"GPWLA teaches you how to make a seed grow. I would walk through the same steps and use it as a frame going forward." - Risa Perea
Risa Perea from the USA describes her GPWLA journey as "insightful, engaging and helpful." This month, we are taking a look back at her leadership journey with GPWLA.
Wanting to improve her leadership skills, Risa joined the program in 2020. She describes herself as "hopeful" but "naïve" before GPWLA. "I thought if there is a vision, everyone should already know what to do." GPWLA taught her that it takes teamwork and ownership to turn dreams into reality. Risa reflects, "Teamwork makes the dream work. I couldn't do my project on my own. I realized the importance of everyone working together and being on the same page." She also learned that it takes ownership to commit to an idea and carry it through to the end. "I was imagining all these things, but I had to make a plan on how to was going to continue, how it would expand."
On discovering her strengths as a leader, Risa reflects, "In GPWLA, we learn about our personality and our personal leadership style. I found out about mine, my strengths, and my weaknesses. I started recognizing myself. I learned that I need to be more patient and go into details."
GPWLA gave her many hard skills to put her ideas into action. She learned proposal writing, communication, and project management. Towards the end of the program, she found herself more analytical and precise. She learned to pay attention to details and check in on the team. In addition, she learned that essential to leadership is knowing how to communicate the vision and plan as you build a team.
Risa's GPWLA capstone project, "Imagine Your Korean Dream,'' taught English language classes to South and North Koreans. Risa used an innovative peer-to-peer approach, coupled with a curriculum based on the "Korean Dream," a vision-based approach to Korean reunification that highlights shared and enduring values of the Korean people that precedes the current division. At the end of the 10 week-long program, there was a film festival where participants showcased their 1-minute video on what they think the Korean Dream is. Some participants volunteered to expand the program, volunteering as a peer mentor to launch a Korean language course.
GPWLA is a personalized one-on-one program that helps each woman leader discover what type of leader they are. Risa says she gained in-depth development. She recommends the program to anyone who wants to take action on their ideas. "Young people have ideas, want to do something, but don't know how, GPWLA will walk you, teach you, give you funding, check up on you. It is perfect for people who are starting at zero."