In April, four Guild staff shared their experiences as immigrants to the United States in Suitcase Stories: Voices of the Guild. One of those storytellers is Linda Grace, who currently works at The Guild as a residential care professional. We recently caught up with Linda to learn more about her background.
Linda Grace was born and raised in a small family in Uganda, where she completed high school and obtained a university education. Currently, she is pursuing an MBA at Fitchburg State University. She aspires to become an entrepreneurial activist, specifically in Uganda, to inspire millennial startup businesses to solve the current prevailing unemployment challenges there.
Q: What was life like growing up in your country?
Linda: I was raised by my immediate family in what could be characterized as a protective and sheltered environment. When I started making friends, I realized how limited my exposure to other cultures had been while growing up. When I met my best friend (who was from Kenya) while in college, we discovered that we had few things in common in terms of culture but we both understood and appreciated each other for who we were. Our friendship was the seed to all other relationships I built over time because it gave me a chance to understand that developing relationships doesn’t necessitate sharing the same cultural background with someone.
Q: How did storytelling shape your life?
Linda: When you tell a story, you spark a connection, and this is how humans have communicated since the beginning of time – storytelling. This was my first experience with storytelling and learning how to choose, adapt, shape and deliver a message to the listener. After this experience, I’ll try to be more intentional about my stories.
Q: Tell us about your work at the Guild.
Linda: Working with individuals with intellectual disabilities has taught me a lot about myself, my values, and how I relate with others. It has made me see people and the world differently and has broadened my reality. This work has made me value open-mindedness and creativity in a way that can help me overcome barriers in life and work as part of a team with diverse cultural backgrounds.
Q: Do you feel storytelling has impacted your work at the Guild and how?
Linda: I have learned to appreciate the fact that storytelling is a window to our past and, if preserved, we can draw inspiration from it for the future. I appreciated my story more after I shared it with a larger audience. The feedback was inspiring, especially from my coworkers who recognized my resilience and commitment to teamwork. We are better and stronger together and we set the benchmark thereafter.
Watch Linda Grace's Suitcase Story: