As we wrap up Leadership Worcester Class of 2022 and I reflect on the past eight months, I’ve learned so much about myself and this wonderful city I’ve called home for the past 26 years. As CEO of K Sense CO., this program was an investment for sure—both in time and money!
I knew I wanted to further my impact in the Kommunity, so I checked with my mentor and Leadership Worcester alumna Giselle Rivera-Flores. With her encouragement, I applied and was accepted into the Class of 2022. I’m so thankful for everything this program has taught me.
Being introduced to the various nonprofits, partners, and local leaders fighting to make an impact in our diverse city has opened my heart and mind. I have learned how to advocate for myself and the Kommunities I am a part of (Salvadoreñas, immigrants, small business owners). I’ve gained meaningful connections within my class, been mentioned in rooms full of opportunities, and most importantly: placed myself in spaces I was once made to believe a brown girl that grew up in Worcester’s Main South neighborhood didn’t belong in.
The monthly sessions have covered education, urban sustainability, public health, arts and culture, and more. As a participant, you meet local experts, activists, educators, city councilors, parents, and students; you’re presented with current issues and work with your Leadership Worcester classmates to organize real change. Members of our class have organized call banks for our local election, joined subcommittees and executive boards for a wide range of causes in Worcester, and put together programming for youth—just to name a few things. I know we all would have done these wonderful things eventually, but by pushing each other, sharing resources, and having the support of program leaders Karen and Nancy as well as all our session presenters, we’ve been making effective changes at a much faster pace!
I encourage small business owners, artists/creatives, BIPOC, and LGBTQ community members to apply. I also strongly encourage our top city employers to invest in this program to better support marginalized community leaders.
Lastly, I’ll leave you with a quote that resonates with me: “The most valuable possession you can own is an open heart. The most powerful weapon you can be is an instrument of peace.” – Carlos Santana.
Applications for the 2022-2023 Leadership Worcester cohort are available online here and are due May 30. For questions about the program or application process, contact Chamber EVP Karen Pelletier at 508.753.2924.
Katherine Aguilar, Owner of Kommon Sense Co., is a participant in the Leadership Worcester Class of 2022. The Chamber Exchange editorial team can be reached by email here.
This story was originally published in the May 2022 edition of Chamber Exchange: The Newspaper, a quarterly publication of the Chamber. All newspaper editions are archived here.