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2019 Emerge Leadership Philosophies

At the culmination of each semester's Emerge Leadership Circle, students share their personal leadership philosophies. These philosophies are the culmination of a semester's learning and reflection, and each is as unique as the participant themselves.

At the culmination of each semester’s Emerge Leadership Circle, students share their personal leadership philosophies. These philosophies are the culmination of a semester’s learning and reflection, and each is as unique as the participant themselves.

Christine Babbitt
Class of 2022

“One of my core values is growth. I have reflected on this value for the past few weeks and realized it is my goal to find growth in the experiences and opportunities I encounter throughout life. Another aspect of my leadership philosophy is that perfection is not the goal. There is an underlying pressure for leaders to be perfect, infallible. But in order for leaders to be effective we must be approachable and relatable. Otherwise, we risk not making those connections with others that help them to achieve their goals.

As an RA, at times the ways you help your residents are clear, such as when you help design someone’s schedule or make a door tag with their preferred name. And it feels great when your residents say “Hi” in the hallways. But there are lows too, like when just last week one of your residents asked, “Wait! You’re my RA?” Or when you find yourself counseling a friend about a pregnancy scare.

Over the summer I worked as a camp counselor with 12 young girls. There were many challenges working with this age group. Sometimes they listened to what I said. Often I had to repeatedly ask for quiet and good listening ears in order for them to follow instructions, yet somehow someone always walked into the lake.

As an RA, leadership challenges can be hard when you are responsible to a group. You must balance coursework, friends, family and relationships. You need to do your best to stay healthy and rested so you can do your best work when you are on schedule. And sometimes things don’t go as well as you would have planned. But finding the growth opportunities, the ability to learn from things that didn’t go well, is what sets you apart from the crowd as a leader. I have enjoyed making connections with people who I wouldn’t have otherwise met. I have learned to work as a team in stressful situations, as well as how to create community connections based on a foundation of the values of fun, well-being and growth.

I realized early on in the semester that this wasn’t going to be as easy as when I worked as a camp counselor with 12 little girls who kinda listened to what I said. But that ties to the other part of my leadership philosophy- that growth is the goal, not perfection. Mistakes are a reality of life, they happen everyday on big and small scales. There is an underlying pressure for a leader to be perfect- but also to be relatable and approachable. And if we were perfect then we wouldn’t be relatable since who is? Growth is what makes a leader stand out above the crowd- they’re moving towards that vision of perfection while falling down but knowing how to shake the dust off and keep going.

Gabrielle Decosta
Class of 2023

“Now, I know this may come as a surprise to you all considering that I spoke up a lot during this program, but I am actually quite quiet and introverted. I’m a listener and observer, and I do my best to examine each facet of a particular situation before expressing my opinion. So for me, being a leader is stepping out of the safe space that is my inner thoughts and actually putting them to action by guiding others. I encourage my peers to share their thoughts and ideas, regardless of if I agree with them, because one of my defining beliefs is that diversity is critical aspect of a successful team, and being willing to consider new perspectives is a critical aspect of a successful leader. Holding everyone’s relevant perspectives equal to one another is necessary too, as this ensures everyone is contributing equally to the task at hand. With these beliefs comes my personal values of leading in such a way that is open minded and accepting. I embrace other’s unique perspectives and can accept constructive criticism which will benefit my peers’ productivity and my own leadership journey. Besides just accepting my team members, I also as a leader accept myself in order to reach my fullest potential. Though I try my hardest, I am not perfect, but accepting my flaws is an important step for me to be a good leader. I hope to lead by example and demonstrate to others that they can accept themselves too. It’s about guiding, not dictating, and creating a space where everyone feels that their voice is being heard. By embracing my core values as a leader, I hope to set an example for others to be more open minded and accepting too, and make the world a better place for all of us to live in.”

