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.

Alison Senecal
Class of 2023

“Throughout my life, it has always been easy for me to sit in the background and blend in. A lot of people consider me the quiet observer of the groups. I used to think that meant I would not be able to be the leader of anything, and that I would always be stuck on the sidelines following someone else. However, the more that I learn about myself I realize that you do not necessarily have to be that stereotypical extroverted person that is the “life of the party” in order to lead. As the famous climate activist Greta Thunberg said, “I have learned you are never too small to make a difference.” I thoroughly believe this, as I think that as long as someone is determined to get something done they can. Although I may not always be super outgoing or the loudest person in the room, that does not mean I cannot make a difference. Instead of calling myself too quiet to be a leader, I value natural strengths such as my intuition and observation skills that allow me to make careful, honest and thoughtful decisions.

 To me, leadership is about believing in yourself when nobody else does. It is not about looking or sounding the role, or getting the trophy at the end. Leadership is being confident enough in yourself that you are able to convince others to take action in what you believe is right. Therefore, I view leadership in a different light. When I see a group of people I am leading, I put emphasis on appreciating everyone for their different skill sets. I value having a diverse group of people in which everyone is appreciated, and is able to voice their opinions. There is not one definition of a leader, they all come in different forms. Now that I am a Senior about to graduate, my goals as far as growing into the leader I strive to be is being inclusive, honest, and to be proactive. As I move forward into the workforce, I know that these qualities will help me be the best leader I can be. “

Amanda Brodeur
Class of 2023

“I am not your average leader. I do not strive to take the reins and control the sled of leadership by myself. I do not push myself to be the head of the pack and demand the respect of my peers. I am not quick to jump at every opportunity presented to me, but I am still a leader. You see, I have always believed a leader must do just that- lead. But what I didn’t know was there is more than one way to be a leader, there is more than one definition to a leader, and there are hundreds of adjectives that describe how a leader can be. While one person throws out ideas, I am in the back analyzing every action in question. While another person tells someone they are wrong, I am thinking of the reasons they may be right. I will remove myself from the circle to think critically and logically about the task standing before us. I am not the control center of the machine; I am not the coach of the team. I am the “what-if’s” and the consequences. I am the fallback when things go wrong. I am the marshmallow that holds the spaghetti tower together. I bring the logic behind what we bring in our lifeboat. I am aware of my strengths and even more aware of my weaknesses. So no, I am not your average leader, but that doesn’t mean that I am not a great one.”

Audra Miller
Class of 2025

“I say to you this morning

That if you have never found something so dear and so precious to you

That you will die for it, then you aren’t fit to live.

These immensely moving lines are spoken by no other than the Civil Rights Movement leader and activist, Martin Luther King Jr.. I crossed paths with this amazingly powerful speech through my favorite musical Pop artist, Justin Bieber, within his most recently released album “Justice”. The minute and forty-four second section taken from Dr. King’s speech immediately became something I constantly reflected on. Dr. King soon became one of my biggest role models. Being introduced to this at the beginning of the year during the pandemic changed my mindset as a leader. Growing up I had always been involved and I had always viewed myself as a “leader” and not a “follower”. I was one to always speak up for what was right and always stuck to my beliefs, but of course always kept an open mind. Prior to this strong message from Dr.King I had already been taking part in activism. I no longer just spoke my thoughts in individual conversations, I had the power to fight injustice and can take part in activism. Despite marching in several different Black Lives Matter protests and fighting constantly for equality for all, I never really thought about how much this meant to me. The more I learned the more I wanted to fight for what was right and to be an even stronger voice. Once I heard the words of Dr. King and was brought to tears once it concluded, I knew this was what I view as a strong leader. Someone that will find that part of their life that is so “dear” and so “precious” that they would do anything and everything to fight for it. Despite the ridicule, the judgment, someone that will never let go of this passion they consistently advocate for. It’s something I want to carry on with me as a teacher. The children I work for and their lives are what I find so “dear” and “precious”. I have never felt more joy than when I work with kids, and I’m always told I work very well with them. Being able to build that trust connection with the kids as well as be a strong leader will increase the beneficial outcome for them. It will help fulfil my duty to assist them and understand that not everyone’s the same and that people have different beliefs, and that’s okay. All the opinions of every child matters and they need to recognize that in order for themselves to move forward as leaders and not followers. And thanks to Dr. Martin Luther King, I will never stop fighting for what I believe in and I will continue to spread his powerful message to future colleagues and generations of students.”

