Year in Review Reflection

When I first came to Central Michigan University in the Fall of 2016, I was scared but also super nervous. As an only child, I never really had to do complex tasks on my own, and always had my parents there to help me if I needed it. I was excited to be a part of the Leader Advancement Scholarship program and knew that I had friends before I even entered the school year. Once we began the year, the year started pretty negative. Honestly I did not like Central one bit at the beginning of the year. I immediately wanted to transfer. I ended up going to some friends in LAS and they talked me into giving Central a chance. Within a few weeks, I ended up buckling down academically and started to love Central. Once I was able to get in my routine, I loved Central Michigan University with a passion. I knew Central was the place for me, and from then on I was excited to dive deep into my major, leadership program and fraternity.

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Powers Hall- Central Michigan University

When I came into the Leadership program, I was a very systematic leader who always was vocal about my beliefs. I advocated hard for my beliefs and was honestly pretty closed minded. The program has definitely allowed me to be a more inclusive leader. For example, my political views coming into college were very set. After taking a step back, I have opened my eyes to “the light.” The Leadership program, along with its leadership classes have really gotten me to realize that you can look at the world from many different perspectives. As a high school student, it is uncommon to look at things in leadership from different perspectives, just the one that you are familiar with. Within my LDR100 and LDR200 classes, I was able to learn about all of the different approaches to leadership that I have never even considered. What I feel changed me so much was rushing my fraternity.  Joining my fraternity threw me directly into a leadership position. In contrast to high school leadership that I was familiar with, my leadership position put me in to a position where I was in charge of older members. Being a freshman and getting elected to an e-board position really changed my outlook on my personal leadership skills. Older members of my fraternity elected me to be a leader in the chapter. This moment gave me the confidence I needed to transform into a better leader.

When working with others before I came to Central Michigan I was often very analytical when leading. After going through multiple workshops, I realized that I needed to display more sympathy when leading. I was always very goal oriented when it came to completing tasks, and sometimes left the feelings of others out of the equation. Now when leading others I often consider the feelings of others when making decisions. Another huge thing I learned about leadership is that leaders don’t always have to lead from the front. It is okay at times to just support other leaders from the backs, rather than being a vocal leader from the front.

In the LI, we always talk about how the skills we learn from our program can be directly applied within college and real life. I can honestly see the skills that I have learned throughout the year come right into play. Whether it is being a vocal leader, or leading from the back of the room, I can say the first year within the Leadership Institute has taught me the necessary skills to be an effective inclusive leader. I am going to continue working hard to ensure that my leadership skills improve over the next four years. Ultimately I am trying to get into a good career path that will allow me to work hard and inspire others to do the same.

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LAS Grad Ball with members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Michigan Delta Omega Chapter

 

 

LDR200L Reflection

In the Spring of 2017, the leadership advancement scholars of 2016 took LDR200L with the wonderful Jesi Ekonen(with the help of Garrett, Jordan, and Kate) . The first day of this class I knew that it would be super fun and interesting! Jesi laid out the format for the class and allowed us as a class to come up with learning objectives that we wanted to take out of the class. As a class we wanted to better our facilitation skills, create a sense of community, and to learn more about the theories of leadership. The class was set up for us to succeed! Within the first few weeks we dove straight into initiatives: exercises that would better facilitation skills. Within the initiatives, each group presented an idea to the class and provided an activity with a debrief session following. Following our initiatives we got into exploring The Golden Circle, and starting with why. The Golden Circle hit the nail on the head with the community aspect and definitely was able to show the class the meaning of inclusive leadership. We took assessments regarding leadership theory and had practical demonstrations regarding theories as well. One of our big projects at the end of the semester, the leadership workshop, challenged each group to facilitate a 45 minute workshop that would present the class with a leadership theory. The presentation included an activity to solidify the concept, as well as a presentation to give the class the information about the theory. Within the course, I have learned so many things about leadership, some things that I did not even think existed. Our last huge project was our blogs. Yes like this one. Our WordPress has been our running project since the beginning of freshman year and will continue until we graduate. Our blogs incorporate our leadership experience, as well as our service in our communities. Some students choose to only utilize the blogs for class, while others show employers all of the experiences that they have had. For this class, we also took a trip to Detroit to perform service, which I blogged about in a recent blog. Overall, LDR200L has been a wonderful class. As a cohort we have grown as individual leaders due to the constant group think occurring throughout the class and outside experiences.

LDR200L has been a great class. I truly enjoyed the class because it was centered around our wants as a cohort. In the future, I will take the theory applications from class and apply them throughout daily life. My why statement uses a lot that I have learned from this class: “Inspire others to protect and serve communities that cannot protect themselves.” I believe that everyone has the potential to be a leader. After this class, I now know that there is indeed empirical evidence that backs up that statement. Leadership theories such as the trait and skill theories identify leaders with certain traits as well as point out skills that people can better to become leaders. I have always practiced leadership throughout middle school and high school, but it was not until this class did I truly understand the origins of leadership theories. I can also use this class directly to impact my future. I have been writing my blogs for class as well as using it as an e portfolio for employers. This class definitely has allowed me to be successful when using my blogs as a resume tool. Lastly the class allowed me to perform service in a neighborhood that needed it. As a class we went to Detroit and participated in 1.5 days of service within the community. The trip was a truly eye opening experience and allowed me to realize how grateful I truly was. The class as a whole developed my knowledge about general leadership and allows me to work toward my why statement everyday.

