St. Cloud’s Jugaad Leadership Program teaches innovative leadership skills, empowering future leaders
Babra Mumia and Sharon Oluwaseun may not have known each other a year ago, but as international students navigating their way through a new country and community, they have a lot in common. Progressing through their Masters in Public Administration (MPA) at St. Cloud State, they have a deep, deep desire to make the world a better place, especially for women and children.
Blend all of those things together, add to it the Jugaad Leadership Program they will complete this year, and these two young women are poised to make a difference in the world.
The Jugaad Leadership program, founded in 2015, is a St. Cloud program designed to provide people of color and other underrepresented community members with skills and resources to become effective leaders. “Jugaad” translates to “innovation” in Hindi and Punjabi.
Mumia, a native of Kenya, is determined to make the most of her MPA whether she serves the local immigrant community or improves policies affecting women’s inequality, poverty, and oppression with the United Nations.
“In any role I possess, I will lead and advocate in the maternal and child health sector in creating a bridge between governments, organizations, and communities to ensure they work together to improve the health of women and children,” Mumia said.
Oluwaseun adds, “I had dreams wanting to help people around me, especially young girls who were deprived of primary education, but I had no idea how.”
As a volunteer for UNICEF in her home country of Nigeria, Oluwaseun learned ways to enroll, retain, and eventually graduate young girls from elementary school. She is passionate about girls having the same rights to education as boys.
Over the course of the seven-month program, Jugaad participants meet monthly with different community leaders, many of which are persons of color or immigrants themselves. They visit various governmental, business, and non-profits in the St. Cloud area to receive a first-hand look at their successes, struggles, and to learn from their leadership in the community.
“It is hard to pick a favorite one because with each session you learn something new that you did not know,” said Mumia.
On week one, participants gathered at Metro Bus in St. Cloud to meet their CEO, Ryan Daniel. Daniel began his career in the industry at age 20 driving a bus in New York City. Mumia immediately noticed his infectious passion for the industry. “I was very excited to see a young person of color in a leadership position,” she said. “It gave me hope as a young African female.”
Oluwaseun was greatly impacted and enlightened by Dawn Zimmerman’s presentation on shaping your personal brand. Zimmerman is the founder of The Write Advantage in St. Cloud, a marketing and communications company. “You are your own brand. Your brand is who you are, your passion, your purpose, and your personality,” Oluwaseun emphasized.
The sell on the Jugaad Leadership Program is not a hard one, especially the international student or immigrant looking to become a leader in their community. “We come to America not knowing anything about the community we are going to live in,” Mumia said. “The Jugaad Leadership Program is the best place to start.”
The program is designed to connect participants with community leaders who, by sharing their experiences and skill, can present program participants ways to influence positive change at the city, county, state, and national levels.
|Jugaad Leadership Program|
|Master of Public Administration|
|International Student Admissions at St. Cloud State|
Jonathan Wong completed the Jugaad program in 2017 and is a 2020 graduate of the MPA program. A doctoral candidate in public administration at the University of Nebraska Omaha and Jugaad’s board chair, Wong boasts of the programs ability to be a cultural bridge and community platform for emerging leaders to connect and learn about their communities.
“I am immensely grateful for the program to open pathways and routes for people who look like me,” Wong said. “Jugaad widens the perspectives and expands emerging leaders’ experiences in Greater St. Cloud beyond their situated environment.”
For Mumia and Oluwaseun, their dreams are that much closer to becoming a reality. Graduation from the program is set for September 23 with a MPA degree to their names not too long after that.