Briana Chang
Class of 202
3

“A leader is not an individual who is perfect. A leader is an individual that has the background knowledge and confidence to take charge. One who can guide others when situations become complicated. A leader knows when it is the right time to step up and aid others no matter the task. Actively listening to their peers constantly gaining feedback and to learn new perspectives to grow. Never intentionally ignoring the comments or thoughts that aren’t theirs. Trying to become better as both a leader & individual. Growing only stops when you prevent it from occurring. Being a leader is being a resource to your fellow pars as well as an asset. Not to neglect or steamroll others. Everyone deserves the respect and same opportunities! A leader should be the first individual to encourage this mindset and overall environment. In the end of the day, you are not only serving to the customers or clients, but you are also serving your fellow peers and coworkers. I try to apply this mindset in the way that I lead. I tend to be loud and that combined with my high energy, can be intimidating which is why I tend to speak in the right moments. I am currently a junior supervisor in the Conference and Event Office within campus. I have been working with the office for four semester and even a summer. I have learned so much from my time there and have immense knowledge that I would love to share. Due to COVID, there was basically a year where my job either didn’t exist or took on a different roll than normal. Making it hard to have fellow co-works as well as true training time. This is the first semester where everything is going back to our original roll, which means there are a large group of new workers to train. There are multiple stories that I could talk about, but one that happened recently just stuck out. A few weekends ago there was a client on campus in Sullivan Auditorium. It was a Saturday afternoon and a trade had fallen between two of my coworkers that had led to nobody being present on shift. There was an audio complication, and I was then asked by my professional staff if I could go in to assist and be there until the next person on shift came in. I went in knowing the client from the prior experience with them the night before. I warned my coworker after that they tend to stay past their booking time of midnight and that if he needed anything to just text me. Later that night around 12:30AM, my coworker texted me asking what he should do because the client was in fact still in the space and had no clue when they were planning to leave. He was unable to gain contact with our professional staff due to the time and I was the next person he could think of. I talked him through all the necessary steps and people to talk to gain the answers he needed. In the end he was able to figure it out and was apperceive that I was there for him. I felt great about how I was able to use my past knowledge to help in a situation they were unfamiliar with. At the end of the day, I am a leader who has confidence with their prior experience and knowledge to pass onto others when necessary. I look forward to growing as a leader especially when it comes to formal public speaking and engaging others in a non-work setting. I am just not as comfortable for example even right now I’m shaking on the inside. But this will on add to my growth of me as a leader.”

Caitlin Kincaid
Class of 2023

“To me, leadership means willingness, inclusion, dedication, humility, vision, integrity, and self-awareness. Essentially, I believe a leader should be open-minded and be inclusive of those working with them; someone who cares about their team members feelings, and ensures that they feel valued in whatever setting they may be in. An effective leader never stops learning and is someone who is constantly seeking knowledge and growth. Someone who is an active listener who listens with the intent to understand, reply, and to improve their own communication skills. 

Leadership is about influencing collaboration, creating a safe space to make and admit mistakes to learn from them. This also involves a profound sense of self-awareness, and an understanding that perfection is unattainable; even within themselves. Self-awareness also includes the ability for an individual to utilize their strengths, while also naming and claiming their limitations and working to improve them. Leaders in my opinion should not be in their position due to their desire to achieve power or status, rather leaders should understand their responsibility to something larger than themselves; and work to uplift their teams as well. 

Lastly, I think leadership is authentic, and involves willingness to become vulnerable, open up, change, and seek help when needed. To me, Leadership is not about the titles, positions, or status; it is about impacting others and the community you are a part of while also doing the inner work to reach your highest potential. “

Dariel Canela
Class of 2022

“What are your reasons for being a leader? First I gotta answer why me? I’ve always been told I’m a leader but never understood why. Is it cause people are naturally drawn to me, or is it because I seem confident even if I’m actually freaking out with no clue on how I’m going to get through tomorrow.

