This past week, I had the incredible opportunity to take part in a life changing summit on leadership, hosted by Masa. I came home with a loss of words (literally and figuratively, as I had lost my voice) at how this week has changed my life. This summit brought together 200 young adults from all over the world to learn together about leadership, adaptive change, and how we can use these topics in our lives here and when we go back home. I met people from North and South America, all over Europe, Africa, and Israel that had all chosen to take a week from their lives to come together and share in this experience.
Within the 200 people, we were all split into groups of around 25 people, and my group truly became my family during the week. #FruitSalad #Group3isthebest! We spent at least one or two sessions together everyday not only to learn and overcome different challenges, but we spent time discussing challenges some of the group members were currently having in their various Masa programs. I presented a challenge I felt that I am facing, and the group was so incredibly supportive and had an amazing brainstorm session of ways I could tackle and overcome the problem. For lunch on Wednesday, many of us went to a hummus place, because there’s no more Israeli way of solidifying new friendships than sharing hummus! 5 days was not nearly enough time to spend with this wonderful family I now have. I cannot wait to be able to spend weekends in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and elsewhere in Israel visiting these people. We have only been apart a few hours at this point, and I am already missing them so much!
When I was not with my home group, we split into different elective workshops. My favorite one was learning about narrative development and how we can effectively use our stories to create change in the world. During this workshop, our facilitator spoke briefly about the best way to tell our stories, and then we spent a majority of the time practicing these skills in small groups. Since this workshop happened to be on the last full day of the summit, I had become quite close with everyone, I decided to write mine on invisible disabilities and my recent Lupus diagnosis. I used this platform to talk about how it is important to be supportive of everyone you meet, because you never know what challenges they may be facing. My small group then encouraged me to share my story with the entire workshop group. It was so uplifting to be able to feel comfortable to share my story with everyone, after only learning about my Lupus a few months ago. Afterwards, I had multiple people come up to me and say how inspired they were, because they were facing similar challenges, and it showed me how important it is to be open about this part of my life.
Overall, I truly believe that words cannot even begin to skim the surface of explaining the experience I have had this week. From the new friendships I have gained, to the skills and knowledge I learned, the Masa-GLI Global Leadership Summit has given me tools that I am now able to take into the rest of my life. I do not remember ever attending a conference that has been so helpful. To all of my new friends, I cannot wait to come visit you soon!