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A Personal Reflection on Leadership 

~ Daniella James


The definition of leadership is a state of action that

encompasses community emphasis. With reflection,

I gather there is a difference between a leader and

manager. Leaders joyfully allow others to whole

heartedly contribute in possible creative ways. The

important values a leader demonstrates are thoughtful, generous, benevolent, driven, curious, motivated, innovative, impactful, stimulating, sustainable, and opportune. 


Continuous involvement with attributed additional group assistance is one leadership experience that I have made in my local community. I curiously explored the perimeter of a building in renovation works while walking my dog, several years ago. The non-profit organization of Urban Mission was moving during this time, and I joyfully inquired about their works. Community farming, pantry for homeless, Sunday soup kitchen, health services, clothing dispensary, holiday enrichment, and group talk opportunities are some of their services. I openly volunteered for all departments. I slowly gained my mother, aunt, several college friends, and two mentors to join this life engagement frequently to occasionally.  On special children’s days, my dog my explore excitement into their eyes with some play and laughs. With the extra mental and physical assistance that we have expressed, we see how flourishing this community establishment has grown. One positive lesson learned is that patience is a key element. I had planted seeds for others to join in this weekly ritual of giving and reflecting. With patience of allowing others to explore this opportunity, patience for Urban Mission to grow, and patience for myself to gently reflect what one person can do, I have felt the importance of one person’s impact.  


Maria, my maternal grandmother, has been my key role model that has inspired me to become a leader. On a micro level, she was the key driver of motivation for my fruitful family. She has such grace to gather a few hundred people with gentle ease with little notice. She knew how to entertain ideas for stimulation for diverse crowds. On a larger level, she volunteered for five elderly community organizations. My childhood career was to be her assistant. As she was my primary caretaker, I got to explore many environments, situations, struggles, complexities, and community enrichment. As I have explored more of who I have grown to be, I joyfully cite I have been conditioned to be like her. As a child I saw my grandmother become Senior Citizen Queen of the city. She holds a framed proclamation from the city in the name of the county by the State of California that honors her outstanding commitment and lifetime achievements. At this moment, I see this document that bears many years to several organizations of community and notable works. I feel grounded and humbled. I got to see these events at such a young age. Now have some of the skills to elevate to such standards, and probably higher than which I can currently fathom. I have a hopeful and vivid drive. 


I learned leadership skills during my position of line sous cook in the catering sector. With the low retention rate that occurs in hospitality and culinary arts, I learned that versatility, listening, empathy, education, believing, and confidence are essential to success. Leaders carry many hats and mindfully uplift those individuals surrounding the environment. I enjoy listening, retaining knowledge, applying, and sharing. I demonstrate gentle teaching to probe thought. From showing others culinary techniques, providing understanding communications, giving co-workers manageable responsibility, rewarding with genuine praise, historical stories of ingredients, talking about modern trends, verbally giving information of website resources for additional growth, and promoting to seek opportunity, I find this to be cohesive in leadership skills. The most valuable skill I learned is accountability. I have previously learned that accountability is crucial for others, yet especially for myself. This is applied to all matters of life. Once I fully understood the positives and negatives of accountability, I am forever now enhanced and fully appreciative. A positive example holds to effect the accountability rate of co-workers who do show up for an event to be executed. To hold any event in life, people must be present. Each person has an opportunity to bring life to the event. Everyone has a position to participate. Once one person declines, the slope rate of decline of the group as whole is then inhibited. I promote positive energy as much as I can to all who wish to enjoy.

With reflectively observing my previous responses in this section, I absolutely recognize that the lessons learned along the path to leadership do align with my own leadership values and definition of a good leader. In my personal life and developing career life, I am instilled with the values of integrity, honesty, positive excitement, pondering adrenaline, and creative will. I see every reason to let this shine in everything I see, do, touch, and live upon. The mental advancement to enjoy as much as possible is what life is about. Sharing and giving is coexistent to that nature. I find the values, definitions, and characteristics of leadership explored stimulated constantly, for leaders lead others to success. Success is defined uniquely by each individual’s perspective. I explore the thought that success is defined as self-happiness.