Public Allies members come from diverse educational and professional backgrounds, yet they all have a calling to serve something greater than themselves and see Public Allies as a pathway towards achieving that. Current Public Allies Arizona Members Channtal Polanco and Iyamidé May are great examples of this. Channtal has her high school degree, and was employed at Head Start Phoenix until she continued her education full time; while Iyamide holds a graduate degree in leadership, and had left her position as a program manager in the disaster management sector.
So how is it that these two strong women who were on different career paths came to Public Allies and how is Public Allies contributing to their short-term and long-term career aspirations? We caught up with them for our latest MEET AN ALLY post to find out.
What drew you to Public Allies?
Channtal: What drew me to Public Allies were many things, one being that I’ve had the opportunity to meet Alums who spoke highly of Public Allies Arizona. I have known about Public Allies for several years, but was in a way hesitant to make the commitment knowing I had a child to support and all the unknowns that may have come with Public Allies. After a while working in my community and serving, I yearned to continue to grow and be challenged. I had high hopes that joining Public Allies would renew my thinking, challenge me, and grow me in ways I haven’t been in the past. I was ready for leadership development and to be equipped to make lasting change within my community.
Iyamidé: What drew me to Public Allies was that it was an answer to a prayer; my life had been centralized around pursuing more, doing more, being more–all related to being “successful”, well at least my perceived ideas of what success looked like by societal standards. I reached a pinnacle point in my life, where I felt empty in the midst of being busy and full of tasks. I was yearning for something that could cause me to grow into more of a servant leader, to be selfless, to pour out the love that overflows from within my heart, and to really be stretched to expand in humility. The leadership development and building capacity focus within the Public Allies description pulled me right in.
How is Public Allies advancing your own leadership development?
Channtal: Public Allies has been advancing my leadership development by giving me the opportunities for trainings in which I’ve been able to create healthy boundaries, harness my voice as a community member, and serve in a greater capacity. I have been able to get a greater sense of myself and how I can be an asset to building and serving communities.
“Public Allies is advancing my leadership by giving me a greater understanding of self; what I like, what I don’t like, what I can handle, what I can’t handle, what I’m good at, and what I know I need to work on.” – Iyamidé May, Public Allies Arizona
Iyamidé: Public Allies is advancing my leadership by giving me a greater understanding of self; what I like, what I don’t like, what I can handle, what I can’t handle, what I’m good at, and what I know I need to work on. Through the various Public Allies experiences, I’ve been able to: become aware of the benefits of productive time management, establishing boundaries, negotiating, and learning how and when to assert myself. I’ve been able to paint a picture of what kind of work environment will allow me to be the most effective, and so much more.
How is Public Allies contributing to your short & long-term career aspirations?
Channtal: Public Allies is equipping me to become the person I am called to be. As I am constantly engaging with youth in my placement I am learning skills that will benefit my future aspirations by being challenged and pushed outside my comfort zone. I am an introverted person and self-describe as a wallflower, but I am constantly growing and learning how to make a difference by serving in my community through my placement at Arizona State University’s Opportunities for Youth Initiative. Public Allies is an experience that has given me the opportunity to grow my confidence in self, and be an empathetic leader.
“Public Allies is equipping me to become the person I am called to be.” – Channtal Polanco, Public Allies Arizona
Iyamidé: The Public Allies experience has been cultivating me into a more resilient individual (human-being), for my future as a global innovative servant-leader through the opportunities of being exposed to Arizona’s changemakers, along with access to a myriad of resources and support that I otherwise would not have had the privilege or access to attain on my own.
What are you planning to do immediately after Public Allies and what are your long-term career aspiration(s)?
Channtal: Immediately after Public Allies as a first generation Chicana college student I am hoping to continue my education at Phoenix College and graduate with an Associate’s of Arts by Spring 2020. Shortly after I obtain my Associates in Arts I will attend Arizona State University. I am also currently working on creating a non-profit program that will be provided to underserved communities around health and wellness. My long-term career aspirations aren’t defined just yet but I know that my heart is to serve and provide support to uplift communities.
Iyamidé: Immediately after Public Allies, I’m planning to pilot my program that is centered around lifestyle and emotional development, with a focus on helping individuals establish their identity outside of their environment. My long-term career aspirations are to not only have my program(s) in schools, municipalities, etc., but to also become a world-renowned speaker on trauma, mental health, and building/cultivating relationships and connections.