Year In Review

My first year at Central Michigan University has not turned out to be what I had expected. I knew that I was going to volunteer and take classes that would eventually lead me to a major, but I never thought I would grow as a person at the rate or length as I have. A large part of that is due to my LDR classes. In previous blogs, I mention LDR 100 and how it is a class I am required to take my first semester as part of my Leadership Advancement Scholarship protocol; this class helps to mold and foster my leadership abilities. Second semester, in LDR 200, we go more in depth with the different leadership theories and discover our own individual leadership philosophies. First semester, my LDR 100 class taught me to take advantages of the opportunities around campus to impact my environment. This led me to getting involved with different registered student organizations and volunteering with any and every group that came my way. LDR 200, on the other hand, taught me that in order to truly impact my environment and make a difference, I must know what is driving me and why I do the things that I do (Ted Talk). It taught me that in order to inspire others to follow there passions, I must follow my own. In LDR 200 we covered the Servant Leadership Theory which teaches that: a leader with strong moral and ethical values place others above their own self-interests and emphasize the growth and development of their followers. This really spoke to me, as it described what leadership meant to me. This theory has shaped me and continues to shape me as I strive to live day by day as a servant leader, putting others before myself and embracing growth.

As I look back on my year with only a few weeks left to go, I realize now that my expectations have been far exceeded. I grew so much as not just a leader, but a human being. I could not have asked for more out of my first year of college; the experiences I have acquired opened my mind and enabled me to educate others on what it means to lead, and provide them with skills needed to make a change that will impact their environment and world for the better.

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Las In The D!

Las in the D was an amazing experience. We learned so many things and made truly amazing memories. I was so excited for my cohort to see how incredibly different the city of Detroit has become, and to contribute to the city’s great comeback. This excursion encompassed: A trip to the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, a tour of the Quicken Loans buildings, leisure time at the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum, an overnight stay at the Outdoor Adventure Center, and a day of service at Cass Community Social Services. Although we may have spent only two days in Detroit, we all learned so many crucial things, and grew as individuals that will continue to impact the city of Detroit.

Jalen Rose Leadership Academy

When we first arrived at JRLA, I had the impression that we would be teaching these high school students about the different leadership styles that exist. This was not the case, as I quickly learned that these students already knew about leadership. During our facilitation activities with these high schooler, they continually demonstrated their advanced leadership skills, and taught my cohort that they understood the different leadership concepts, and how to apply those concepts to real life. I was blown away by their knowledge, and I think that both these students and my cohort learned from each other. Although our time together was short, both the JRLA students and those from CMU impacted each other immensely, and inspired one another to continue to do great things inside and out of the city of Detroit.

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Quicken Loans

As a Quicken Loans intern and Campus Ambassador, I have tried to talk to my friends about the amazing things QL has done to help bring back the city of Detroit. I have also tried to tell them about my amazing internship experience their in the summer of 2016. When I heard that we would be touring QL on our excursion, I became ecstatic because I would be able to not just tell my friends about this amazing company, but they will actually get to see it. On our tour, we saw many buildings and spoke to John Fikany who is the QL Vice President of Strategy. He told us about the passion that QL has in bringing back the city, and how that passion drives their success. He inspired many of my cohort members to apply for an internship and left us with the knowledge that their is an opportunity for everyone at Quicken Loans.

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Detroit Institute of Arts Museum

This museum never fails to take my breath away. I have been to the DIA many times, and with each visit I see something new and somehow more amazing than the previous gallery. This museum is a reminder that their are countless cultures, each with their own beautiful and unique traits. The DIA breathes life and creativity though the masterpieces it displays, and provides people from all over the world to learn about the beauty of art. It is in the top six museums list to visit in the U.S., and allows people from three surrounding counties to enter for free. It struggled in the pass to reach its current tier, but it overcame those challenges through the determination of the people who saw its potential for greatness. I will continue to visit this museum as its art is always changing, and I will do anything that I can to help this establishment continue to educate the world about Art.

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Outdoor Adventure Center

As our time at the DIA came to an end, we headed over to the Outdoor Adventure Center. Here we stayed overnight, and learned about this establishment that provides the feel of Michigan’s outdoor life in the center of the city. It educates people about the different aspects of the outdoors, and allows one to discover their potential passions for nature. The relationship between CMU and OAC continues to grow as does the LAS in the D program, and  look forward to the opportunities that OAC will provide for CMU students in the future.

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Cass Community Social Services

As a returning volunteer at CCSS, I was well aware of the services they provided, and what to expect. This organization provides services for the people of Detroit such as: providing food, housing, health services, and employment programs designed to get people back on their feet. Their contribution to the city is crucial, as they have helped the homeless population in immense ways. Both of my times at CCSS, I have had the opportunity to construct rubber matts made from recyclable tires. This service provides jobs for people who need it, and is a great way to generate money for this program and the others provided at CCSS. Sandals and coasters are also made and bring in good revenue. Volunteering here, I have become more aware of the reality that these kinds of programs are essential if we want Detroit to make a full come back. These programs nurture people and shape them to become leaders in their own right and become the back bone of Detroit. As a citizen of Detroit, I will continue to volunteer my time at CCSS and other non-profits around the city to help the city make a full recovery. I will also strive to implement new programs that help develop leadership in the people who are a part of the programs, as I feel that leadership is what can help Detroit become the number one city again.

