UMBC Mic'd Up

The Importance of Amplifying Community Voices

September 01, 2021 UMBC Mic'd Up with Dennise and special guest Kiaron Bailey Season 1 Episode 15
UMBC Mic'd Up
The Importance of Amplifying Community Voices
Show Notes Transcript

At UMBC, we love to hear the journey of how someone ends up in our programs. For Kiaron Bailey '21, M.P.S. Community Leadership, the reason she decided to study community leadership at UMBC was very clear. "I love volunteering. No matter what community I live in, I always try to give back to that community. I decided to do some research on how I can turn my passion of volunteerism into something I can do to help communities. And that's how I landed in the Community Leadership program."
In her current role with the state of Maryland, she is able to put her degree to great use with an agency that constructs schools. She takes the skills she learned in the program and applies them directly to the work she does.

0:00 INTRO
1:53 No Hesitancy in applying to the program
2:56 The journey to UMBC
5:40 Using financial background to impact communities
7:10 Working with a community partner
9:10 Amplifying community voices
10:40 Applying skills learned in the class
12:53 Biggest takeaway from studying community leadership

To hear more about Kiaron's journey, tune into this episode! 

To learn more about the graduate program in Community Leadership at UMBC, visit us:

Dennise Cardona  0:00  
Thanks for joining us for this episode of UMBC's Mic'd Up podcast. My name is Dennise Cardona from the Office of professional programs at UMBC. And I am joined by a very special guest, a graduate of the community leadership graduate program at UMBC. Kiaron Bailey. Welcome, Kiaron. It's so nice to have you with us. So nice to be here, Dennise. Thank you. So we talked a while back about two years ago, while you were, I don't know, if you would just beginning the program, or at least in the very early stages of it. And I had you on campus with the lights, camera, all of that kind of stuff, studio equipment. And I followed you around campus with a camera to shoot some B roll. And I wanted to get your story when you were kind of brand new into the into the community leadership program. And I always love when I get to talk with people, when they've come full circle, because you have just graduated from the program dismay, is that correct? That's correct. Yeah, you must be really excited about that. How does it feel?

Kiaron Bailey  1:04  
Um, it's a lot of emotions, like a lot of excitement because you completed this journey, but then still a lot of uncertainty as far as like, what are the next steps? And how are you going to apply all of the different things that you learned throughout the two years in the program? So I know, I'm super excited, and then also super nervous about the future?

Dennise Cardona  1:25  
Well, I think that's very natural for any student entering, you know, it brings me to a question I always have is, when you before you started the program, we're before you hit the enroll, like you were admitted, you know, you maybe you got your notice that you were admitted to the program before you hit that enroll button. Was there any hesitancy like, I don't know. Can I do this? Was there anything on your part that said that had you questioning whether you should hit that enroll button?

Unknown Speaker  1:53  
For me know, when I saw the program, and I saw the application, and at the application was up? I was super excited. There was no hesitancy for me because I had been looking for a program, just like the one that UMBC was offering. And for me, I was just coming across programs that were purely online. And I felt as though I still wanted to have that connection to the community. And yeah, so no, there was no hesitancy like, I was just like, a natural fit for me is like, let's go, let's do it. And good and bad, right? Because you go in there, and you're like, Okay, I can do it. I can do it. And then you get in there, like, hold up, what am I doing? Especially with working full time, but it's a, it was a program and an adventure that I'll never forget. And I'm so grateful that I was able to go on.

Dennise Cardona  2:45  
Yeah, that's amazing. Can you tell us a little bit about your your professional endeavors and your educational journey that actually brought you to UMBC's program?

Unknown Speaker  2:57  
Yeah, definitely. So, um, I mean, a group of my friends, we did what we call like, a professional check in where we were evaluating like, where we were currently professionally and where we wanted to go. So my backgrounds in finance, and a lot of my friends, were there natural steps in journeys are like MBAs. But we go through the NDA process of studying the application. And I told them, like, this is not what I want to do. So they asked me, like, what would you do, and I remember, a director that I worked for, at the time, he asked me, what's something that you would do, like, for no money at all, and just where your pat your true passions lie. So that kind of had me doing some soul searching, I was like, hmm, volunteering is like volunteering is something I do all the time. I'm super active in my community, no matter what community I live in, I always try to get back to that community. So from that did a ton of research on like, how I can turn my passion of volunteerism into something I can do and like really help communities. And that's kind of how I landed on community leadership and organizing and things like that.

Dennise Cardona  4:12  
That's a really, it's a very passionate story. Because it's so it's such a privilege, I think, in life, to be able to find something that you are passionate about, that you can actually go to work and do your nine to five or whatever, you know, whatever, 40 hours a week, whatever it is, you have this passion that you can go and do something that you're not dreading that you it actually gets you up out of bed. And it's something that is really important and work that matters. And it's a privilege to be able to find yourself in a role like that, I would imagine.

Unknown Speaker  4:45  
Yeah. And then even just have the, you know, the resources to cut and make those pivots, right, because you study for a study for four years and undergrad finance, and I'm like two or three years into my my career and I'm like, hold on I want to make this pivot. So it was just a privilege to have those resources and have like, my my managers and stuff at work, support me and understand that this is the direction I want to go. And so, yeah, I was overwhelmed, like, just thankful for that support network, and just the ability to do it.

Dennise Cardona  5:20  
And you know, I would imagine, so, finances your background, I would imagine that comes in very handy with what you do with community leadership, because let's face it, it takes funding, it takes a lot of financial endeavors and smarts to be able to properly align assets, resources to be able to do the kind of work that's important in the community, did you find that your financial background, that you get to use that in this kind of a role?