Andrew Farrington
Class of 2022

“After being selected for this program, I had to think hard about why. I never really defined myself as a leader, so understanding why I was selected to participate has been on my mind for quite a few weeks. Each leader is different, and each leader follows a different guideline, and this guideline is called the Leadership Philosophy. A self-examination of my habits in groups and in different roles has shown that leadership is more than standing up in front of people and giving a speech. Being a leader is bringing passion into everything one does, and setting an example through actions, as cliche as that seems.

Having a passion to continue to be better is so important as a leader. Stagnant effort only leads to regression. Progress comes from an individual or group making an effort to move forward. This is an important energy for a leader to provide.

Having a voice for those who do not believe what they have to say matters is important. It is important for everyone to have concerns and ideas shared. Each voice and each opinion matters equally, so being expressive for those around you when you are in a leadership role is a big part of my leadership philosophy.

Being able to roll and adapt to changing situations is an important quality for a leader to have. Events do not always go as expected. However, it is important to stay even keeled and search for a solution. This means preparation is incredibly important, as is planning for the unexpected.

The most important role of a leader is to lead by example. Not every leadership role expects a speech, or shaking hands or being incredibly diplomatic. In many situations, for me, the best leader is one exhibits behaviors that should be repeated, not just discussing them. A leader that can lead by actions, not words, speaks volumes as to what is expected, not only by everyone else, but by him/herself. This leadership quality holds everyone, including the leader, to the same standards. It shows respect and equal treatment.”

Julia Fitzpatrick
Class of 2021

“Leadership comes in many styles and forms and reflect upon the personalities and values of each individual. I value honesty, creativity, fairness, and use these values when making decisions. Important strengths I possess are listening, analyzing skills, and problem solving. As a leader, it is a priority that I take the time to listen to what each group member has to offer, and analyse both the responses and the task at hand before reaching any important decisions. It is important that I not only utilize my strengths to best benefit the group, but that I also encourage others to identify and utilize their strengths as well.

Furthermore, it is important to recognize that not everyone is going to have the confidence to offer their ideas, especially in a larger group setting. Because of that, as a leader I want to create an environment that encourages the active participation of everyone and helps people to step out of their comfort zones and share their valuable ideas and insights. Truly when everyone comes together and shares their ideas each unique, formulated from their own perspective great things can come of it. The quote “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” by John Quincy Adams encapsulates a significant part of my leadership philosophy.

An important goal of leadership is to help to inspire people to become the best that they can be, and encourage people to take the steps to become the great leaders that they can be.”

Erica Hanlon
Class of 2023

“Canadian-American public speaker and author, Brian Tracy, once said “The best leaders have a high Consideration Factor. They really care about their people.” I feel this quote exemplifies my style of leadership. I am a highly compassionate person; I care a lot about other people, their feelings, their wellbeing, and how I can help and support them. Compassion has been a major factor of my leadership for as long as I can remember. Starting a young age, caring for the wellbeing of others drove my ability to advocate for myself and others. In sixth grade, my best friend, who was in special education classes, was being taunted by another student. It made her hate coming to school, but she was very shy and afraid that if she spoke up the bullying would get worse. I felt horrible that she was being treated so unfairly just because of her learning disability, so one day I decided to tell the bully to stop. Even though it was scary, I knew it was the right thing to do and I broke through the barrier of fear to advocate and push for fairness. Even at a young age, I strongly believed that everyone should be treated equally and from that point forward, I was never scared to use my voice to fight for equality. In high school, it was my genuine care for individuals on my cross country team that helped me become captain of the team. It was my desire to help represent the needs of other students that helped me be elected to student government. I believe compassion is an essential characteristic of a leader because they truly care about their followers and the people they are helping. A compassionate leader will not take over in a group, or dismiss a subordinate part of a group or society. They will always accept everyone for their personal identities, and they will hear and value their voices. In college, I will continue to use my voice and stay true to myself as a leader. I will use my abilities to better the lives of others around me and work to further develop and grow as a leader in the future.”

