When I think back to turning 50, I was pretty comfortable with my life. My professional career had been fulfilling, and my two sons had finished college and were off following their own dreams. Consulting part time was an option, but I really wasn’t looking for too much in terms of a professional challenge.

No, I was ready to relax a little.

LEND opens a door

Until one day, I was speaking to a friend who told me about the LEND program; Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities. She described it as a wonderful opportunity to attend a graduate level training program with others committed to leadership in the field.

So I decided to check it out.

What I realized is even though I had started my own nonprofit, I learned through trial and error only. Going back to school would offer a whole new dimension of learning.

Getting accepted

After doing some more research, I came to the realization that the program sounded wonderful and I really wanted to be accepted.

The good news was even though my undergraduate grades were not impressive, (college in the 70s,what can I say?), perhaps they thought I could bring credible work experience to the group, and I was accepted into the program.

I was in and I was nervous.LEND Graduates 2010

The impact on my life

Over the next two years I was the class nerd. I relished my time in the classroom, enjoying the opportunity to research and write on topics of interest and eventually completing my masters at Suffolk University. It was truly a life changing experience.

I guess in many ways it was what I expected in terms of the academic challenges, yet what I hadn’t envisioned was the intimacy in friendships that would be made both with my professors and colleagues. We learned so much from each other and I will be forever grateful for the impact they made on my life.

Today, I am honored to teach in the LEND program, which is an opportunity I never imagined. I only hope that I will have the same positive impact on my students in the years to come.

This month, join us to hear from other alumni and students in LEND as they share their own experiences. Who knows. With applications now being accepted, you may find yourself in one of our classrooms this fall.


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