Future Global Leaders Thrive at NOLS Rocky Mountain

By Molly Herber

May 12, 2015

“This was an opportunity to learn from a diverse group of future leaders whose backgrounds reshaped my perspective of what true leadership is!” – Oghenefego Ahia, Future Global Leader


fgl-leaders-rocky-mountains Students pause for a break in Bonneville Basin in the Wind River Range of the Rockies. Photo by NOLS Instructor Darcy Mullen.

By Michele Cantos, Program Manager for the Future Leaders Foundation

During the summer of 2014, our inaugural class of 2014 Future Global Leader (FGL) Fellows embarked on the first phase of the FGL Fellowship: The FGL Leadership Expedition with NOLS. For three weeks, these students from 12 different nationalities backpacked over 80 miles of rugged terrain through an (unseasonably) rainy August in Wyoming’s Rocky Mountains. Although previously strangers to the wilderness and one another, they united and overcame immense challenges, such as crossing an 800 ft-steep temple pass, walking miles uphill, suffering allergic reactions to insect bites, and adjusting to having no modern-day accommodations or technology (no cell phones allowed!). In the end, they shed their old selves and became a strong and wise team ready for any challenge.

One of these fellows, Cherline Bazile, shared that, “the most valuable lessons I learned is that the road to resilience does not have to be a lonely one. While climbing an 11,000 ft high mountain, I discovered I had a fear of heights but I made it to the top because of the support I had!”

Why did we choose NOLS?

Our main goal was to find a program that would strengthen our Fellows’ bond with one another, and to provide them with lifelong leadership skills and confidence needed to reach the highest levels of success. NOLS was the perfect match for us!

Our FGL Fellows are an elite group of resilient first-generation college students selected for their academic excellence, global ambition, and desire to give back to others through their success. Our newly elected 2015 FGL Fellows represent 17 nationalities, speak 19 languages, and all hail from top universities in the US, France, Singapore, and China. Among them: Harvard University, Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University, Brown University, Columbia University, Wellesley College, University of California, Berkeley, Yale-National University of Singapore, and Peking University.

They are aspiring leaders and change-makers acting on the simple premise that our world is increasingly interconnected and in need of strong and compassionate leadership – leadership which is not achieved without a strong network of support. It is our vision that through our programming – including NOLS, fully-funded internships abroad, mentorship, and a global network – they will have the tools necessary to help them reach their ambitions.

Where are they now?

Since NOLS, our 2014 FGL Fellows have achieved some incredible milestones, like securing summer internships in 17 different countries! Jeremiah will shadow his mentor in Paris and then intern with a German start-up. Emma and Louise will be interning in businesses in Dubai, while Hamidah will be in Lima. Heather and Justin will be interning for a major bank in London, and Jackie and Nabig will be interning in nearby Brussels and Geneva. The list goes on, but as our Fellows prepare for their next challenge they all keep the lessons learned at NOLS in their minds.

As one of our fellows said to me after the course, “If I can climb a mountain, I can succeed at anything!”

View pictures from last year’s FGL Leadership Expedition with NOLS on Flickr.

Learn more about how you can design a custom course for your club, team, or office on the NOLS Professional Training webpage.

Written By

Molly Herber

Molly is a NOLS instructor and writer. She loves the smell of her backpack and does her best writing before 7:00 am. When she's not scouting the next post for the NOLS Blog, she's running and climbing on rocks in Wyoming. Follow her on Instagram @mgherber

Up Next