Naturally I’ve always been comfortable at the front of the pack leading, not by commanding people to do task and expecting the most, but rather by showing and teaching in my own way. Creating my own path that people can follow not by stepping in someone else’s shadow but by crafting my own and hoping to inspire others to the same. I heard a quote that stuck with me from the minute I heard it, “were born to lead but need someone to lead us”

I had this vision of what I wanted to say with this but honestly its time to just let it flow and do what I do best.”

Emmy Diaz Sanchez
Class of 2025

“My mission as a leader is first, to know I have a responsibility to work on being the best version of myself and second is to take my experiences to help those I potentially lead in the future. I value progress and not perfection and I hope and expect myself to be the kind of leader that others won’t be afraid to make mistakes around, but will continue to see a learning opportunity instead of “ failures.” I believe that every day we have choices to make in our different lives but
it’s really important to choose the right one for your growth. These choices aren’t easy but they’re worth it in the end. That is what I have learned from this program. From continuing to come and give out as much energy as I could I have learned that it is up to yourself to take away the best from your experiences. With that being said, we may not always do that but I value that we are fortunate enough to have every day to do so.”

Grace Adams
Class of 2024

“At the core of every human being lies their sense of humor, regardless if it is good or not, and it is nearly impossible to say that laughter does not act as a natural pick-me-up. With that being said, humor not only lies in my core, but also within the way I view leadership, as well as life. An important aspect to being any type of leader is the ability to develop some sort of connection with individuals, while also opening them up to new ideas and perspectives. This idea also goes in the opposite direction, where leaders are open minded and altering their own perspectives. Humor ties into the development of connectivity between leaders and those around them by acting as a bridge, linking the two together. Another value that springs from this connection is authenticity, where the relationship between leaders and individuals is easy-going, genuine, but professional all at the same time. My leadership philosophy is characterized by these values, and by embracing the innate qualities, such as humor, relationships are created, regardless if that relationship’s foundation is the laughter shared between two individuals.”

Jordan Staples
Class of 2024

“If I were to put you on the spot right now what would your definition of leadership be? You have 5 seconds-5-4-3-2-1-Time ups! Did you think of someone who is in charge? Someone taking the lead? Why did you picture Teddy Roosevelt? Oh wait was that just me? Well, he was a leader. He did some leading. But what is a leader and what attributes are important? I’ve just asked a lot of questions but now I’ll do some explaining. So sit down and listen. Leadership is not about knowing all the answers or taking over everything. It is not leading America through a world war and opening national parks. Instead, it is about guidance, perseverance, an open mind, empathy, acceptance, and kindness. 

Life was throwing a lot of rocks my way in 10th grade. I was in a new school, a new town, and a car had splashed me on my way to soccer try outs. It was the summer before school started, so I knew no one at all walking up to the field. I was a new face, one that stood out with my bulky sports glasses, both rows of braces, and short hair. To sum it up, I was easy pickings for the older girls. It was terrible, I was tripped, targeted, nothing I did got them off my back. Until my savoir arrived, late to try outs because of another sport’s try out period. Without hesitation she introduced herself and kept by me, keeping everyone else at bay. She made sure it stayed that way the rest of the semester. Contact information was swapped and I was able to walk home that day and tell my mom I had made my first friend. The instinctive kindness she showed makes me want to have the same no-hesitation acceptance. 

However, I am not perfect, I am not born a leader but I learn to be there when needed. It is one of my expeditions of life to give the world another leader that is worthy of the title. Well, okay maybe not just another leader. I mean there have been some terrible leaders so I do not desire to add to that list. I want to be a leader that can take pride in the changes I’ve made. In thirty years I want to be able to look back and be happy without regrets. I know I won’t do everything right, but that doesn’t mean I can’t try. Leaders are not meant to know everything in every situation but they are meant to do the right thing. As a people pleaser, I have the edge, since I am a person for the people in any situation. But there is always room for improvement. And that is one of the best parts of being a leader. I can always get better at it over time and with practice. So the more I help lead others, the better I become as a leader. The more I open my mind the more I learn and explore to help others. Nothing can stand in the way of me becoming a good leader for those who need it. So what’s next? What are you going to throw at me world?”

