I've known Edyael for years in the field. She's worked for many years at the Center for Rural Strategies and I've helped her as I could from my place in Washington D.C. Last year, she came to PK for a one year fellowship before going to law school. She told me she thought of me as one of her mentors and was looking forward to working with me on a more full time basis.
Her fellowship is almost over. Yesterday, she put on a Hill briefing on rural broadband that was just about textbook perfect. More to the point, she was the one who conceived the idea for the briefing based on speaking to a number of rural advocates and realizing "hey, these guys have so much to say and they say it so eloquently. I need to get them in front of Hill staffers." She saw the potential, siezed the moment, created the event, and executed brilliantly.
Watching her yesterday, I felt this peculiar mix of pride in how much she has learned and grown, bittersweet loss knowing that now she was moving on, but incredible joy and fulfillment knowing that she is going on to bigger and better things and will be -- God willing -- one of the next generation of leaders in our field.
I found myself thinking afterwards "this must be what it's like to see your apprentice get laurelled, or see your protege 'get the bird.'"
Always pay it forward. I've got a long line of folks who trained and mentored me. Some of whom probably never knew they were mentoring me at the time. My turn to do what I can for the next generation.
But oh, I'm going to miss seeing Edyael every day when she leaves.