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Azanean Petty

WRA 140
The Midnight Golf Helped Me Become a Leader

You never know how much someone can impact your life just by taking an interest in
you and showing you that you do matter. Coming from a broken family where you cannot look at
your family members and call them a role models or be inspired by them is kind of a hard pill to
swallow. Not being able to look to them for leadership skills or professionalism made growing
up a challenge for me. I was never the type of person to take initiative or express my ideas or
even stand up for myself because I was always taught to be submissive. Then suddenly that all
changed during the end of my junior year in high school leading into my senior year. This
change started occurring in the summer time around the end of June, when I met a man that
would help me transition from being submissive and quiet into a young lady that takes initiative,
leads, and voices her opinions.
I met my future mentor when I started taking a Career Readiness class at the ending of
my last semester of my junior year. The first day I entered the class, I knew that the people
that taught the course meant business. The man that was standing in front of the
blackboard wore a black suit with a lavender shirt with a dark purple tie to match, his name
was Kevin Butts (My mentor). However he was not the only one that was dressed in this
particular fashion, his teaching assistant also was dressed debonair. She had on a white
paints suit with a pink blouse to match and some nude shoes to top off the whole look, as
well as a matching briefcase. The teaching assistant name was Clover McFadden who
would also become one of my mentors in the following school year. Mr. Butts was a financial
literacy teacher who also taught about leadership and professionalism as well as Clover. From
the first glance I took I knew that this course was designed to change my life. As my
classmates and I were ushered into the classroom we were told to sit somewhere that was
most comfortable to us. As expected most people sat in the back next to charger ports, and
away from the front rows that were made for engaging in dialect, however I chose to sit in
the front role in the first seat. After we all was situated, Kevin and Clover said that only
twenty people out of the forty or so people enrolled in the course past their first test, I was
one of them. The first test was sitting in the front and engaging in discourse, Mr. Butts told
leaders always aim to sit in the front of a room and get their voices heard. Over the course
of the year my classmates and I had to participate in seminars covering topics including:
professional dress and etiquette, writing thank-you notes, resume writing, interpersonal
skills, effective communication, and leadership skills. While attending these seminars we
were expected to sit in a circle and not only get lectured about these topics but speak into
existence how we would implicate these skills in our day to day routines. We would all go
around the circle and tell ways that we would use interpersonal skills, or effective
communication and so forth. By the end of the class I was taught how to properly eat, tie
ties, and wear pashminas correctly which helped me immensely.

Although. Mr. Butts and Ms. Clover taught me what I thought at the time was all of
the skills that I need to have in order to start showing that I was an effective leader and that
I was professional that told me that these were just the fundamentals. He then went on to
tell me about a program that he classified as life changing and extremely impactful. He told
me that this program molded some of the brightest young people in the city of Detroit. He also
told me that this program would impact my life in so many ways I could never imagine and that I
would graduate from the program as a new person. In addition to this he stated that The
Midnight Golf Program was a program that focused on personal and professional
development, educational preparedness, life skill training, mentoring, and professional golf
instruction. I found this very hard to believe because I have never heard of it and because I
thought that I was already a new person just from taking his course for that short period of time.
In addition to my pessimistic thoughts and my doubtfulness he lost my interest when he told me
that I would have to go through an interviewing process along with up to three hundred more
students. I told him that this was not something that I wanted to waste my time on and how I
doubted that the people that ran this program would choose me to be a part of it out of all the
other hundreds of students.

