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WIU Alumna Selected As One of 100 to Participate in Obama Foundation's Leaders Program

August 10, 2023

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MACOMB, IL - - Western Illinois University student in the Doctor of Education, Organizational Justice, Equity & Inclusion program Macy Ferguson-Smith was recently selected as one of the 100 people from around the world to participate in the Obama Foundation's Leaders program.

"I look forward to learning more about President Obama's values-based leadership and bringing back what I've learned to our area," said Ferguson-Smith. "It's an honor and a privilege to be amongst a diverse, community-minded cohort."

Ferguson-Smith graduated from Culver-Stockton College with a bachelor's degree in Psychology; a master's degree from Saint Louis University; and is a student of the Doctor of Education program at WIU .

The Obama Leaders program is a six-month virtual program that connects and supports emerging leaders from various parts of the world, including the United States, Africa, Asia/Pacific and Europe. The program is centered on a values-based leadership framework inspired by the ideals and legacy of former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama.

Ferguson-Smith, who served as the chair of the city of Quincy's Human Rights Commission from 2018-22, is actively involved in the Quincy Medical Foundation Board. She is also the Senior Advisor for DEI and Health Equity, leading Quincy Medical Group's (QMG) Diversity, Equity and Inclusion journey.

Recently, she co-facilitated a community DEI event that brought together more than 100 leaders from different sectors, such as government, healthcare, business and industry, among others, as part of QMG's role in the Quincy ARISE Coalition.

Additionally, Ferguson-Smith is the vice president of Jackson-Lincoln Pool, a Quincy Public School District mentor, a member of the Safe & Livable Housing Committee and a member of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH).

"As a current student in the Organizational Justice, Equity, and Inclusion track, I believe the cornerstone of education to be community building and connection," Ferguson-Smith said. "Find your people and your community while you're in school. They'll be the folks who see you through so many seasons of life."

Participants in the Leaders USA program receive a comprehensive experience that includes a values-driven leadership curriculum, action labs that aim to strengthen democratic institutions and culture in the U.S. community groups that foster constructive dialogue in a polarized environment and one-on-one support to tackle some of the most pressing issues of our time.

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