Kyle Lindberg
Class of 2023

“A leader is someone who is able to convey their ideas and work with others in order to solve a problem. Yet a leader is also able to listen and sift through other ideas presented within a group to determine what is the best option to take or direction to go in. A leader is someone who is able to disrupt chaos and create order amongst peers while also being sure that everyone’s concerns are properly addressed and discussed. A leader is able to be adaptable and ever changing. In some situations a leader has to be more stern and others a more soft spoken and easy going leader is required to get the most production out of a specific group of people. A leader can work with these different groups of people and change their strategy to best work with said group. Lastly, a leader is someone that others can look up to. Someone that people can go to for advice. A leader must have a strong and more importantly a good moral compass and set of values. A leader will set an example for others and that example should be a good one.”

Marissa Luchini
Class of 2022

My leadership philosophy is all about growth and blossoming into the leader that I hope to be. I want to be a leader who goes outside of her comfort zone in order to grow both as a person and as a leader, and I want to inspire others to do the same.

Overall, I want to be a leader who is:

Confident: I believe that a leader should be confident in his or her abilities and trust that they have what it takes to be a successful leader.

Reliable: I believe that a leader should be someone that people can trust to get the job done on time and go above and beyond what is asked of them.

Passionate: I believe that a leader should show interest, excitement, and motivation to complete a project and should motivate their group members as well.

Open-Minded: I believe that a leader should be willing to accept a diverse range of both people and ideas in order to make the best decision possible for the group.

Approachable: I believe that a leader should make people feel comfortable coming to them to express a concern or bring up a new idea.

Lighthearted: I believe that a leader should always try to bring a smile to people’s faces and use humor to brighten people’s day.

Team-Oriented: I believe that a leader should take initiative and always do what is best for the group as a whole.

Creative: I believe that a leader should be able to create new and inventive solutions to problems, combining and encompassing the ideas presented by the whole group.

Kind: I believe that a leader should always be compassionate, caring, and willing to lend a helping hand.

Alvin Marchena
Class of 2022

“Every chance you have in life to make an impact on others is an opportunity to help yourself. I believe that we grow as humans when we work towards something greater than what we are. While many people say that we should be proud of ourselves and what we do, I think we should try to be humble, and this directly influences my leadership style. Regardless of what position I have in a given group, I treat everyone with the same amount of respect. This allows others to respect me, but at the same time trust me as a leader. I usually do not tend to take the spotlight; I am more comfortable with praising others for their work and letting them feel accomplished. A person who feels appreciated by his superiors is more likely to contribute productive ideas for his team. In other words, I would rather be the type of leader who guides others towards new destinations while letting them build the road. Finding a great team and empowering them to make decisions is a crucial part of my leadership philosophy because a leader cannot expect to surpass expectations if nobody else is confronting his ideas.

One of my long-term career goals is to make it into the political field. However, I do not want to be a congressperson or another elected officer. I would much rather contribute my ideas to other candidates as an advisor, budget manager, or an economic policymaker. This connects back to the fact that I feel much better when I am helping others make it into influential positions while keeping myself away from the spotlight. As a leader, I empower others to make their own decisions and ultimately enjoy the benefits. This makes them feel productive and appreciated which is the greater goal of our team. No man is an island.”

Cayce Pappas
Class of 2021

“What defines a leader? Is it the individual who stands in front of a crowd to deliver a powerful message? Is it the person who is committed to their beliefs, and represents them with full integrity? I stand behind two beliefs; that anybody can be a leader and that everybody was put on the world for a reason, no matter the fact that they may be more reserved or outspoken. A leader can come in all shapes and sizes, you just must be confident in your purpose.

As a leader, I am privileged to have a voice, and not using it would be a disservice to those who may not realize that their views matter. It’s important to remember that a leader isn’t a standalone individual; they encompass the ideas and voices of so many others. This is why a significant characteristic of a leader is, not only being able to look back on who guided them down their path, but also looking ahead to the people they hope to reach out to. A leader doesn;t have to stand behind something large, but if you’re going to stand for something then stand tall and proud.