Unknown Speaker  5:48  
Yeah, definitely a lot is just like you're saying, like just not only the financial skills as far as like budgeting in managing money, and knowing how to be a good steward of funds, but then also the relationship aspects of it as well. So in finance, it even though we do do a lot with like numbers and money, we are very relationship, these and those relationships matter. So being able to take those relationship development skills and implementing it in the work that I did with my community partners, and then also being able to shape the messages or like, because obviously, like sometimes delivering messages about finances is a little bit difficult, right? Especially if you're not a numbers person. So I learned this skill of being able to take those financial messages and make them understandable and translate across like different, different groups. So I was able to take skills like that as well with me into this program to just help me be a better community partner, and overall better student.

Dennise Cardona  6:58  
When you first took your class, your first class and community leadership, what was it that you were expecting out of the program? And did you get what you were expecting?

Unknown Speaker  7:10  
I was expecting, working with a community partner, right, because it's a community leadership course you're expected, I was expecting to work with an organization. I got that in so much more. I got working with organizations, we got talks in like exposures to like leaders in different organizations talking about how they navigate, navigate through situations and problems, we learned different theories, different techniques, we got to implement them and practice them. So it was, and the moment is like, you felt like you were running this marathon like a full sprint. And everyone knows, like, if you're running a marathon, like you don't want to sprint all the way through, right. But at the end, I just remember this semester ending I turning might need turning in my final assignment. And I was like, cool. I can read for a little bit. But then also, like me wanting to go back and like dive deeper into the information, because it was just so good, like the content, which is so amazing.

Dennise Cardona  8:13  
Yeah, when you can put yourself embed yourself in that learning environment that is so rich and full of insights that really get to the heart of the matter. Yeah, you could just do that all day long. It really doesn't feel like work. Because it's something that Yeah, it does something to the Curiosity part of your brain to it. There's something that is really magical about getting into that curious mindset mode and wanting to learn more and dig deeper, and understand something at a really at a grassroots type level. Yeah. Did anything challenge or surprise you once you were in the program?

Unknown Speaker  8:51  
Okay, yeah. So have this, no, this thing that I'm developing, I don't want to call it a theory, because it's not a theory. But it's something that I've been thinking a lot about the program. And it's just that and we learned about it actually, in my first community leadership course, but just the importance of getting community members involved in like changes that are going to happen in their neighborhoods and things like that. And through my like, through my studies, and like other courses, I just realized that a lot of people and the community that are being affected by these, these changes, they don't have a say, and sometimes the methods that are being implemented, they're not effective, or they're not really, you know, the needs of the community or what the community really needs in order to really take that next step and like start to develop. So something that I've really been challenging myself with is, how can I help the people within these communities amplify their voices, so that they're getting the resources that they actually need. So we're not just implementing programming that's not effective, and not really what they want. But implementing programming that is effective and what they actually need to kind of help take them to those next steps. So, yeah, that's something that's heavy on my mind.

Dennise Cardona  10:23  
That is powerful phew. Yeah. Wow. Yeah, that's really, really incredible. Can you talk a little bit about your current role? So now you graduated? Are you working someplace? And if so, what is your role in that place?

Unknown Speaker  10:40  
Yeah, so I currently work for the state of Maryland at the agency that does school construction. So I'm still in like, I guess, a finance based role. Um, but it's within the public sector. So it's a little different from the corporate environment. But I still do this role, there are certain things that I've learned in my program that I'm still able to, like, bring with me, whether it's like the presentation skills, or like understanding the importance of like, education, and like, why the facilities that we you know, we build and we manage, like, why they're important for the students, and just like, things like that. So

Dennise Cardona  11:24  
knowing your why is really important. So like, with anything that you do anything that you attempt in life, I don't care if it's cooking your meal, it's why am I cooking this while I want to find my body nutrients? Why am I going for a walk? Well, I want to provide my body the the care that it needs to be able to thrive and be healthy? Why am I studying? Why am I up at 10 o'clock at night studying this assignment, or, you know, writing this research paper? Well, because it really matters. And the stuff that I'm learning from it, I can go out there tomorrow and apply it in the world. And so with what it's sounds like, with what you're saying, with your job, you're able to because you have this foundation now and community leadership, and you understand the dynamics of it all, and how it applies in the real world. What you're doing in the real world, you're able to understand that Why? And it just, it probably gives you a lot more push and a lot more motivation to make things happen. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker  12:19  
exactly. And it's not just like a numbers thing. To me. It's more of like a full picture. Because I mean, in school and like the courses I studied, like I studied education and like the impacts and stuff like that. So it's kind of like a full circle picture for me. Or maybe not full circle, but another piece of the picture for me. And it's Yeah, it's more than just numbers. It's a passion project, I guess.

Dennise Cardona  12:49  
What would you say is your biggest takeaway from the program?

Unknown Speaker  12:53  
My biggest takeaway from the community leadership program would have to be I think I'd have to go back to the point I said earlier about, really making sure members of the community are involved in decisions about their community. That's something that stuck with me. And it's something I think a lot about, especially when I'm doing my volunteer work and thinking about programming and things like that. Now, I'm starting to think about, okay, is this something that we just want to do and it makes us feel good? Or is it something that will really benefit the community?

Dennise Cardona  13:36  
Wow, that's well stated. I'm so happy to hear that you're doing so well out there in the world. And that, it sounds like this program really helped to give you that, that, that place in the world where you feel your heart is full and you're able to make contributions. And thank you for educating me on some of the dynamics of community leadership, as you put it, if you so eloquently stated in so many of your statements, I really appreciate you being here with us today on ubcs miked up podcast. It's been wonderful having you. It's been great to meet you. Nice to see you again. It's so nice to see you too. Thank you, everyone for listening in to this episode of UMBC's Mic'd Up podcast. If you'd like to learn more about the graduate program in community leadership at UMBC. Visit

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