At the culmination of each semester’s Engage Leadership Circle, students share their updated personal leadership philosophies. These philosophies are the culmination of a semester’s learning and reflection, and each is as unique as the participant themselves.
Class of 2022
“Personal growth is defined as the ongoing process of understanding and developing oneself in order to achieve one’s fullest potential and it is a vital part of a person’s growth, maturity, success and happiness. I grew up in the house that taught me to do everything and anything that I do to my best ability and I truly believe that has had a major effect on me throughout my entire life and within this program. I learned in a credible amount about myself during this program, and I am finally becoming the person I wanted to be forming my leadership identity. Your leadership identity is as unique as your own fingerprint, meaning your style of leadership is like no other. My mission as a leader is to encourage people to be the best they can be. Everyone has potential to do something great, sometimes it takes someone to tap into their potential and make them aware. Over the past couple of weeks many of you have challenged me and helped me tap into my untapped potential and I cannot thank you enough. The program is office puts on every year has shaped me into the person I am today, and I cannot thank the staff enough for giving me a chance and believing in me. My biggest takeaway from all the programs is that your passion drives your vision and mission. All of you in this room have something that you’re passionate about, I encourage you to continue to take the risks to make your life more fulfilling, as well as tap into your untapped potential. I believe all of us in this room had the ability to make an incredible impact, and I will be here to applaud all of your past and future success.”
Class of 2022
“As leaders, we all face unique challenges that helped us to be put in the positions we are in now. Personally, I’ve always admired those who are able to lead groups without seeming mean or angry. One of my first opportunities to be in a leadership position is when I became a an OL (orientation leader) at WSU. My first time hearing of the news I was nervous to be in such a position. “Do I have the social skills to lead?” “Would I be able to maintain the personality I thought I needed to do a good job?” As time in training went on, I began to realize that I can still be myself in these environments. This was like discovering fire for me. Playing on sports teams growing up I was never the most gifted or skilled athlete. But, like leadership, some are blessed with natural abilities and others have to use their talents and hard work to keep up with the team. Although I wasn’t gifted like my teammates, my input and ideas were acknowledged and accepted. That was my talent. My knowledge and appreciation for the game was not something I shied away from, I embraced it. I bring this up to say in life, we are all put into “unwritten” leadership roles and being the captain of the team or the best player doesn’t make you a leader. A leader is someone who understands there is no “I” in team but there is a “me” in it. About a week before my first session, a rapper radar podcast interview had been released with rapper Jim jones. When discussing his role in the diplomats, a famous rap group of the early 2000s, one statement truly stuck out to me. Jones was going from the group’s “runner” to arguably one of the best in the whole group, along with a successful and growing solo rap career. Jones states “you are a solider with the ability to be a leader”. So, I leave you with this, some of the greatest leaders were once soldiers on the battlefield, and some of the most brilliant and powerful people still see themselves as soldiers fighting battles greater than them. Are you ready to go in as a solider and grow as a true leader?”
Class of 2022
“I believe that as a leader you should respect everyone and treat the group like you want them to treat you. I believe a leader should be passionate about what they do, show empathy towards others and be kind to all. A leader should never give a task to a group member that they would not do themselves. A leader should be a good communicator and be reliable. A leader should be able to listen to others and ask for help when needed. A leader should also be a problem-solver and be easily approachable. A leader should be able to use and know their strengths while also
improving their weaknesses. I believe that a leader can learn the skills necessary but can also be born with many of these traits. Anyone can be a leader but it takes these skills in order to be an exceptional and outstanding leader.”
Class of 2022
“A leader is one who knows the way, the way, shows the way. When a leader knows the way, they are conscientious and knowledgeable. Using the past experiences and techniques they have learned helps the leader know the way. As a leader I hope to pass on what I have learned and what I value in a positive influential way. Being a leader who goes the way is a leader who demonstrates their values and morals. I want to be a leader who goes the way through doing their best to help those surrounding them by being inclusive and supportive of others. Being a leader who shows the way is what I value most about being leader. Showing the way as a leader means you are a good example and confident in yourself and your peers. One who shows the way extends their confidence and knowledge during an effort to help others succeed. Knowing the way, going the way, and showing the way are the three ways one can be an influential leader and extend their leadership qualities to others.”
Class of 2022
“My personal leadership has always come from a place of striving for growth. While there are so many different groups to lead with different ideals, goals and structures, what they have in common is room to grow.
A lot of the time, I think we get stuck in this idea that we need to be perfect. I know that especially when I became an RA, I immediately wanted to be perfect at the job. Obviously now, I can look back and see that this was an impossible standard for myself. Once I realized I wasn’t going to be flawlessly solving disagreements and shutting down parties while still being the chill RA that everyone likes, I realized that one thing I could surely do, was grow. I learned from mistakes, like this time when I walked by a clear-cut party and me and my fellow new RA stood outside the door whispering nervously until one of the residents came to the door and we had to pull it together. As time went on, I could see myself growing, as well as my residents growing relationships, with each other, with me, and towards their goals. And that is what being a leader is to me. Accepting mistakes, as lessons to grow from, and growing yourself so that you can better help others in your groups grow. And I have Sarah to thank for helping me grow.”
