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Alumni Spotlight: M. Jennifer Sonola

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_title size=”1″ content_align=”left” style_type=”default” sep_color=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” class=”” id=””]Meet M. Jennifer, 21CL Alumna![/fusion_title][fusion_imageframe lightbox=”no” gallery_id=”” lightbox_image=”” style_type=”none” hover_type=”none” bordercolor=”” bordersize=”0px” borderradius=”0″ stylecolor=”” align=”left” link=”” linktarget=”_self” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”down” animation_speed=”0.1″ animation_offset=”” hide_on_mobile=”no” class=”” id=””] [/fusion_imageframe][fusion_text]It’s been almost nine summers since M. Jennifer Sonola attended her first 21CL event – G5 [Summer Youth Leadership Institute] at Emory University, and her pursuit of leadership has not waned since. A graduate of Campbell High School in Smyrna, Class of 2011, M. Jennifer went on to get her Bachelor of Science in Sales & Marketing from Xavier Univeristy of Louisiana in December 2015.

Now a young professional, M. Jennifer shares on how her time in 21CL prepared her for success in college and the workforce. 

How did participating in 21CL change you and/or lead you to where you are now?

Participating in 21CL tremendously helped to shape me into the leader I am today. I attended 2 camps (SYLI in 2009 and TVYMI in 2010) and I was on the Youth Advisory Board during the years of 2009-2011. There are many aspects of 21CL that I enjoyed, but I most enjoyed having an environment in which I was able to collaborate with other young leaders and implement the ideas that resulted from our teamwork.

The professional dress requirements, group projects and presentations that were facilitated during 21CL programs were the most helpful due to how often I utilize these skills in my day to day activities.

Also, having local professionals attend 21CL events in order for the youth to network with and serve as audience and panels during our presentations was extremely helpful to promote comfort and confidence.

What was your most memorable moment in 21CL?

My most memorable 21CL moment was during the Leadership Plugged-In Program [Turner Voices Youth Media Institute]. My team and I constructed a website and delivered an amazing presentation. During the Q & A of our presentation we were able to demonstrate the uniqueness of our website and answer all the questions the panel of judges had, and as a result, we won that activity for the program. For me this was such a memorable moment, because I was chosen by my peers to be the voice of the group, and to know that I represented our group successfully was a personal accomplishment. Also, being taught how to build a website at a summer camp is still uncommon in 2017; this just goes to show you the unique experiences available at 21CL.

How did 21CL prepare you for your next steps? Going into college and taking on leadership roles, heading into a new era of professionalism, etc. What tools or perspectives have helped you along the way?

My experiences at 21CL prepared me for college, as well as my professional career in many ways. The environment of the programs was very similar to my collegiate environment and it allowed me to see the importance of time management and priorities. I was also able to build some lifelong friendships that have also doubled as some great business relationships.

In this new era of professionalism, 21CL truly harnesses all the teachings that any young leader will need to navigate their way successfully.

What’s something you’ve recently learned about leadership?

I have learned that there is no prototype to a leader. If you are passionate about a specific area of focus, then you should take action; and no action is too small in the grand scheme of life!

M. Jennifer is a Corporate Buyer and Supply Chain Planner at “It Works!,” a health & wellness company in Palmetto, Florida and is pursuing her Master’s degree in Supply Chain at the Florida Institute of Technology. 

Thank you for sharing your experience and best wishes as you continue your leadership journey. The #21daysofleadership is coming to a close, but we encourage everyone to take action to connect, transform and inspire and make everyday a leadership day! 

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