She did it!

Brenda Mendoza of PCUNWe’d like to share a success story with you:  that of community leader Brenda Mendoza, the Director of PCUN’s Service Center.

Leadership Transitions, one of CAPACES Leadership Institute’s flagship programs, finished its first year in January.  The cohort included leaders from CAPACES’ nine sister organizations and included Brenda Mendoza. In the program participants establish their leadership goals, make a plan to achieve them, and identify any obstacles to these goals.

Brenda’s goal was to become accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals(BIA) to practice immigration work by the end of the Leadership Transitions program. This wasn’t a new goal for Brenda. Although she had desired the accreditation for five years, she thought her lack of formal education would be an obstacle.  In addition to needing a boost in confidence, Brenda was reasonably daunted by the enormous task of listing her accomplishments from her 14 years in PCUN’s Service Center for her application.

With the support of the Leadership Forum cohort, Brenda began taking steps to achieve accreditation. Her mentor helped her organize her work accomplishments, such as how many immigration cases she worked on and how many hours she invested.

On August 30th, 2013, Brenda received approval of her accreditation request.  She was in disbelief – she never thought she had a chance.  In truth, she simply did not know what she was capable of.  “As a person, Leadership Transitionsempowered me to realize the potential I have to make a long-lasting social change in my community and for the good of all people,” Brenda said.

Although the program is over, the conversations that began continue.  As the leaders collaborate, they continue to develop camaraderie and a greater understanding between themselves and their organizations.  This strengthens our Movement.

Since Leadership Transitions, Brenda continues to draw on CLI’s Executive Director, Laura Isiordia, as a resource.  Interestingly, Laura said she did not even know that she was capable of teaching Brenda.  “Leadership Transitions,” Brenda says, “helped all of us to realize our full potential in spite of our fears.”

Brenda’s BIA accreditation allowed the PCUN Service Center to expand from two part-time staff to two full-time and one part-time staff.  She mentored one of those staff, Elisa Andrade, to become the third at PCUN to have her BIA accreditation.   When CIR passes, both Brenda and Elisa will manage 5 people in the service center.

We at CAPACES Leadership Institute are proud of Brenda’s and Elisa’s accomplishments, and grateful to see that the Leadership Transitions program is fostering participants to strengthen their leadership skills and better serve their community.