From the get-go, the mission of the Mayor’s Star Council spoke to my desire to meaningfully plug into the neighborhoods and issues that are imperative to building a strong future for our city. I wanted to be connected to similarly impassioned young professionals who seek a little less talk and a little more action. A group of people who understand that there are no limits to progress if you’re agnostic to who gets the credit, who are capable of servant leadership without ego. What I found during my year on MSC were some of the most incredible people I’ve met in Dallas, connections to the leaders on the ground in neighborhoods from downtown to Vickery Meadow to Oak Cliff to Lancaster Corridor and everywhere in between, and a stronger sense of the part I hope to play in finding solutions within our community.

Working with the Mayor’s Rising Star Council (MRSC), MSC’s leadership academy at five Southern Dallas DISD schools, has been incredibly rewarding – those kids give us more than we could ever give them, and watching their growth over the past year has been magical. This coming year, our first class of MRSC will be applying to college and graduating, many the first in their families to do so. To know this, and to hear these kids not just talking about undergrad, but about a future in law, public service and STEM shows us how trajectories and communities heal through one on one relationships. The impact is real and I am so proud of this organization’s dedication to the next generation. A great partnership for the MRSC seniors is with the Marcus Graham Project, who has developed a curriculum for high school students that will teach these young leaders how to creatively develop, create, tell the story, and execute a campaign that highlights their neighborhoods and their vision for their communities. It’s an amazing experience that will allow them to build skills and importantly, a portfolio of their work that can carry forward into their careers. We are grateful to the mission and leadership at MGP for giving the MRSC this opportunity.

As a young organization, there is great opportunity for continued evolution in MSC, we have the ability to be agile, adapt and shift course when needed. Each member of our four classes has had the ability to shape the next year, the next iteration of our mission. I am honored to serve as President of the 2015-16 class and my goal is to continue to provide avenues for awareness, engagement and empowerment to our current class and alumni network, that as a team, we can connect, learn and serve in our city. We look forward to serving alongside you on this journey. Stay tuned and stay present, this is an incredible time to be in Dallas.

Jen Sanders

MSC 2014-15, President 2015-16