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Leadership Is…

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    Donald Tetto

2011 Southwestern Leadership Award winners share their thoughts on leadership

Here is what some of the students who received awards at the 2011 Student Leadership Banquet have to say about leadership:

Sarah Puffer

First-Year Leadership Award Winner

“The main difference between leaders and followers is that leaders have a vision and a voice to accomplish that vision … Without a vision, a leader does not have a course of action and their voice will be lost.” 

Jenna Gaska

Sophomore Leadership Award Winner

“True leadership is inspiring others to succeed by encouraging their personal growth and natural talents. Leaders increase the potential of their followers by emphasizing the possibility, rather than the impossibility, of creating change and making an impact.  Leaders are willing to pull the extra hours, complete the necessary paperwork, and still dream big, never losing sight of why they first became a leader. Yet, although leaders must indubitably lead, they must also not be afraid to follow.  A combination of communication and action leads to innovation, and leaders should not seek to stamp out this communication by fearing a loss in status.  The ideas of one person alone are a poor representation of a group. Thus, effective leadership respects diversity and the myriad of voices present within a group. Lastly, leaders must continue to visualize the goals set.  From a logistical perspective, planning and preparation are necessary to the successful fulfillment of an objective.  While the group might become immersed in the details of executing a project, the leader must maintain the big picture idea, thinking two steps ahead on the path to this final goal.  In terms of morale, a leader’s ability to visualize goals is crucial for sustaining an organization through the most stressful and high-pressure moments when doubts might begin to override dedication.  Ultimate success will be dependent on this mark of a true leader − the ability to inspire followers to surpass their perceived limitations as they accomplish what they previously thought would be simply impossible.   

Kimberlee Pierson

Junior Leadership Award Winner

“To be a good leader does not mean that you have to shoulder the burden of all the work on your own; rather, a good leader is someone who can recognize their own limits and attempt to work with others creatively and efficiently… Southwestern University has provided the ideal atmosphere for me to develop my academic knowledge, deep friendships, confidence, communication skills and leadership qualities that will make me a better leader in the world outside of our campus.”

Addison English

Co-recipient of the Overall Leader Award

“A true leader is one who can integrate the views and wishes of others without compromising the overall goals, values and mission of the group. They must be a model of firm beliefs, positive energy and action that is constantly pushing the envelope for the group’s advancement.”