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Enjoying Life Differently and to the Fullest

Clifton Shambry joined the OutGrowth community this past year, and ever since, we have been inspired by his drive, his fresh perspective, and his commitment to challenging the way we design our way forward in work and in life. We had the pleasure of interviewing Clifton in this week's blog, and are excited to share his spotlight feature in our latest newsletter!

This month's theme is all about fostering a reimagined approach to education and competency-building. Tell us about how you model this in your work.

In my work, I try to model reimagining approaches by asking probing questions to dig to the root of conversations, including how we choose to educate and help others build competencies. This can be as simple as asking questions about why we use certain phrases or words to explain things without thinking about the true meaning, or the history of such phrases or words.

At OutGrowth, we are committed to supporting the growth of others through transformational experiential learning. What do you think we as individuals and communities can do to support others to grow beyond traditional limits?

Growth beyond traditional limits includes 1. Learning about oneself, 2. Learning about others, 3. Learning of the environments one wants to engage in, 4. Deciding how one wants to show up in those spaces based on one’s self-reflection and 5. Deciding if the system(s) in place are conducive for individuals' or the communities' success and growth.

Tell us about your most significant professional moment to date.

My most significant professional moment was leading a planning team for a diversity and inclusion retreat for 28 full time staff.

How did this experience change the course of your life, your career or your outlook?

This experience helped me to learn how to gather other viewpoints and implement them in ways that are important for all to work through. I also learned that not everyone will be pleased or admit that they ‘learned’ something, yet I realized through assessment that folks did get something out of the experience. It helped me to realize that we can’t harp on the negative feedback. We have to take it in and then analyze it knowing it isn't personal.

What is a step that each of us can take today to support the continuous education of ourselves and others?

One step to support continuous education of ourselves and others would be to ask questions. This can be about anything you are curious about or do not understand. You can ask yourself the question or better yet, you can ask other folks who may have the answer or may have a different perspective than your own. You can also use the internet!

If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?

To be your authentic self - earlier on so you can enjoy life differently and to the fullest.

What is your favorite quote or song lyric?

Maya Angelou – “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

Based on your experience to date, what are the top three career competencies that you believe are essential in 2021?

1. Critical Thinking

2. Equity and Inclusion with a focus on Inclusive engagement including self-awareness

3. Technology/Digital Engagement

What's next? What are your next steps toward growth in 2021?

Three things I hope to do toward growth in 2021 are to 1. Continue writing #WritingBlackness (on twitter) and beyond, 2. Reflect, and 3. Journal.

Clifton is a first generation limited income (FLI) college graduate, proud east coaster, and lover of card and board games (especially spades). He enjoys singing at church and finding spots in Baltimore to sit and relax.  Clifton is an advocate for affinity space, mentoring and equitable experiences for all and helping others lead from their why. He enjoys discussing how identities have an impact one's experience.


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