Plunge into Leadership

letr-polar-plunge-logo.jpgStaff in the Leadership Institute organizes different teams for Leader Advancement Scholarship recipients to be on. This year, I had the joy of being on the Polar Plunge lead team. Lead teams have helped me over the past three years get to know members in different cohorts, work as a team and help in the community.

On the Polar Plunge team, my duties were to help fundraise, spread the word about joining the Leadership Institute’s team, get other organizations to create their own teams and help set up for the event. I reached out to my sales fraternity to learn they were already in the works of creating a Polar Plunge team.

The day of the event, I moved tables and chairs around and set up the changing curtains. I did this all in the morning before the event started.

With the help of our team, we helped Special Olympics raise money to send athletes to the games. We helped recruit others to participate in this wonderful event and spread the word about Special Olympics. We also helped assist in set-up for free, saving them money to put towards the athletes instead of hiring help.

This was the first year for this lead team, and as it continues to be a team I know it will grow stronger. We played around with what we were able to do to help the Polar Plunge event, so there is definitely room to grow. The suggestions I would give to future members to build what our team started are to pass out fliers teaching others how to build a team and speak about the event in classes.

I love Polar Plunge and want to look in to the opportunity of being on the student committee for next year’s event.

 

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Sisters for Life

In the fall of 2017, I went through formal sorority recruitment. After a week of visiting every chapter on campus, I found my home with Alpha Sigma Alpha. I knew they were the group for me when I realized how much our values aligned. I spoke to them about balance, integrity, service and faith. Everyone in the tent was sweet and genuine. I was excited when I opened my bid letter and saw the ASA crest.

Just after joining, I ran for a position that had opened up. My new sisters supported me as I ran for public relations chair. With their trust, I was elected. Since then, they have encouraged me and helped me thrive in the position.

Being in the chapter has allowed me to maintain being a strong student, Christian and member of the community. My sisters study with me, go to church with me and volunteer with me. There was one weekend where we all got up early to drive to Midland and volunteer at the Girls on the Run 5k (GOTR is one of our philanthropies).

Every semester, ASA hosts a mac and cheese philanthropy dinner and I had so much fun volunteering at that. Every sister is so passionate about our philanthropies and it’s wonderful when we come together and raise money for the S. June Smith Center, Special Olympics, Girls on the Run and the ASA Foundation. I look forward to the possibility of having our first philanthropy week next year.

Along with volunteering, ASA also gave me a mentor. We knew we’d be the perfect big/little pair as soon as we both learned our love for dogs, working out and Jesus. She has the same interests and passions as me and has been there through the stress of junior year. She was someone I turned to a lot and was always there with support. She wasn’t the only incredible person ASA blessed me with, I also got a new best friend.

I was supposed to go to a Christian conference in Indiana with some members of my chapter but the roads were horrible and covered with ice. I decided to stay home, as did my sister Makenzie. We decided to hangout since our plans for the weekend drastically changed. We went to the hot tub with our boyfriends, made dinner and played a card game together. We had so much fun that we have continued to hangout since then.

Makenzie has made a huge impact on my life this year from being a positive light. People say you become like those you hangout with and I’m so happy I have such a selfless and caring person in my life. She spends time volunteering every week, always offers support to sisters and saved a dog’s life by fostering him. She exemplifies what it is like to be a women of poise and purpose.

This chapter has given me strong bonds of friendship and laughs. It’s also given me the opportunity to step up and be a leader, even as a new member. I’ve learned how important it is to befriend people with similar values and passions. I’m happy to have gotten to work with new philanthropies I’ve never worked with, such as the S. June Smith Center.

For next year, I want to improve the bonds of sisterhood. I would like to grow closer to more sisters before I go alum. I am not sure if I am running for a position yet, but either way I will uphold the chapter’s values, serve as a role model and be involved. I will continue my current position until winter semester and keep striving to better Greek relations from what I have already learned. I am also planning on taking a little in the fall to mentor her. I will be there for her like my big has been for me. It’s important to be there for new members as they are getting acclimated because being in a sorority takes time-management skills. It can be hard making new friends and getting to know 80+ members. I am excited to help someone adjust not only to the college life, but the Greek life as well.