Class of 2023
“As a leader I believe strongly in individuality and community. I feel that every person should be encouraged to express themselves and to be welcomed in every environment. As a leader, I strive to be an ally to everyone including groups like the LGBTQ+ community, people of color, and people with disabilities. Over the past year of attending WSU, I have learned so much about different groups of people as well as inequity that exists in society. When I entered College, I wanted to challenge myself to embrace the uncomfortable and see New Perspectives. I wanted to step outside my own personal world and learn about bigger issues than those that directly affect only myself. I have made efforts to become involved and make a difference on campus. Whether it be through small means like being friendly and open-minded with the people I meet, or through larger means like going to Washington DC to Advocate on behalf of WSU students or supporting the WSU stand against hate rally. I know these efforts are just the beginning steps in making a true difference, but I am determined to continue these efforts in the next three years I have here. I will continue to support members of the WSU community and try to make everyone feel welcome. I want to help in the fight for equal opportunities and treatment for all people. I hope to carry these goals with me far beyond graduation; for instance, in my future career as an occupational therapist where I can Advocate on behalf of my clients and support them for who they are. Above all I want to make even the slightest different and others lives as a leader. I want to spread positivity and encouragement, and have others know they can rely on me to be there as a friend and to always stand up for what is fair.”
Class of 2022
“Growing up, I was a shy girl that just tried to flow with the crowd, but I never quite fit in. I went from school to school, constantly being an outsider, until I settle down in Hudson for most of my life, but I still had this lingering feeling of not fitting in. I never really felt like my voice mattered I let this feeling consume me and bring me down for too much of my life.
When I got accepted to Worcester State, Mark Wagner was calling me over and over trying to get me to join his civic engagement program before I even chose to attend the school. It greatly impacted my decision and my current outlook on the school; people believed in me and made me feel like I had a place before I even made the choice to go here. It opened up a door for me to learn more about myself and my uniqueness. I decided I was going to push myself out of my comfort zone. I was going to take advantage of opportunities that came my way that started with accepting Mark’s offer. Upon getting to college, I kept doing things out of my comfort zone. Like joining emerge leadership, or talking to all kinds of new people, or checking out clubs that came my way. I realize I had a lot more potential than I previously believed.
Because I know what it feels like to get overlooked, I noticed when other people are getting overshadowed so I reach out to them to hear their ideas. I listen to people. I make them feel heard. I told you what I believe in them because I really do. Everyone has the potential to accomplish ambitions and do great things – all it takes is one to cheer them on. Lastly, I tried to embrace people for who they are. Everyone has great things to offer… And maybe some things that will get under our skin too, but everyone deserves to be heard, accepted, and supported, just like I did. Because of my experiences, I’ve become a leader that works to make people feel like their voices are heard and included. That’s the lead I needed growing up and that’s the leader I am today.”
Class of 2022
“A leader may not always be the obvious person. Many people have this vision that a leader is someone who has no flaws and are incapable of making any mistakes. However, this is not the case. To be a leader does not require being Flawless in fact the best leaders are those who are perfectly imperfect. They are not only confident in their strengths but also acknowledge and secure and their weaknesses. These weaknesses are what makes us human and what makes us relatable. A leader being conscious their weaknesses allows them to work well with others who compliment their strengths and weaknesses. This provides opportunity for others to step up and emerge as leaders themselves. A leader is capable of taking a step back in allowing others to take lead when there is someone else better suited for the position. Leaders don’t suppress others from growing and becoming leaders themselves, instead they discover the untapped potential in people and encourage and assist others in their develop in growth as a leader.”
Class of 2022
“I want to be a leader who grows outside of her comfort zone (and inspires others to do the same) in order to grow both as a person and as a leader.
I believe that a leader should be:
Reliable – be someone people can trust and rely on to get the job done.
Open-minded – willing to accept a diverse range of both people and ideas.
Approachable – make people feel comfortable coming to them.
Confident – in themselves and their capabilities.
Creative – think outside of the box to create a new and inventive solutions to problems.
Team-oriented – take initiative and do whatever is best for the group as a whole.
Positive – bring a positive energy to the group.
Lighthearted – always try to bring a smile to people’s faces.
Kind – be compassionate, caring and willing to lend a helping hand.
Passionate – show interest, excitement, motivation and motivate others as well.”
Class of 2021
“What defines a leader? It is a question that has been floating around in my head for the past two semesters. Is it the individual who stands in front of a crowd to deliver a powerful message? Is it a person who is committed to their beliefs, and represents them with full integrity? Can everybody be a leader? Who am I as a leader?
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 might be confident in your purpose. I doesn’t matter if other people don’t believe in you, the most important thing is that you believe in yourself. That makes you a powerful leader, because sometimes the hardest person to convince to believe in you is in fact yourself.
Being in Engage and Emerge has taught me a very important lesson, that I’m privileged to have a voice, and not using it would be a disservice to those who may not realize their views matter. It’s important to remember that a leader is not a stand alone 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 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 stand tall and proud.
It is essential to remember that not everything will go as planned, it doesn’t have to. It’s okay if your thoughts don’t line up with the person who is next to you. 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.”