With a goal to build the capacity for global leadership, Dr. Katherine Y. Brown (KYB) Leadership Academy recently graduated its first International Cohort. The young ladies in the KYB Leadership Academy are groomed for leadership, and this international cohort is the third, joining two Nashville cohorts initiated in recent years. A cohort is a select group of young ladies, usually fewer than a dozen, who work together and join the academy as a group. The recruitment for the fourth cohort is underway.
The cultural and academic exchange began in 2016 but came to life March 15-21, 2017, when Founder Dr. Katherine Y. Brown traveled to Medellin Colombia, South America with six leaders from the Nashville based KYB Leadership Academy, including founding members of Cohort 1 (also known as the significant seven) Sydney Y. K. Brown, Morgan Harvell, Ashley Mimms, and Ashlee Young and members of Cohort 2 (also known as the sagacious six) Anyah Gilmore Jones and Lindsey Pettis. Three chaperones (April Harvell, Roberta Pettis, and Dr. Lesia Crumpton Young) joined the journey.
In Colombia a pinning ceremony was held and eight new members joined the KYB Leadership Academy creating the inaugural KYB Leadership Academy International, Cohort 3 (also known as the Elite Eight) Amalia Cadavid, Carolina Muñoz, Daniela Ortega ,Mariana Quiroz ,Valeria Azeria ,Yorledys Mena ,Noemy Rzio, and Fabiana Ramos.
KYB Leadership Academy is a program of the Nashville nonprofit, Roberta Baines Wheeler (RBW) Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Group. As part of the yearlong Cohort participants complete four intense modules, service projects, and receive mentoring. The modules include leadership and communication, government and politics, mental and physical health module, and an international module. Each module has an auxiliary program and all cohorts help plan and participate in a RBW Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Day project.
Brown explained, “This years cultural and academic exchange, the auxiliary program for the international module, was brought to life with much collaboration and planning. My mother’s vision, which she inquired about just two hours before she passed (11/5/2016), was to expand the awareness day and leadership programs internationally, we accomplished both in Medellin, Colombia-South America with the inaugural international RBW PH Awareness Day and the inaugural international KYB Leadership Academy Cohort.
“No one accomplishes anything alone,” Brown continues. “We are fortunate to have the expertise of Dr. Jewell Winn who serves as the international liaison on the RBW PH Awareness Group Board for our fourth module, the international module. As a Tennessee State University Pathways to Prosperity program, Dr. Winn’s team in the Office of International Affairs enabled my mothers dream to become a reality and we are eternally grateful to TSU and our partners at University of EAFIT Children’s University (Pilar Aubad who travelled to Nashville) and Colombo Americano – Medellin (Luisa Meija who led the team in Medellin, Colombia, South America. EAFIT and Colombo both selected four students to participate in the program. The pathways P2P guidelines helped shape the work of this partnership.”
Brown further explained, “There is power in collaboration and there are so many people to thank in Nashville beginning with the KYB founding members, parents, and our board members. In Nashville local university’s, elected officials, and leaders came together to provide the KYB Leadership Academy participants with a wonderful experience. This was a once in a lifetime experience and we could not do it without support.” The participants from South America received the same training as the yearlong Nashville cohorts. Participants created RBW Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Day videos in English and Spanish.
Highlights of the KYB Leadership Academy International Module (June 14-24) in Nashville included:
June 16: Research Module by Dr. Iris Johnson Arnold, night enjoying the Nashville Symphony, learning the Nashville slide at the Wildhorse and sleepover at Dr. Browns for their first weekend in Nashville.
June 17: Developing memory books, attending the JUMP jazz and blues fest and touring Downtown Nashville.
June 18: Historical Tour of Nashville including the Womens Suffrage Monument at Centennial Park, enjoying snow cones in the park, touring Fisk University Art Gallery, Gaylord Opryland Tour, and seeing Vanderbilt
June 19: Touring the Country Music Hall of Fame with the Music P2P Program.
June 20: Research Prep, tour of Plaza Mariachi, Casa Azafran, Hispanic Family Foundation and meeting councilman Fabian Bedne.
June 21: Hands on Anatomy Lab at Meharry Medical College, hosted by the Division of Public Health Practice.
Government Module: they met judges (Judge Rachel Bell, Judge Angelita Blackshear Dalton, Judge Allegra Walker, Judge Sam Coleman, Judge Kelvin Brown); and toured the Mayor’s Office and visited Metro Council Chambers. Roberta Pettis and Judge Bell helped plan the day which included Rep. Brenda Gilmore facilitating a session where she taught the KYB Leadership Academy about how government works and she facilitated a mock session where they got to experience how a Bill is passed. They were excited to meet Mayor Megan Barry and to learn that she was a woman. The evening included a meet at greet at the home of Judge Allegra Walker with Sara Beth Myers, Sharon Gentry, Antoinette Welch, Sherry Jones, Jacobia Dowell, Kristal Knight in attendance.
June 22: Medical Module and RBW PH Awareness Day, hosted by Meharry Division of Public Health Practice, National Coalition of 100 Black Women, and planned by Dr. Kim Wyche Etheridge, MD. Included learning how to suture pigs feet with Dr. Leonard Webster, MD, public health statistics by Dr. Wyche, mindfulness session with Lisa McGee, and RBW Awareness Day public service videos led by Moncherie Jones Holmes. Later that evening they enjoyed Visual Arts at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, hosted by TSU-ODIA where they met other international students.
June 23rd: Research presentations at TSU, lunch at Monell’s Restaurant with the 100 Black Women, a tour of Belmont University and meeting with Joyce Searcy and Belmont female leadership. The visit to Belmont was amazing, “Joyce Searcy and the team welcomed us in love and educated us on life and what it requires to be female leader who balances work and life. Prior to a tour of the Belmont campus, the KYB ladies were able to listen and learn from the leaders at Belmont including Dr. Susan West; it was inspiring.”
The evening ended with dinner by Chef Brown (Katherine’s amazingly talented professional chef husband) and game night at Dr. Brown’s house with those who they met during the week, government officials, and supporting friends including Brenda Wynn, Karen Johnson, Marie Sueing, Fannie Carlisle, Tanaka Vercher, and many others, who brought gifts and shared life experiences with the girls.
The program culminated with research presentations at TSU. This year they had 4 research groups comparing Nashville, Tennessee and Medellin, Colombia (topics including the utilization of innovation in transportation to address environmental inequality, health disparities, and also social justice) where participants were blended to allow students from both countries to work together.
The students enjoyed Nashville with highlights of their visit including the opportunity for KYB’s Elite Eight to experience dorm life on the TSU campus and then later be joined for home life with the KYB Leadership Academy Nashville group during multiple sleepovers for all 14 girls at the home of Dr. Katherine Y. Brown with meals prepared by Executive Chef, Irving Brown II.
The KYB Leadership Academy does not exclude participants based upon income or grades, they do however require students commit to a rigorous schedule of leadership activities. The group’s goal is to travel to two more countries over the next two years.
Brown shared “We are currently inviting students to apply online for the program and also welcome volunteers and donors from the community to work with us. It’s an exciting time to be a KYB Leader.”
While RBW PH Awareness Group has been in existence nearly 5 years, the KYB Leadership Academy celebrated in first year anniversary June 14, 2017. This was a powerful year for the program and the Nashville community should keep their eye out for what’s next with the KYB Leadership Academy.
For more information about KYB Leadership Academy visit the website www.KYBLeadership.com; email KYBLeaders@gmail.com; or call 312-623-2433.