My Business Advantage For Life

Joining the professional sales and marketing fraternity, Pi Sigma Epsilon, has been a pivotal moment in my college career.

This year, I decided to dive in to professional development and networking opportunities by getting involved with sales competitions. I tried out for Pi Sigma Epsilon’s Regional Convention and made it on the team. I began preparing for the sales case as soon as it was released. A few weeks later, I competed against many of the top sales students in the region. My buyer and the judges were all recruiters from different companies.

That weekend, I applied my professional skills when networking with various recruiters and students, attending a career fair and dining using proper etiquette. I practiced carrying myself in a confident, competitive and sophisticated manner. I also learned new skills from peers at the competition. I was surrounded by many driven professionals all weekend, and the environment made me hungry to be successful.

I want to continue pushing myself outside of my comfort zone with these competitions. It’s a great way to learn and apply real-world sales skills, plus they are fun. After competing, I received a video of my role play and have reviewed it a few times to take notes. The feedback I was given from others and the notes I took myself were applied to my next competition at Quicken Loans.

There are so many ways to get involved, but I truly think the most valuable is attending competitions because I get to apply, practice and enhance my skills.

I plan to continue trying out for the sales competitions and being involved with PSE. It’s a great organization that I’m flourishing professionally in. At the end of the year, I decided to apply to be on the executive board for next semester. In the fall, I will be my chapter’s Vice President of Alumni Relations. I will continue using the networking skills I have gained to reach out to the alumni and invite them to remain involved with the chapter by coming to our events. I’m very excited to continue being a leader in this organization.

 

 

Stepping Up To Be A Leader

All Leader Advancement Scholars are required to participate in a LEAD team every year. Last year my LEAD team was special events; this year it was Relay for Life. Relay for Life did not take place until March, so my team only had one meeting during first semester. As second semester rolled around, we still had not met again. I kept asking my friends on the team when we were meeting and no one had a clue. Finally, about a month before the event, I received an email from a young woman who works with the Leadership Institute. She told me that my original LEAD team captain stepped down and the position needed to be filled; a few scholars had been nominated by the Leadership Institute staff and I was one of them. Two other scholars and I took on the role as co-chairs for the Leadership Institute’s Relay for Life team.

untitledPart of our duty was to fundraise prior to the event. The only money that had been raised was $10. We had a team goal of $1,000 and we had about a month to do it. We called a last minute meeting with the team and decided to have a table in the Bovee University Center later that week. We were going to hand out suckers for a dollar and ask people to join our Relay for Life team. The table was not a success. We were stumped and had to come up with a new plan. With time running out, we could not organize any large events. My co-chairs and I sent out many emails to keep our team updated and gave everyone individual fundraising goals.

When the event rolled around, we had people pie our team in the face for $2. If they did that, they also received free cookies. We were also selling extra Leadership Institute clothing from previous years. At the end of the night, our team had raised $1,713.01! We were all super excited that we exceeded our goal by $713.01 and were the 7th highest fundraising team at the event.

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I really learned from this experience that leaders can come together in a short amount of time and still be effective. My co-chairs and team members were superstars and I am so proud of everyone who made the event a success.

My story does not just stop there. Through it all, the janitor came up to me and asked if we could pie him in the face in front of everyone. He offered to buy us real pies sduring his break instead of the whipped cream pies we were using. He told me it has been a dream of his since he was a little kid to receive a pie in the face while wearing nice clothes in front of a crowd to make them laugh. I told him we would make it happen and he came back after he was done with his shift. He walked up to our table, dressed up, carrying six pies. I began to tell the people on the track that they should watch as we pied the man. A few of the walkers even jumped in and grabbed a pie, including a cancer survivor that he asked to come pie him earlier in the day. After we finished, the man was so happy. He gave me a hug and told me I made one his dreams come true. I was filled with happiness that I not only helped raise money for cancer, but also helped a man fulfil one of his childhood dreams.d