LAS in the D Post Reflection

On the weekend of February 10th, the Leader Advancement cohort of 2016 traveled to Detroit to perform two days of service. First, we visited Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, where the cohort participated in leadership activities with the students. Jalen Rose Leadership Academy is a pubic charter high school on the North West side of the city of Detroit. Students who would like to attend the high school must apply for it their last year of middle school, making the school selective. Jalen Rose Leadership Academy opened its doors in 2011, and took its first class of freshmen that September. Students at Jalen Rose are exposed to leadership at an early age, making them prospective leaders of the future. LAS arrived at Jalen Rose around 2pm. The school had already released class, however, students stayed after to participate in the activities that we had for them. The students welcomed us with open arms and were very engaged in the activities that we shared with them. The school promoted a sense of inclusion, and the students felt very comfortable to be sharing their experiences with us. As an LAS student, I facilitated activities at Jalen Rose, making it one of my first times facilitating! Within the few hours at Jalen Rose, I felt that we were able to make a difference in the lives of many upcoming leaders. The amount of time that we spent at the academy was short, a mere two hours, however, we as a cohort were able to leave a lasting impact on the students of Jalen Rose.

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After leaving Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, we ventured into midtown of Detroit. We were invited to a presentation and tour of QuickenLoans, one of the largest FinTech companies in America. Upon arrival, I instantly knew that Quicken was different. The Chase building where Quicken is located had a real feel, and created a sense of belonging with a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere. QuickenLoans leads the push to bring back the city of Detroit, and is a contributor to pulling new businesses into the city. Upon arrival we all ate pizza as a cohort. After eating a delicious meal fromPizza Papalis, QuickenLoans put on an inspiring presentation. The Quicken presentation changed my perspective of the entire city of Detroit. The presentation began with Buddy Henika, a recruiter for Quicken. Buddy explained the company and shared inspiring experiences he has had with QuickenLoans. At the end of the presentation, Buddy opened up the floor for questions. When one of my classmates asked, “Why did you join Quicken?” Buddy gave a great answer, “I joined because of the community aspect.” However , what really impressed me is that John Fikany, Vice President of strategy development, stood up and took the mic: “You have to find something you are passionate about, and for me, that was the city of Detroit.” As a student, it is not common for the Vice President of a company to be front and center in a room addressing college students, however, Quicken had their VP front and center. Mr. Fikany has the accolades that any professional would want, and even better, he is humble about his work. Mr. Fikany was a top executive at Microsoft, and previously was an executive at Oracle. He contributed to the success of two of the largest technology companies in the world. The philanthropy of John Fikany and QuickenLoans as a whole has inspired the upcoming generation to become more involved within the community. QuickenLoans will hire close to 1000 interns into the Detroit office. This within itself is giving back to the community. Quicken promotes innovation, and allows the upcoming generation to come into a professional workplace and thrive.

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After QuickenLoans, we went into the DIA(Detroit Institute of Arts). For me, the DIA was a good time to do some self reflection regarding the day at Jalen Rose Leadership Academy and at QuickenLoans. Ive been to the DIA plenty of times, but I always enjoy looking at art. When looking at art I often express many different forms of emotion, which usually leads to me understanding how grateful I am.

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After the DIA, we ventured to  the Outdoor Adventure Center in Detroit. Linda Walter, mom of Senior LAS member David Walter,  is the director of the center. At the Outdoor Adventure Center we learned about the history of the city of Detroit. As the city grows in population once again, it is important to learn about how a citizen can make a difference in the community. At the center we also learned more about the environment and learned information about the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

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The next morning, we went and volunteered at Cass Community Social Services. Cass Community Social Services fights poverty and creates opportunity for those in need. Cass provides food, health care, housing, and jobs to those who need it. When working at Cass, I could tell that everyone loved helping out the community. It was truly eye opening to be working side by side with underprivileged people, because it destroyed the stigma of people being “lazy” that is often associated with homelessness. When working at Cass, I fully understood that the people who were utilizing the center just caught a bad break, and were working hard to get back on their feet.  Our day of service began! When at Cass, we were divided into groups. One group made door mats, one group worked in the kitchen, one group shredded paper, and one group organized donations. I was in the group that was shredding paper. The shredding job employs many people who have mental disabilities and are looking for work. The community center allows people with special needs to experience having a job, and to experience being integrated into society. Cass allows people of all backgrounds to have a shot at getting acquainted with society. The experience allowed me to realize truly how fortunate I was. There are many people in the city of Detroit that are living at or below the poverty line, it is truly sad:  it honestly breaks my heart. Community Centers like Cass are the reason the citizens of Detroit are able to receive some relief.

