Over the weekend, I participated in what is known as the Leadership and Service Academy. This was a leadership conference for St. Louis area schools, and was hosted at McKendree University in Lebanon, Illinois. The day started with a motivational speaker, and then everyone broke off into groups to attend various seminars relating to different leadership topics. After that, everyone ate lunch in McKendree’s cafeteria and got the chance to mingle with student leaders from other schools. The day ended with another seminar and closing remarks from the opening guest speaker. I feel like I gained a lot of helpful advice on how to be a better leader in just a short amount of time. Some words of wisdom that stuck out to me the most are the following.
-Leadership is not a position, but a state of mind.
-There’s no such thing as a perfectionist (it’s called being a control freak).
-As a society, we’ve turned the definition of leadership into something much bigger than it needs to be.
-If someone has impacted your life, don’t let them walk around not knowing that.
-When teaching something new, it must connect to something already known by the person.
-Creativity is a choice.
-Admit when you are wrong.
-Leadership is not just about acquiring information, but figuring out how to apply it.
This type of conference is an annual tradition. Being a senior, this was my last one to attend. And what a good one to end on!
My 15 seconds of fame on stage at the opening
Whenever I get the opportunity to talk about the QUEST Leadership Program, I’m going to take advantage of it! Now maybe you’ve heard of it and maybe you haven’t.
The QUEST Leadership Program “is a three-phase leadership program designed to help Fontbonne students acquire foundational leadership skills, discern their personal strengths, and guide them on their personal vocational journey.” (Most of the information I’m telling you is straight from our webpage! Check it out! Fontbonne.edu/quest)
We’ve executed QUEST different ways in the past. For example, last semester we allowed participants to complete Phase 1, 2, or 3 through attending a once-a-week session for about eight weeks. This semester, we are allowing participants to complete Phase 1, 2, or 3 by attending an overnight retreat the last weekend in March. (If you are interested in attending the overnight retreat, registration opens February 9th.)
Depending on which phase participants choose to complete, each one has a different focus. Phase 1 focuses on self-awareness, Phase 2 focuses on organizational development, and lastly Phase 3 focuses on transitional leadership and development.
Participating in QUEST is a great way to enhance your leadership skills, especially if you plan on taking a position of leadership is any other clubs or activities that you are involved in!
So I suggest you check out our webpage (Fontbonne.edu/quest) and like us on Facebook (Fontbonne University QUEST). On our Facebook page, we’ll constantly keep you updated with everything QUEST-related, as well as some inspirational leadership quotes to help motivate you in your leadership journey!
Way back in February, I found out about an internship opportunity on the Omicron Delta Kappa website. It said “Are you interested in a career in event planning!?” And since I am interested in such a career and am an ODK member, I thought this would be perfect. The position would entail an intern to arrive at the ODK summer convention in Lexington, Virginia a few days early to help set everything up and run the events throughout the conference that lasts four days. I applied and found out in April that I got the position! This opportunity has been a long time coming, and it finally happened way too quickly.
The three days before everyone else showed up for the convention, I was in Lexington to help prepare, along with two other interns. Starting at early hours and ending late in the evening, I spent most of my time at ODK headquarters. I worked a lot with the registration packets, goodie bags, programs, meal tickets, and name tags. Another one of my responsibilities throughout the week was to be an RA for all the people that would be staying in the resident hall. Therefore, I prepared room assignments and the linens for each room. Also, I tried to become familiar with the campus as much as possible so that I could show people where to go for each event/meeting. Washington and Lee University is a beautiful campus and very historical (it was founded in the 1700s by George Washington and Robert E. Lee). This is also the school where ODK was founded in 1914. This year marks the centennial celebration for ODK’s founding. The little town of Lexington was very nice as well. All the residents were extremely friendly and the green hills and trees everywhere are so pretty.
It was very exciting when everyone else began to show up. I love meeting people from all across the U.S. I was extremely busy throughout the convention, always leaving things early to set up for the next event (and then actually run it). But I get a thrill out of being busy, especially for a setting like this. There were multiple workshops, guest speakers, delicious meals, service projects, and a 5K race. Some of the fun activities during free time were a brewery tour, concert, comedian, ghost tour, and drive-in movie. There was a formal ball to end the convention.
It was very hard to leave Lexington. My time there went by too fast. I had such a great time making so many new friends and professional connections as well. In just one week, I learned so much about ODK and about myself. I am eternally grateful for this experience and can’t wait to share my stories with my Fontbonne ODK circle.
The interns at the Centennial Ball celebration
Washington and Lee University
This semester, I took a leadership course for graduate students (HES535 Leadership Development for Professional Practice). In this class, we talked about different leadership styles based on theories. There were many meaningful assignments we needed to do for this class. One of my favorite projects is to shadow a CEO or president in a non-profit organization.
I chose the CEO at Health Literacy Missouri to shadow because I like their mission: “to help people make good health decisions,” and my major is related to what they do: to offer health literacy training, health environment assessments, and plan language services to help health care systems improve patient outcomes.
Dr. O’Leary is the CEO at Health Literacy Missouri. She is a very intelligent, organized, and supportive leader. She brought me to attend different meetings with her to observe different leadership styles, to experience the decision-making process and to observe the importance of synergy in the team’s action. After shadowing different meetings with Dr. O’Leary, and observing how she communicated with her staff and board members, I learned a lot leadership skills from her. The most important things I’ve learned from her is to focus on the real job. As a CEO at health literacy Missouri, Dr. O’Leary’s real job is to lead and manage that organization. She is a very knowledgeable female leader and very good at focusing on her real job. Moreover, she is a very good communicator who reads situations fast and communicates with people efficiently.
This is a one of the most meaningful projects I’ve done during my student life at Fontbonne. I will use the lessons I’ve learned from this class and Dr. O’Leary to encourage myself to be a successful leader in my future career.