Destini Harrell, ODU MBA Student, CIVIC Scholars Class 2018

CIVIC Leadership Institute is one of those completely unexpected things that forever changed my life. As a young student who had little confidence in her own voice, and had no idea what she wanted to pursue in life, and once aspired to leave the area after graduation—CIVIC helped me evolve into who I am today.

Through the programs and my mentor experiences, I grew into a more confident, community-oriented person. Three of the most important things to do for another person are, give them exposure, get them engaged, and mentor them (and see the value in also getting mentored by them). CIVIC allowed me all of those things and I have met some of the kindest people (including the awesome staff!) who have seen me and treated me as a person who has the ability to change the world.

Until my time in the CIVIC Scholars Program, I did not see a place for me here or the possibility for me to make a difference at home. CIVIC showed me what is great about our region- what we are and what we could be. It’s a combination of different backgrounds, profession, interests, and cultures that come together with a common purpose to make our community stronger and better for everyone. Today, I am passionate about being an active and vocal part of that combination to help bring people together and turn our potential into reality.

CIVIC has been a major part of my “becoming”- of my discovery of self and my purpose. I see my role in Hampton Roads and in the world revealed more each day. However, that journey unfolds, I will always be grateful to CIVIC and the friends I made along the way.