Hello Fellows: Meet Damon Shoholm
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 2017, Wilder awarded fellowships to six 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 most recent cohort of Kingston Fellows. This week, we catch up with Damon Shoholm.
What is your role at Wilder?
I’m a director of Leadership Programs at Wilder. I work in concert with Nou Yang of the Youth Leadership Initiative to administratively and programmatically shape the suite of leadership programs that Wilder offers to a greater community.
Tell us about your background.
Before coming to Wilder, my background was varied and always contained elements that were leading to the best application of myself. I explored education as a path, and then I had the opportunity to come to Wilder.
My journey in Wilder Center for Communities has been a wonderful one. Beginning with the Youth Leadership Initiative, I’ve been able to develop my work supporting changemakers among us in exploring and cultivating the leadership they employ to have impact in our communities. I have been a program associate with YLI, program manager of NLP, Director of the James P. Shannon Institute. Though we all have distinct responsibilities related to our roles, I have also embraced the opportunity – through other duties as assigned – to explore and build new connections and participate in various happenings related to my program work. For me, this has been an important outlet for both my interests and also strengthening my understanding of the leadership field.
When I started at Wilder I wouldn’t have dreamed that I would be the director of Shannon, and I wouldn’t have dreamed of all the things that felt possible. Through persistence, commitment and passion for the work, I have found a really important passion for myself.
What are you using the Kingston Fellowship to achieve?
The Kingston Fellowship is supporting my Humphrey Public Policy Fellowship. The Humphrey Fellowship is a program that lasts for an academic year and exposes us to public policy makers, the systems in which they work, and other leaders in our community who are seeking to have a wider impact in the community.
Part of my work at Wilder is with the Community Equity Pipeline, where we are trying to advance social and economic opportunities for communities of color. Understanding the landscape they are entering into is critical. Through the Humphrey Fellowship I hope to build stronger connections with professionals creating, influencing or affecting change via public policy. It’s about being better networked with influencers among institutions, systems and sectors in our community.
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?
Wilder has a long history of doing good work with and in communities. Organizing and supporting the leaders that we already work with to have an impact on systems through public policy development is a newer area for Wilder. The Kingston Fellowship is helping me to serve as a bridge between our leadership program experience in WCC and our growing imprint in public policy.
Damon Shoholm is a director of Leadership Programs at Wilder, where he creates the conditions for effective reflection while serving to increase the capacity of individuals and organizations alike. With a background in Applied Leadership, Damon has more than 10 years’ experience in leadership development, civic engagement and facilitation training.