VL Welcomes Public Ally, Bhavana Somayaji
A big believer in developing leaders to make a difference in the community with a team mindset, Bhavana Somayaji is excited by Valley Leadership’s mission to empower every Arizonian to lead. She believes that continuous learning and leadership development help build a foundation for Arizonans to better understand themselves, their leadership skills and the most pressing issues facing Arizona.
Bhavana Somayaji joins the Valley Leadership team, where she’ll support VL’s leadership development programs, Catalyze and Explore, over the next 10 months as a Public Ally and Strategic Learning Program Coordinator. Get to know Bhavana and join us in welcoming her to the Valley Leadership team.
Tell the Valley Leadership community a little about yourself:
I grew up in two very different parts of the world: Orissa and Karnataka in India and Phoenix, Arizona. My unique upbringing made me more open-minded towards different cultures, and I am very grateful to have experienced living in two completely different parts of the world. I attended middle school and half of high school in India. Then, I attended 11th and 12th grade and college in Phoenix, earning my bachelor’s from Arizona State University in December 2020. Over the past five years, I have worked in the veterinary science industry with animal shelters and nonprofits as a vet tech. My mother, father and younger brother all live in Arizona, while my extended family lives all across the U.S. and back in India. My dog, Sparky, an 8-year-old dachshund and Chinese shar-pei mix, is the love of my life.
I also have a passion for expressing myself through art. I have been dancing and acting since high school. Currently, I am a director of Que Candela Dance Company, a Latin dance group. We perform, compete and teach all over the U.S. I also enjoy hiking, running marathons and playing badminton. I love webinars and using tools that develop my overall skills and help me better understand my personality.
What drew you to Public Allies? Valley Leadership?
The fact that Public Allies invests in young leaders who are fresh out of college or who are currently in college drew me to the Public Allies program. Likewise, my passion to continue growing my logistical and program development skills with a nonprofit that builds strong leaders brought me to Valley Leadership.
As a young person figuring out what to pursue as a career, Public Allies and VL were very welcoming. I am a person that deeply enjoys doing good for others and creating deeper connections with human beings, and both Public Allies and VL offered that to me.
What are you most looking forward to during your Public Allies term of service?
I am looking forward to forming connections and collaborating with people with different skills to create a better society. In the process, I want to get better at leading a team, understand how to run a nonprofit, and improve my organizational skills. More than that, I am looking forward to the Public Allies service days, where I’ll provide direct service to individuals and communities.
What’s the Principle of Doing you most identify with?
I most identify with Integrity. To be a leader, the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles–ethics–is crucial. Leadership means treating others with respect, taking responsibility for my beliefs, actions, and biases and giving others the chance to do the same. I know that I may not always be right. I believe in open-mindedness and allowing others to express themselves.
What do you love most about living, working and playing in Arizona?
Over the past few years, I have grown a bond with Arizona–especially its beautiful scenery. I absolutely love watching Arizona sunsets. Despite popular opinion, I love the Arizona heat–I would take it over living in a colder state any day. I love the people here. I love being able to celebrate them and help build our community.