First, it has provided me with some general “life skills” that I was not expecting. Skills around how to present myself publicly, how to wear my credentials and my expertise proudly, and skills around thinking about the bigger message and what is important to get out there. Second, these meetings have truly been convenings. Webster’s dictionary defines ‘convene’ (and this was always my favorite way to start my college application essays!) as ‘to come together in a body’ and that is truly what these meetings have felt like. They feel like they have brought together an extraordinarily talented diverse group of women as a single cohesive body. And I honestly am not sure we would have met had it not been for this program. That is sad to say given that we all likely work within a one mile radius of each other (except for Diana but what a wonderful excuse to be able to see her lovely face every few months!).
This has been such an added benefit of this experience. I have had the opportunity to meet women who work in the Departments of Linguistics and Pathology, from the Law School and Academic Affairs. I have re-connected with friends and colleagues from the Med School that I don’t see often enough and I have (re-) connected with someone who I actually graduated with from high school in Los Angeles (unbeknownst to us–we figured this out at our last convening as we sat next to each other chatting!).
I have had the pleasure to learn from all of you—from sitting in these meetings with you and from reading your words and “hearing” your voices. The leadership from our conveners has been amazing—inspiring, driving, but with humor and kindness. Both the “fellowship” and the learning have been wonderful.
Lynn Fiellin is Associate Professor of Medicine at Yale University School of Medicine and a practicing HIV physician and Addiction Medicine Provider. Lynn is pictured above.