Keanna Rudd
Class of 2024

“When asked what it means to be a leader many things flood my mind, especially all of the words and phrases we placed on those posters the first time we all sat in this room together. Words like empathetic, reliable, hardworking, passionate and many more outlined the characteristics we all hoped to strengthen by the time we walk out of here for the last time today. And well I think all of those words depict what it means to be a leader extremely well, I think if I could go back and put another phrase on that poster it would be “willing to learn”. By learning about all of your leadership ideas and even getting to know you all as the incredible humans you are when you leave here at 6 o’clock I have learned more about myself and the leader I want to be. By being willing to learn, it makes you able to listen to others more deeply and take what they say into true consideration, therefore making you the best ally to all those around you. I’ve learned that taking charge and standing in front of the room isn’t the only definition of a leader, in fact I have learned that some of the best leaders sit down and listen to others before ever speaking. Through experiences like this and many other opportunities in my life I have learned that constantly being willing to learn, whether it be about someone in the space with you or even yourself, leads to great development as a leader and a person.”

Michael Letendre
Class of 2023

“My goal as a leader is to build a community among others and to make sure everyone is on the same page with each other. I’m not a fan of drama and I believe that one of the most important parts of a team is the relationship everyone has with each other. You can be the best player on your team, but that doesn’t guarantee you the championship. You can be the best striker in the league scoring the most goals or the strongest and smartest Avenger, but you can’t win a game with just scoring goals or win a battle with a broken shield and a hammer. You need someone to defend your goal and someone to wield the infinity gauntlet. This goes for whatever you’re doing. Everyone has an important role on their team to tackle the obstacle ahead of them, and it’s up to the leader to make sure they know what they’re doing and that everyone is getting along well. I like to check in with my teammates and eboard members, before we discuss anything, and make sure they’re doing alright and if there’s anything I can do to help if needed. Checking up on my team and making sure everyone is included is the first thing I do before we do anything else. I want to be trusted by my peers and to not come off as someone you can’t approach. Not only would I want to be a trustworthy leader, but I want to be a friend first and most importantly.

Dr. Abraham Erskine said to Steve Rogers on the night before his procedure, “Promise me you’ll stay who you are. Not a perfect soldier… but a good man.” This is something I think about when thinking about what it means to be a leader. Having this power shouldn’t and won’t change who I was before. I have to use it responsibly, as Uncle Ben once told Peter Parker. Nobody’s perfect. I for one am still learning everywhere I go and with everything I do, from being a club president to an OL and an RA. I strive to be the best leader I can be while also keeping my mind open for new learning experiences that I may come across in the future.”

Reema Alobaidi
Class of 2022

“After considering the activities, and the topics we have studied, I find myself working as a part of the team of leadership. This leadership style emphasizes the importance of collaboration. We work all together to create methods by which to solve problems for the benefit of all. All the students are equal and worthy of consideration. I learned how differences are always respected between us because diversity among group members adds value as it increases the likelihood of creating new ideas and possible solutions. My mission as a leader is to bring my passion for authentic leadership and inspire others with its methodology. I always believe in myself and know what I want. I am the leader I want to be. I am a leader to use my passion for helping others as much as possible, even in the smallest ways. I want leadership to be seen as a way of seeing the good in everyone and learning from others. I had some challenges many times in my life, but the most I can remember was last year when the university was closed because of the pandemic (COVID-19), and I had a group project with a due date. I was able to be the leader of a group working in consumer health class. We were group of five students which made it not easy to find time and work together online. Being honest, open, and confident helped me to get everyone together and work efficiently. I think my awareness of myself helped the group to succeed because I knew when I had to interfere, when I had to lead and to let everyone do their own work on time. I truly like to stay involved and inspire my team by showing that I’m working hands-on to help them and to focus on team interests and needs. I believe that honesty is necessary to be a leader. To me, honesty is one of the character traits that makes a person a productive leader. I believe that if you are honest and open with people you gain their trust and you can build relationships that can produce an unlimited positive effect. I believe as a leader it is always important to have great social skills to be communicative and able to inspire each other to achieve our meaningful life goals”.

 

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