As a medical student I have noticed three important aspects of the journey becoming a game changing leader in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Learning what leadership looks like, finding mentors and allies who can support you in becoming a leader, and giving back to those coming after you.

Learning what leadership looks like has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. Throughout this ongoing process I have failed, I have been challenged, I have grown, I have had victories, and best of all, I have learned exactly what type of leader I am striving each day to become. It has been imperative for me to see examples of different leaders, so I am able to learn the various ways of leadership.

I have been fortunate to witness leaders who display excellence in their field and lead by example in mastery of their craft. I have witnessed leaders who lead with their voice and consistently speak on crucial issues within medicine including the importance of increasing diversity and support for underrepresented minorities in medicine.

I have also experienced leaders who lead by action through developing community outreach programs and initiatives that make lasting impacts in the field. Although I hope to be a combination of all these leaders, I have a special love for my communities. The full feeling in my heart when I get to see a middle school student learn how to make a sugar tong cast is unmatched.

Secondly, as I learned the type of leader I want to be, I wanted to surround myself with mentors and allies that could fine tune my leadership skills while helping me reach places and people that would put me in a great position to succeed in leadership.

The second time I attended the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, one of my mentors chose me to give a short speech to over 200 students, residents, and surgeons about my journey and what I have been doing for my peers and the next generation of medical students. It was a true blessing given to me by my mentor to be able to speak on what I learned and how I am already giving back.

“Pay it Forward” and “Lifting as you climb” are two common phrases used to describe efforts surrounding giving back to the community you serve. These phrases key in on two important concepts. The first being the need to help those who are in need, whether on a similar path as you or not.

The other being that there is always room to climb. The journey to becoming a great leader in any field never ends and the importance of an open mind to learning and growing is key.

For me this final aspect of DEI leadership has been majorly through the creation of the first nationwide minority student lead orthopedic surgery interest group geared towards helping current pre-med and medical students on their journey to becoming world leaders in orthopedic surgery.