NOW WHAT? Overall, the trip to Detroit was truly an eye opening experience. When on the trip, I deeply connected with students from Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, as well as volunteers at Cass Community Social Services. My biggest eye opener on the trip was seeing all of the poverty in a neighborhood so close to mine. The city of Detroit once was a thriving city, filled with manufacturing and life, however, over the last 40 years, the city has been deteriorating due to racist policy and limited opportunity for minorities.

As a student in the Leadership Institute here at Central Michigan University, I feel that it is my job to promote an inclusive environment, and produce an environment where EVERYONE is able to have an opportunity to thrive and demonstrate their God given talents. The city of Detroit lacks opportunity. The once great city lacks the investment that it needs to thrive again. Businesses such as QuickenLoans has started the idea of renovation and development, but the next generation of leaders are  going to be the ones that are going to leave the lasting impact. The foundation has been started, but must be continued by the millennials who are graduating college in the next few years.

During the trip, I connected deeply with one of the students at Jalen Rose Leadership Academy. We were engaged in good conversation, and I asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up.” He responded with, “I know I want to be an anesthesiologist. My cousin is the first person who went to college in my extended family, and he is an anesthesiologist.” I was really inspired by his response. The boy I was speaking to would be the 2nd person in his family to go to college, and that really inspired me. Instead of shooting for a “average” life, the boy wanted to go big. He was inspired by his cousin to do great things, which in turn inspired me to be grateful of the opportunity I had here at CMU.

As an emerging leader, it is important for me to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, rather than holding a bias about an area. The city of Detroit is a beautiful and upcoming city, however, if one had a bias about the city, they would not be able to truly experience its beauty. As a leader, I need to work on being a compassionate and always inclusive. The trip really exposed me to people from all different walks of life, and they have inspired me to always be inclusive in my actions. I will take this experience to reflect on how fortunate I am. When I have spare time, instead of participating in selfish actions, I will reach out to members of my community and participate in servant leadership the community so deeply needs.

In the city of Detroit there are many things that I am not familiar with, such as urban development. I do not know much about the revival of the city, only that QuickenLoans is leading the push to integrate business back in the city. In the future, I want to learn how I can help in the constant rebuild of the city, along with learning about the other businesses who are helping to restore the city.

In the city, we need more people who are dedicated to servant leadership. Most people in the world today are greedy and put themselves before others. The fix in the city of Detroit is having people who are the opposite. We need to create values that revolve around the principle of community rather than individualism. Once we are able to change the mindset of people, we will be able to begin the service to rebuild  the entire city. The city has the potential, we just need to give it the helping hand to get on its feet again and thrive.

Ted Talk Reflection

At the beginning of the Ted Talk, Simon Sinek explains how people in history have been successful in Leadership. Sinek explains that certain people are able to effectively communicate ideas to other people, and explains how the people that are able to do so are special. Typically when delivering a speech to an audience, it is common for someone to start with what, then work into the how, and finally finish with the why. Simon Sinek goes on to explain to the audience that the extraordinary leaders are able to do something that many people cannot do. Instead of going from the outside in, the great leaders can work from the inside out and start with the why and work their way out. The idea of using the why first, how second, and what third is “The Golden Circle.” The Golden Circle has inspired many leaders to use their passions to inspire others to do great in the world. Sinek goes into great detail regarding biology of the brain and how the circle works very similarly to the human brain. Sinek finishes his presentation saying that, “those who lead inspire us, we follow not for them, but for ourselves.” Sinek does a wonderful job of explaining the concept that leaders INSPIRE their followers to do great things, not force them to take part in a plan.

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The purpose of the Golden Circle is to inspire, and prominent leaders do just that. Realizing that the why is way more important than the what is what sets successful people apart from unsuccessful people. In the presentation, Sinek gives an example related to the aviation industry. During the early 20th century, Samuel P Langley was on the prowl to discover the key to controlled flight, however he wanted to do it for the wrong reasons. Langley wanted to make a ton of money off the idea of flight and often went around telling people “how he was going to do it.” The problem with Langley is that he did not have the passion that the Wright Brothers had. The Wright Brothers were ultimately able to beat Langley, a millionaire with many resources, to the solution for controlled flight. Why were the Wright Brothers able to do this? They were able to use their passions to inspire others around them to believe in them and this ultimately allowed them to be successful in the field. The Wright Brothers wanted to bring aviation to all, and share the opportunities with others rather than being selfish like Langley.

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Now What? :Why is the “Golden Circle” important and why is Simon Sinek recognized for his presentation on the “Golden Circle”?  Sinek was able to find a concept that can be applied to many things in the real world. Whether it is in the professional workplace, or in a personal movement or protest, stating a passion and why one does something is way more important than what is being done. As a student studying leadership, it is important to use this presentation as a stepping stone to learning new ideas about individual passions. As a leader, it is important to recognize passions in others and inspire those to act and share those passions with the world. When presenting ideas to my boss or my RSOs here on campus, I will be sure to use the “Golden Circle” and start from the inside when describing what I want to accomplish. It is so important to tell the “Why” rather than the “What.” People do not follow you for what you do, they follow you for why you do it***simonsinek3