GLDI Hosts Guest Speaker to Discuss Best Practices in Leadership

On Tuesday, August 4, 2020 Grace Bonilla, Administrator of the Human Resources Administration (HRA) for New York City, was a guest speaker for the Grant Leadership Development Initiative (GLDI). Mrs. Bonilla shared her best practices in leadership, as well as challenges, successes, and growth opportunities. She reminded the staff that everyone’s stories are important, yet it is one’s origin story that define his or her relation to the world.  Owning these stories is necessary to help guide someone throughout their journey of becoming a leader.

The GLDI program provides staff members & future leaders with the necessary tools and training opportunities to hone their leadership skills. The program is open to employees who desire to strengthen their leadership abilities, with the eventual goal of advancing within Grant Associates. Those involved in GLDI also develop a foundation for growing within their respective workforce community. The training offered through GLDI has consistently allowed employees to collaborate with thought leaders within the workforce development field.

Mrs. Bonilla challenged the group to focus on three key areas: social capital, management, and the difference between mentors and sponsors. Her first piece of advice to employees was to design a map of where they are within their organization, to determine who they work closely with. It is important for an employee to learn their colleague’s management styles, and how the respective management styles can complement each other. Social capital is a result in every person-to-person engagement. How someone navigates within his or her organizational map determines the wealth of his or her personal social capital.

In discussing sponsorship, Mrs. Bonilla emphasized that it is a necessary function of leadership.  Sponsorship will assist in getting promoted at work, getting a seat at a table without an invitation, and overall, it will assist in reaching milestones. Sponsorship is a consequence of one’s social capital and it is a direct result of what someone says about another person when they are not in the room.

The attendees at GLDI were told to be aware of self-talk and to not to be overcome by imposture syndrome.  Mrs. Bonilla said that it is important to be confident in personal competencies and to be knowledgeable of impactful relationships that have been built. The process of gaining leadership skills takes time and must be trusted. It is important to not allow microaggressions and occasional inappropriate comments to place doubt in the mind- instead, focus on being present in the moment.

Lastly, Mrs. Bonilla talked about how trust is vital to establishing social capital, while remembering to retain a work-life balance.  Mrs. Bonilla provided various examples of how trusting mentors, mentees and sponsors was vital to her success as a leader. From her experience, she learned to remain focused on “why she was present.” This trust in both herself and her colleagues ultimately allowed her to reach her greatest potential.