The SUSI experience: 5 years later

OMG! I just realized it's been 5 years that I have been to the US for the SUSI program. You should already be questioning why am I even talking about this while many of you don't even understand what SUSI stands for. The Study of the United States Institute (SUSI) funds programs in leadership in different universities throughout the US, which benefit students in their first years of college.
The program I participated in was about Women Leadership. Yes you hear me!

It was the first year when Kansas University hosted this program. We were twenty talented intelligent and inspiring women students, equally selected from both Morocco and Egypt. I still remember the 'bananas' we were with during this 6 weeks intensive leadership journey. 

Now that I think about 'the process' leadership is supposed to be, I reflect on the concepts we were taught, the example of successful women we met, the ideas we debated and the challenges we engaged in, I am so proud to find myself still inspired, motivated and positive.
Group picture with our certificates, Washington DC
SUSI was a life-changing experience, it was my first opportunity ever to get to better know myself, to acknowledge the creative spirit inside the tech woman I am, to feel empowered and capable of change.
Sometimes I want to scream to people, "no you don't have to be a manager to be a leader", or to reply "no one is a leader, people engage in the process of leadership" and this takes form in one's daily life, at work, with one's family and in facing life's difficult situations. 

Traveling alone, meeting people from a different culture and religion, applying design and believing in its power in elicitating and translating ideas into visual representations, thinking out the box and even trying the balcony over the dance floor to better analyse, think and take the decisions...such an experience!

I do not intend to detail the five weeks, although I would have loved to start the blog at that time and to be a reporter of this unique opportunity, to share practices, ideas, books to be read, research to be carried on (Mary, do you hear me? someone should do that, any writers/bloggers among the group for this year's KWLI ?). 

As I am celebrating my birthday this month I am planning to go through the Mission Vision Values exercice once again. Who is interested in knowing what these are in a fun and new way? different from the personality tests and the 'get to know yourself' quizzes ?

Birthday cake, 5 years ago! Oh how I miss that
One last message: most of us are not students anymore, we have gone through beautiful places (just as you expected) and I can see, thanks to facebook, how successful, brilliant and true to our values we stayed and how much we accomplished each in her own way. I love you and I miss you all! Until we meet again...

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