Becoming the Best Versions of Ourselves

2022 CLRI Class Speaker Devanshi Ved's Remarks to Her Classmates

In October 2021, as the world navigated hybrid learning models and struggled with how to re-engage with one another, the 2022 College Leadership Rhode Island class went above and beyond, committed to forming connections beyond their campuses.

Eight months later, with masks and testing no longer a daily practice,  the class gathered at Hope and Main in Warren for a day of introspection through a strengths lens and a graduation ceremony to reflect on their experiences together. Class Speaker Devanshi Ved shared her thoughts with her classmates:

“I want to welcome and thank the College Leadership Rhode Island Administrators, Family, Friends, and the Class of 2022.

Today, we are here to celebrate the completion of an incredible experience. I am so happy that I could do this alongside the amazing group of people here.

During one of our session days, I had a moment where I looked around, and realized how special this was for us. In this Program, people are investing in our growth and development, as individuals and community leaders. They are giving us resources, tools, and invaluable knowledge to become the best version of ourselves, supporting us in making a positive impact in the world around us.

I joined this program exactly when I needed it.

I had just resigned from a job for the first time ever, and it was an extremely difficult experience. Feeling lost, this past year I’ve done a lot of soul searching to figure out what I want out of life

Some days were good and some days were bad, but I’ve always had CLRI every month to anchor me. To remind me of my strengths, resources, and the fact that I have a community of leaders and now friends to support me through my journey. Over this year, the session days grew to become something I looked forward to every month. No matter how I was feeling, I always ended a CLRI day feeling better.

I wish I could tell you after this year, that I have it all figured out. I’m still working on it, but I’m learning that I have my entire life to figure it out, and to enjoy the process.

Like many of you today, I don’t want this program to end, but I hope that we can continue be an anchor for each other. Through the challenges that come our way, I hope that we can all ground ourselves in what we learned from this experience, to stand in our strengths when it’s easy to forget that we have any, and to support each other as individuals and community leaders.

It has been a joy to see the growth in my classmates through this year. I’ve seen Tynita go from being shy, and making it a personal goal to speak to 3 people on the first session day, to connecting with people easily and presenting to our class. I’ve enjoyed hearing Steve’s thoughtful perspective, hearing about Check’s travels, and learning about the fashion industry from Christina. I’ve seen Alex persevere through challenges. I’ve learned about Ben’s software start up, Alli nonprofit, bringing hope to families battling childhood cancer and Franchesca’s nonprofit, stopping cycles of emotional abuse. I’ve seen many of you get job offers that you’re excited about, and many of you are graduating from college this month. There is an incredible amount of talent, inspiration, and impact in this class, and I’m so lucky to call you my peers.

With every new lesson, and piece of information gained, all of us have grown together. A room full of strangers in September now sits before me as close friends, and professional connections.

I understand now why every CLRI Class says that they were oothe best class ever. Because they all were. Let’s take a moment to think about all the classes before us, and all the ones coming after us, that go through this amazing program and go on to do amazing things in our community, and beyond. If all other classes were as incredible as the one I see before me today, I feel optimistic about this community, and for our state.

Thank you all for playing your role in supporting this experience. I can’t wait to see how we take what we’ve learned and continue to make the world a better place. With that being said, Congratulations to the best class ever.”