Even though I was against the idea of interviewing and trying to be accepted into the
Midnight Golf Program he made me promise that when the up and coming school year started I
would apply. I remember the day of the interview like it was yesterday and how nervous I was.
Seeing all of the other students that came from places like Country Day, Cass Tech, and
Renaissance which were the top schools in Detroit/Michigan at the time made me lose
confidence in myself even more. Thoughts began to run through my mind like I was not good
enough to be accepted in such a prestigious program and that there was no way in hell that they
would pick little ol me. However, this was not the case.
When I went into the interview room I was greeted by a woman named Sommer Woods
who would later be the one that interviewed me. Sommer asked me questions that range from my
career interest and personal interest and the reason why I wanted to be a part of the program.
Instead of lying to her and pretending that I knew anything about this organization/program, I
was honest and I told her that I was only applying because I promised Mr. Butts that I would
have, and he told me that this program had some of the most prominent mentors in the Detroit
area. I told her that the only thing that I wanted at the time was to be taught by people who were
respectable and commendable, I guess this is what sold her on me. Ms. Sommer told me that I
should be on the lookout for an email in the next week or two that listed all the participants that
were accepted in the program.
After meeting Ms. Sommer and the founders of the Midnight Golf program (Renee
Fluker, David Gamlin, and John Ambrose) I knew that I wanted to be a part of this program and
that it was a must that I got accepted into. Due to my excitement waiting on that email was
torture. I was dreading rather on not did I actually want to receive the email, because if I didnt I
would have been crushed and heartbroken. Six days had already passed without me receiving the
email so I just starting doubting that I was good enough even more, the that Sunday came (the
seventh day) and I received a notification from the Midnight Golf Program on my phone. I
remember running into the kitchen where my mother, grandmother, aunt, and cousins where, all

out of breath but filled with excitement and hope. I told my mother that I wanted her to read the
names and look for mines because I was to terrified and nervous to do it myself. Then she started
to get this look of disappointment on her face and empathy, so my heart fell down into my
stomach and tears started to form in my ears. Then suddenly she screamed out my baby got in,
oh my god my baby got in the feeling that I had was one that felt like I was liberated and on
cloud nine. I knew from that day forward that I would never be the same Azanean that I was
before.

On the first day, I had butterflies and I was so anxious and excited but terrified also.
Meeting all the people in the program was a scary thought at first. I did not know if I would fit in
or if they would like me or if the mentors would even want to have me as a mentee. But later I
found out that everybody was accepting and embraced me with so much love and care.
As a member of this prestigious program I had the opportunity to participate in
educational seminars, personal coaching sessions, group assignments (that helped build
upon my leadership ability), and field experience training. The attainment for the skills
started on the first day we met with are mentors and PGA coaches. The members in
Midnight Golf met with each other and our mentors every Monday and Wednesday inside of
Marygrove College, which is located in Detroit, Michigan. We all met inside of a big
conference room filled with lots of chairs, white boards, and food. This is where all the
magic happened and the life skills were taught. We also dined in this room as a family and
began to find out more about one another on a more personal level. In addition, to eating
marvelous food we had some of the most informative informal conversations of our lives.
Furthermore, we had the chance to attend guest speaker seminars in order to enhance
personal empowerment, professional enrichment, and public engagement. Lastly, this
program helped me learn how to become a professional business woman and an effective
leader because it taught me how to communicate, negotiate, and how to interview people
and be interviewed.
After learning all the skills that I needed to learn in order to become an active leader
who is respected by both men and women because of my professionalism and etiquette I
could see the total transformation that occurred within me. I was more confident, outspoken,
and ambitious. I knew that I had the potential to persuade anyone and to be able to walk
into an interview or meeting and know that I would and could leave a lasting impression on
people and make them want to know me on a more intimate level.
In closing, learning how to acquire professional and leadership skills was one of the
most rewarding things that someone has ever taught me. Without the people that mentored
me and taught me over the course of the years, I could never been able to get a job and get
promoted after only three weeks of working in that establishment, know how to eat formally,
write thank you notes just because it is a proper thing to do, have discourse with CEOs of
companies, and attend conferences such as the one that Reverend Jessie Jackson led
(The Rainbow Push Coalition). Lastly, I would not be confident in my abilities to get my point
across and persuade people to think in the same fashion as I do or want to work towards
the same goals that I have in life. Without the Midnight Golf Program I dont where I would

have attained my confidence or where I would have acquired my life skills and professional
skills, so for the rest of my life I will always be grateful for Mr. Butts. He pushed me in the
right direction and not only was he right about the Midnight Golf Program be able to change
my life, he was right about me becoming a totally new young woman. John C. Maxwell once
stated that Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flow charts. It is about one life
influencing another and this is exactly what Mr. Butts and The Midnight Golf program did
for me, Impacted My life.