TED Talk Reflection: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Simon Sinek is a speaker who talks about how great leaders inspire action on a TED Talk by explaining that people follow based on what the leader believes. He presents the Golden Circle which dissects the way leaders and companies think. The outer circle explains what products or ideas leaders or companies are trying to sell. The middle circle explains how the idea or product works. The inner circle explains the purpose and beliefs behind the action or creation of a product or idea. Most people work from the outer in, but those who are successful work from the inner out. Sinek enforces the idea that people do not buy what you do, but why you do it. People who are are successful sell to people who believe what they believe, and they hire those who are not just in it for the money.

Sinek uses an example of Apple, illustrating how they have the same resources as every other company, but they are so innovated and successful because they tell people why they sell their products first. Instead of pitching that they make computers that are easy to use, they demonstrate that they believe in challenging the status quo by making computers that are easy to use. I learned that if I want to be a good leader, I need to tell people why they should follow me. I need to state my beliefs first because that is what people truly care about. I was introduced to the Golden Circle in this TED Talk and I believe its values and think its content is important to know when aspiring to be a leader. I knew that we follow people because we want to, but I never understood why until now. It’s because we believe in not just what they believe, but why they believe what they do.

I am now going to be upfront with what I believe and my reason for initiating a plan in meetings and group work instead of saving my reasons for the conclusion. I think that stating beliefs is a real attention grabber and keeps people interested and following. Just like Sinek said, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote the “I have a dream speech, not I have a plan speech” I will tell those who look up to me why I have a vision, not just how I am going to get there. For example, I want to decrease the number of people who text while they drive. Simply saying how I am going to help get the numbers down is okay, but explaining that there are too many lives taken from an easy-to-fix issue is why people would want to get the numbers down. A quote by Sinek that I am going to leave you with that I thought was insightful was, “Those who lead inspire us.” We follow those who have beliefs are similar to ours.

Leadership Comes From Saying “No”

Have you ever had a dream that someone told you was impossible to achieve? Did you stand there and agree with them or disagree? Leading starts with creating your own path and doing what others do not do themselves. To be a leader one must differentiate themselves from the rest of the crowd by standing up for what they believe in. When someone says “This is how things are going to be done,” a leader fights back by saying “No!” Good things happen for those who put themselves out there and make them happen.

Rosa Parks never got up from her bus seat and said, “Yes, you are right, I should move.”

Christopher Columbus did not say, “Yeah, it is silly of me to think I could sail around the world.”

These people said no and pushed for their goals because they truly wanted to achieve them. Being a leader is more than just a title, it’s speaking up and pursuing a dream. Leaders stand out by exploring an undiscovered route, not adding to the multiple footprints walked on a nicely paved road.

Current Leader I Admire

When I think of ethical leadership, I think of someone that everyone can look up to because their vision is in the best interest of everyone. Pope Francis is a great example of an ethical leader because not only does he lead Roman Catholics all over the world, but he accepts and loves everyone for who they are. For example, he washed the feet of a woman who was a Muslim prisoner. That is what Jesus wants, for people to love each other despite demographics. People want to follow him because he is a non-judging person who has an open heart with outstretched hands to all. I really admire Pope Francis because he is humble and works to lead others in his direction without criticizing or excluding others. When you Google Pope Francis, almost every picture that comes up he is smiling in. Not only is he inclusive, but he is happy. I think that is another very import part of leadership; carrying yourself with a positive attitude. According to fortune.com there was a survey done in March of 2014 where 1 in 4 Catholics said they would increase the amount they donated to the poor this year. 77% of those people said they would because of Pope Francis. He is helping the poor though positively impacting other people. If that is not great leadership than I do not know what is. I really hope that people can look up to me in the way that they look up to him. He reminds me that everyone is equal and we can all benefit from reaching out to one another.