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As I reflected on my experience I had during LAS in the D, I decided that this trip was not about me or my cohort. I decided that this trip was to show us that with our skills and knowledge of leadership, we have the ability to help the city, or any community, overcome challenges. Yes we had fun and made memories that will last forever, but what we truly accomplished was serving a community and inspired leadership that will help to bring it out of its dark age. Accomplishing this, I realized that I have the responsibility as a leader to give back to my community, and encourage others to stand up and serve their communities as well.

Another important realization I had while reflecting on this trip is this: Either in a corporate setting or community service setting, there are ways to give back to your community. If you have the passion to do something, then you can do it. Quicken Loans and Cass Community Social Services are both prime examples of this, and work to make Detroit the best city it can be. They have given my insight on a city that I have lived in for years, and enabled me to effectively make a difference. I plan to work with these organizations and more in the future, to ensure that Detroit is on the path to the greatest come back in history.

How Great Leaders Inspire Action

What makes a leader stand out? Simon Sinek has discovered that all great leaders throughout history all have the same things in common: how they think, act, and communicate. He has found that the most influential and effective leaders started out by asking themselves “why.” This led to the “how”, and the “what”. To better explain why these leaders where and are so effective, Simon came up with the Golden Circle:

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This Golden Circle explains that in order to truly be the most effective and influential leader, you must start with the why. The why represents your reason for being. It is your motivation and belief. Without the simple why, you can never truly develop a how or what. In order for you to be fully committed and effective at something, you must know why you are doing it and believe in it. Otherwise, people will know that you are not truly passionate about your cause, and thus, they will cease to see you as a true leader.

Once you have found your why, you can then develop a how. The how expect of the circle represents the specific actions you take that allow you to realize your why. It is your method of achieving that why. Simon has found that working from the why to the how is most effective, and enables a person to truly develop a plan of leadership. However, the circle does not stop there.

Once you have your how, you must discover your what. All of the great leaders that Simon observed all knew what they were doing or providing. It is crucial to know what your how is producing, and the effects that his has on the people around you. it is also to important to make sure that the results are rooted to your why. If you lose sight of your values, then the what will not have the effects you originally sought out to make.

Overall, Simons Golden Circle is an excellent tool the has helped many people realize what makes great leaders, great. This circle can be applied to any one and greatly affect their leadership style for the better. To learn more about Simon Simek and his Golden Circle, please visit this link: https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action

Leaders Say “Yes!”

Some people question, whether leadership comes from a yes or a no. I believe that leadership comes from a yes. I say this because when we say yes, we are often taking the initiative to commit to something. We are finding the courage to take on a responsibility that we do not necessarily have too. Saying yes expresses that you are willing to serve and work to accomplish something. It shows that you are to afraid to fail, regardless of the circumstances. Many great figures throughout history have proven that being a yes leader is often the most effective leadership style. Cesar Chavez, for example, was a yes leader. He was an american labor leader and civil rights activist who co-founded the National Farm Workers Association. Cesar Chavez also coined the term “Si Se Puede,” which means “yes we can.” This phrase is a symbol of his success and level of equality he brought to the LatinX community. It is now an integral part of Latino social movements throughout the country. This is a prime example of how being a yes leader can be effective, and there are many other yes leaders in history who have changed the world for the better. So the next time you find yourself wondering, does leadership come from a yes or a no, remember: “Si Se Puede!”

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Leadership Safari

When I was first accepted into Central Michigan University, I was ecstatic. Along with a few other colleges, central was one of my top choices. In the end, I chose CMU, and my college advisor told me of a program called Leadership Safari. It is a program for incoming freshman and begins a week before classes. This program would enable me to move in early, and I would undergo leadership training as well as getting acclimated to campus. At first, I was indifferent about attending the program as I thought it was going to be like every other leadership seminar I had attended; I was really only going for the perk of moving in early and becoming familiar with campus. As I reflect on my decision to attend Leadership Safari, I now believe that it is one of the best decisions I have made on the path to becoming a better me. Attending Safari changed the perspective I had about going to college. I realized that I needed to make the decisions that are best for me and leave no regrets behind. I also realized that I can’t go to school for something that I’m not passionate about, which I almost made the mistake of doing.  Leadership Safari not only opened my mind to follow my passions, but opened my heart to new friends. I made truly meaningful relationships and life long companions. The over all experiance prepared me for my  years to come at CMU and I am thankful for having been given the opportunity to grow as an individual.

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