It’s essential to remember that not everything will go as planned, it doesn’t have to. How a person reacts to the situation, is how their leadership skills are defined. I want to make as many positive impacts on this Earth while I have the chance. Hopefully my actions will have an influence on others to take a stand for what they believe. Finally, if you were to take away anything, recognize that a leader doesn’t necessarily look for someone to stand behind them, but next to them, in order to guide one another.”

Camiron Reyes
Class of 2021

“My reasons for being a leader stemmed from wanting to be more outgoing and confident. I have always loved being part of a team but I have always wanted to try leading a group and taking on more leadership positions. To start on this goal of mine, I applied to be an orientation leader and it was a huge growing experience for me. After taking on that responsibility, I really enjoyed learning how to lead and how to be a good leader. This made me want to learn more about leadership, and when I got nominated for emerge I was very grateful and excited to give it a try. These days I feel a lot more confident leading presentations, groups, etc. I don’t think I would be as confident in my skills and leadership if it wasn’t for emerge and the workshops like the problem solving workshop. Although activities where you have to problem solve can be bothersome, it helps us remember that in life sometimes we have to solve problems without clear cut answers. Overall, I think that being a leader means to be the best you that you can be, always putting your best foot forward, and giving your goal everything that you can. For me, this was tough because I was often afraid of failure, so I wouldn’t give my all to anything I did due to fear. After my growth so far throughout my college experience, I learned that I shouldn’t be afraid of failing, but I should be afraid of not giving something my best effort. That’s what made me the leader I am today.”

Michelle Rivas
Class of 2020

“Es la habilidad que tenemos las personas de influenciar a otras. Esta influencia puede ocurrir por medio de nuestras palabras o por medio de nuestras acciones.

Esa influencia que se ejerce sobre otras personas puede ser para provocar un cambio en ellas o simplemente para ganar la simpatía de esas personas.

Liderazgo es lo que ejerció Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar con todos sus compañeros de batalla.

Liderazgo era aquella pasión y deseo de Simón Bolívar por libertar todos los países a los cuales él libertó. 

Liderazgo es lo que ha hecho que Greta Thunberg decida cambiar el curso del planeta.

Liderazgo es lo que ejerce en mí, día tras día, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, a través de todas sus obras.

Liderazgo es lo que ha hecho que las canciones de René Pérez, mejor conocido como Residente Calle 13, se hayan convertido en una crítica social.

Liderazgo es lo que motivó a Juan Pablo Duarte a pelear por la libertad del pueblo dominicano.

Liderazgo fue lo que Frida Kahlo ejerció en mí, a través de su fuerza de voluntad, su pasión y su amor por lo que ella hacía. 

Liderazgo es lo que mis profesores ejercen diariamente en mí, mediante la dedicación que cada uno tiene a su trabajo y la inspiración que cad uno me provoca.

Liderazgo es el fervor que me motiva a ser como soy, a ayudar a todo aquel que necesite de mi ayuda, a ser una voz para las personas de habla hispana en mi comunidad, a ser diferente.

Liderazgo es es sentimiento que nace dentro de nosotros y que nos motiva a pelear contra las injusticias.

Liderazgo es aquello que nos ayuda a tomar la iniciativa cuando nadie se atreve a hacerlo.

Liderazgo es lo que ustedes (Sarah and Linzy) han ejercido en mí, para que yo, hoy en día, escriba esta disertación.”

Edwin Rodriguez-Rivera
Class of 2022

Everyone has their own ideas as to what a leader should be. Most of them correlate and some aren’t even near. Personally I’ve never looked into what I do myself that makes me a leader until now. I’ve noticed that I myself tend to do things on a daily basis that a leader would do. For example when they say “A good leader is a good listener.” since I’m a good listener and like to hear people out, and understand everyone’s point of view it is my way of explaing to myself what a leader is. It is the first step to being a leader. I believe a leader is someone who is humble, knowledgeable, has determination, has mutual respect, gives credit, coaches, says we not me, makes tough decisions, takes responsibility, and motivates a team regardless of the situation.

