by Chidinma Nnoromele
The Mount Vernon Leadership Fellows Program (MVLF) is a six-week summer institute for rising college juniors offering unparalleled learning and networking opportunities at the home of America’s first president. The program brings together passionate and cause-driven college students to learn from and be inspired by the rich history of George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Each fellow comes to Mount Vernon dedicated to different issues, and Mount Vernon serves as an incubator of resources, providing us with the power and knowledge to further our causes and deepen our impact in our communities. I have been fortunate enough to be heavily involved with MVLF—first as an inaugural Fellow in 2015, then as the program’s first intern, and now as a Mount Vernon Ambassador.
When I reflect on my Mount Vernon experiences, I can sum them up with one phrase: life-changing opportunities. Mount Vernon has provided me with mentors, a strong network of lifelong friendships, and a vital understanding of how the history of George Washington and Mount Vernon transcends time and needs to be shared with others. At Mount Vernon, I was mentored by Dr. Doug Bradburn, Julie Almacy, and others at the Washington Library. I witnessed how hard they work to share the Mount Vernon story, and they inspired me to incorporate some positive attributes of George Washington into my life, such as humility and leading with a strong sense of purpose. Through the program, I was also put in contact with global leaders, such as David Rubenstein and Admiral Michelle Howard. These leaders offered a myriad of personal advice, such as whether I should attend business school and how I can use my spirit for service to influence others on a large scale.
Another invaluable outcome I got from the program is the connection to a strong network of young adults across industries and interests. We became a team of lifelong friends. We continue to encourage each other to go after our goals, such as starting our own nonprofits or winning prestigious scholarships. We do all of this while keeping in mind where it all started: at the Mount Vernon estate, the place that empowered us through history. Together we learned about the Mount Vernon Ladies Association—how a group of women, who at the time had limited rights, thought it was valuable enough to preserve the history of Mount Vernon for future generations. We remember exploring the estate, learning about the sacrifices George Washington made to fight for a worthy cause and how he gave up power to promote democracy.
I have since graduated from university and have started my first job in the finance industry, and I am grateful to MVLF for serving as the catalyst for these opportunities. I see it is my responsibility to show others how George Washington’s legacy should continue to influence all disciplines, whether in the business world, academia, or policy. In particular, I see my cause as actively helping the Millennial Generation experience the magic of Mount Vernon so that we can use its rich history to propel us forward.
Chidinma Nnoromele graduated from Duke University in 2017 with a B.S. in Economics, Cum Laude w/ Distinction in Economics. She is currently a TAP Associate at Capital Group in Los Angeles, CA.