Hello Fellows: Meet Adora Land
Wilder employees have the opportunity to apply for Kingston Fellowships, an honor awarded annually based on accomplishments, commitment to human services and leadership potential. In March 2016, Wilder awarded fellowships to 11 employees spanning a variety of professional backgrounds. The fellowships help these professionals to study, teach, conduct research, exchange ideas and develop innovative programs to address community concerns.
In Hello, Fellows, we introduce the 2016 Kingston Fellows. This week, we catch up with Adora Land.
What is your role at Wilder?
I started at Wilder in March 2014 as a housing specialist with the Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood rental assistance program. In July 2015 I joined the ROOF Project in Family Supportive Housing Services. I foster relationships with new landlords and our existing landlords, and I’m a bridge between the tenant and the landlord. Sometimes if there are problems with communications, the client contacts me and I can facilitate a conversation with their landlord. My job is to advocate for both the landlord and the tenant.
In addition, I do housing inspections. I’m a Housing Quality Standards inspector, so I go into the houses to make sure that they’re meeting basic standards. An example would be if I go into a house and one of the eyes or the burners on the stove isn’t working, then it wouldn’t pass the inspection.
Our goal for our clients is that after being in this program, they will be able to be a successful tenant without the support of a program.
Why did you decide to pursue this career?
I went to the U of M and majored in sociology of law and African-American history. My goal was to be a probation officer. I knew people who had criminal convictions, and I thought of being a probation officer as a way to help people. I was an intern with Hennepin County Corrections and it helped me learn that I like working with people and that I can do that in many situations.
I went to work in corporate America, and I was working on a computer all day along. At that time I was also a mentor for someone who had recently been released from prison. After that, I became an MFIP (Minnesota Family Investment Program) employment counselor at a nonprofit that was contracted by Ramsey County. I had opportunities to work with people who have these difficult challenges, and the relationships that we developed made it easier for us to work together. I worked with some people in transitional housing, and I felt like I wanted to be closer to the housing piece.
My mom is a teacher and my dad is a pastor; they both have their methods of teaching. This is my way.
What will you use the Kingston Fellowship to achieve?
I’m pursuing a master’s degree in Public and Nonprofit Administration at Metro State University. I chose the program because when I was working in the Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood I had a lot of opportunities to work with other organizations, and I realized there was something missing. Some of it was training into how to run an organization. I felt that by educating myself, I could be that missing link for those community organizations.
The Kingston Fellowships are aimed at filling unmet needs in the field of human services and human services research. What unmet need is your fellowship filling?
In the larger scheme of things, there are not many diverse leaders. Oftentimes when you come into a room, there’s maybe one minority person in there. For me, the Fellowship is about diversifying that leadership. I think that at Wilder we are really working toward diversifying our leaders, and I want to be part of that.