Thursday, December 02, 2010
By Natalia Varela Donado. firstname.lastname@example.org
The Leadership Development Program at Seattle University has come up with a new series event for this year: Lunches with Leaders. The periodically held meetings with leaders of our community welcome all campus students interested in sharing a free meal with them and getting first hand insights about their path to leadership. The aim of the experience is to provide us future community leaders with insights, advice, and lessons from those who have become leaders, who have lived throughout different situations and struggled to provide strong benefits that have been translated into improvements and benefits for society and their communities.
Last month I had the opportunity to attend the first event of the Lunches with Leaders serieswith the participation of Josh Friedes, the Executive Director of the Equal Rights Washington (ERW) organization. ERW works to ensure and promote dignity, safety and equality for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Washington State residents.
Here are some of the leadership lessons learned from Mr. Friedes’ experience:
Education: his first steps as a leader in his community were taken back when he went to Law School at the University of Colorado.
Heritage: given the nature of the cause he has fought for throughout time, he has had a history of struggles, setbacks and counteracts. These have not thrown back his strong will to achieve something great and make a difference. It has otherwise made him stronger and taught him lessons that have helped him come closer to where he is today.
Activism: standing up for what you believe in means that you will get a few cons, but it pays off in the end. A leader is not one without followers. Engaging leaders have the ability to attract people and inspire them to work towards a cause.
Communication and networking: talk and reach out. Once you do, you will find hoards of allies out there who are not only willing, but eager to help.
Discernment and determination: a great leader must have the ability to identify the need for change and go forth with what needs to be done in order to steer all efforts back to the greater goal.
Self-awareness: it is very important that as a leader one acknowledges and confronts one’s own biases and prejudices in life. This will not only make you a better person, but will also clear the path, and help you acquire the skills to adapt and succeed in highly changing and volatile contexts.
Finally, a great leader must have the ability to identify and acknowledge the difference between happiness and fulfillment. Furthermore, identify what causes each one in your life and, as you do, work towards the attainment of both.
Along with a delicious meal, these are some of the rewarding and refreshing lessons learned from this experience. Hopefully, we will have more fellow students with whom to share the upcoming ones.
For more information about Lunches with Leaders, contact Sarah Swihart at email@example.com.