I feel that as a leader it is important to lead by example and to know that sometimes actions do speak louder than words. A leader is mindful to everyone’s capabilities and skills, and knows that they will all work together hand in hand later on.

As a leader you have to be very decisive, and you have to understand that communication is key. Communication is key to a leader because the people you are working with will have a clear understanding as to why you made a certain decisión. 

I believe that having leader traits is a privilege and an opportunity to inspire others and direct others in a positive way and lead them to the right way of doing certain things.

Owen Slattery
Class of 2023

“Being a leader is not for everyone.  It takes a special kind of person to display leadership qualities.  To be a great leader, you must be able to rally the troops when times are tough and find success.  When these times arise, deal with the cards you’re dealt and make the most of it. To be a prominent leader, you must not only tell people what to do, but show people the correct way of getting through obstacles.  It’s all about being able to not only talk the talk but having the ability to walk the walk. Don’t dwell on how the challenge is difficult, but get it done and more importantly get it done in a timely manner. A capable leader will deal with extreme conditions and achieve success regardless of the task.  To be a respected leader, no discrimination will be taking place. To have an effective leadership style, a strong ethical code and good morals are not only a want, but they are required.”

Catalina Ulloa-Hiltz
Class of 2023

“My mission as a leader is to ensure all feel welcomed and are heard. One’s opinion or voice does not hold any more importance over the next person’s. Making connections and discovering commonalities among peers allows for basic conversation in which is the anchor for human interaction and cultivating friendships.

Although my leadership style is not one that is very outspoken, I firmly believe in the notion of “leading by example.” Actions speak louder than words and holding yourself to a higher standard will be easily seen and respected by others. Past experiences, as well as the present, have shaped me as an individual and as the leader I am today. My leadership style continues to form as I further discover myself and my abilities. Recognizing that there is always room for improvement allows me to strive and be the best version for not only myself but for others as well.

A leader is someone that has gained the trust and respect of their peers, they are someone that takes everyone’s opinions into consideration and puts others before themselves. All while having the best interest in mind for the group and for the collective end goal. This is the type of leadership I value and strive to embody on a daily basis.

Obtaining a personal leadership philosophy creates clarity in one’s decision making and actions, it makes your mission as a leader clear and concise to everyone and allows for self-reflection. Being a leader is not all about making sure you are receiving the credit for a job well done, but rather knowing within yourself what you have accomplished and moving forward. Leading in a subtle, meaningful manner is just as important as those leaders that are naturally outspoken. Being a positive leader, I hope to both inspire and aid in the success of my own peers by staying true to my philosophy and executing all that I value as a leader.”

Jessica Wicks
Class of 2022

The Leader in Me

I could just say I’m a leader and leave it at that
But many of you wonder, what makes this a fact
So let’s take a quick journey so you can see
What makes me know, there’s a leader in me

The leader in me believes in being honest
How can I lead, if it’s me they cannot trust
The leader in me understands the importance of being kind
Even the smallest acts, can bring peace to others mind
The leader in me knows that at times, others will be the ones ahead
True leadership comes from the ability to be humbly led
The leader in me believes in displaying leadership in my walk, day to day
How can I expect others to follow, if my actions don’t match what I say
The leader in me knows that in some things I fail
Being a leader requires determination, so even in setbacks, I’ll learn and prevail
The leader in me believes in having a strong spiritual foundation
Because with God, there are no limits, on how I can help build this and future generations.
Most importantly, The leader in me operates in love
For it is love, I know, is at the root of the leader in me

Thank you for allowing me to share with you the leader in me
It is my prayer that in my words and actions, a leader, you will always see

Sarah Potrikus is the Assistant Director in the Office of Student Involvement & Leadership Development at Worcester State University. She is a trained Strengths Coach and certified True Colors facilitator. When not helping to develop and facilitate student leadership programs and workshops, Sarah advises student organizations and assists with the WSU Orientation programs. She resides in Worcester, MA.

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