With great enthusiasm, I offer a few words about why I engage in the work we do at the Birmingham Education Foundation (Ed). I am always reminded of how privileged I am to work on behalf of students when I’m ask, “So Mrs. Dada, what do you do?” to which I respond with the utmost excitement “THIS is my job!” Ed provides the chance for me to build a network of great stakeholders and partners who work together to offer opportunities to prepare our students for college, career, and life after high school graduation.
I’m very appreciative of the opportunity to be a servant leader in my community. As product of Bessemer, Alabama, a community similar to and not too many miles away from Birmingham, I pride myself on making an impact on the next generation. I have always sought opportunities to play a vital role in the success of young people in my community, and Ed helps me hone the skills I need to continue developing as a leader.
I joined the Ed team in July of 2016 after working as an Environmental Compliance Engineer. My desire was to enter a space where I could have a major impact on my community while I searched for my next career move. But sometimes I literally feel like I’ve died and gone to work Heaven. I get to use my innate talents and strengths to ensure that the next generation of leaders are made better through our programming. Thus far, I’ve coordinated tons of site visit, job shadowing and internship opportunities, facilitated middle and high school in-school sessions, afforded students the opportunities to see many college campuses, and made invaluable connections with students, partners, and stakeholders along the way.
My corporate background, engineering education, and personal experiences, all work together to inform my work at Ed. Not only do I get to work toward the goal of developing students toward college, career, and life readiness. As a program specialist at Ed, I’m able to leverage my networks and experiences to offer endless opportunities to our students in the Birmingham Metro area. From GEAR UP, INROADS, iCan Girls in Engineering, and National Society of Black Engineers to Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Vessels of Praise at 45th Street Baptist Church and Siamese Dreams Next Level Outreach, the list is endless when I think about every experience that has contributed to my success at Ed.
All in all, at Ed, I roll out of bed every morning to make a difference in Birmingham’s future and advocate for students who have not yet realized the full potential in their voices. I can only hope that students can find some part of my being or my work that inspires them to strive for success. That’s my primary goal—inspire the next generation of leaders to believe that the future is truly in their hands.
Finally, my charge is that you begin or continue to engage in the work of developing the next generation of leaders, because we all know it takes a village. And that village includes YOU. So are you up to the challenge?
This Letter from Ed comes from Educate Local Program Specialist Katrina Dada. To learn more about her, visit our Staff page here.