Following heartlines

9 Dec

This month, we have asked the ALLY SNAPSHOT bloggers to describe someone inspiring they have met in their Public Allies experience. Here’s one of the posts on this theme. (* A special thanks goes out to Michael Matsey for helping design the questions for this interview. Also, some computers may require the use of headphones/earphones for the videos.)

“Just keep following the heartlines on your hands. Keep it up, I know you can.”
~ “Heartlines” by Florence + the Machine


This is Shelley. She hails from Canada and is a bright light in the world of Public Allies. She lives and breathes the Public Allies mission every day. She follows her heartlines, her passion. She is also what some would label as an “old soul”: full of wisdom, insight, and compassion for others. Her enthusiasm and passion is a great motivator for Friday trainings.

To better understand Shelley, I decided to interview her. This interview also shows just how inspiring Shelley is. I felt the best way for you to know Shelley is to see her speak. To start, here are videos about why Shelley became a staff member and her prior work.

Shelley’s journey to Public Allies is similar to mine. Both of us have a counseling background a deep desire to help others. (See “The Road after Public Allies”.) The Public Allies mission statement, which Shelley discusses in the “joining P.A.” video, was also a major reason why I applied for the program. Public Allies’ focus on improving local communities by training young adults to be leaders, plus working with nonprofit organizations sounded promising for an idealist like me. Trainings are definitely a highlight of the week. Shelley does a great job taking the helm on trainings. Her views on leadership and her values impact the way these trainings are put together. See these videos to learn more:

I found it interesting that Shelley strongly believes that everyone can lead. Before starting with Public Allies, I was used to the old ideal — the one where leadership was about the role you play at work, home, or in other group settings. Since being in the program, I have begun to redefine leadership. This definition is still a work in progress but here is what I have so far: “A leader is someone who is fully committed to his/her choice of passion. Someone who has a fire in their heart, is willing to work with others to shape and mold his/her vision, and serves as a role model to others.”

I fully believe that Shelley fits the definition I have drafted. You can tell by the way she talks and interacts with others that this is true. She is a role model. To learn more from her, I asked her for advice she would like to share. Here is what she said:

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