger, confusion but also a joy and compassion so abundant to remind me the beauty this world is capable of. In light of my year with Urban Leaders in Training, I find myself wondering how to lead and model to these youth.  How can I guide them to be the best versions of themselves? How can I connect these different leadership lenses I’ve learned about to understand this better?

I read a quote once that has stuck with me and commanded my life: You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.

So much in our lives is dependent on words – meetings, emails, memos, reports.  In my life, through my experiences (especially here at NLF), I have learned that our actions are much more important.  People can talk in circles and make everything sound like it will be perfect; but there’s not always action to go along with it – there’s not always follow through.

So this is what I will do: I will pay attention, be patient, deliberate and honest.

It’s hard work but it’s meaningful, a theme I’ve discovered throughout my year with ULT.  To guide others takes grace,  humility and follow through.  I like this form of leadership – small and attainable.  Working right alongside the people you “serve” to accomplish beautiful things.  And we sure made some beautiful things at Hilltop Artists.



Amanda Fortinberry
Urban Leaders in Training




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