According to Nick Lennon, Director of the Leadership Education and Development Office, “Every student has the capacity to be a leader in some way.”

The most difficult obstacle to overcome is the myth that you must hold a powerful position or claim some high rank in order to be a leader.

There is much more to being a leader than most realize, and that is what Lennon wishes to teach students through his work with the lead office and its two pilot programs, Active Leaders and the SEED program.

“This program has become sort of like my mission in life, more than just my job,” Lennon said. “I want to be able to look back and know that I helped to create a more positive world.”

The Active Leaders program invites students to take part in a 10-week seminar that builds leadership skills through various activities and reflection both in groups and individually.

The program is in its first year and the seminar began at the beginning of the semester.

While the program covers a wide array of topics relating to leadership, it focuses on the importance of ethics, and incorporating ethics into every aspect of leadership decisions to facilitate a positive change.

The program is open to all students, which provides for an incredibly diverse and welcoming atmosphere.

Participants come from all backgrounds and all attend for very different reasons, however they share the common bond that is they wish to become stronger leaders.

The SEED program is an extension of the Active Leaders program that will begin its pilot year next semester.

It builds on what students take from the Active Leaders program and was devised to show students that there is more than one way to lead.  Leadership is built through a combination of human service, ethical actions, engagement within the community, and acceptance of diversity.

While both the Active Leaders Course and the SEED program are still in their pilot phases, their founder would eventually like to see all students have the opportunity to be involved with them during their college career.

The LEAD office is unique in that it offers more than just textbook facts, it offers opportunities for experiential learning.

Experiential learning is the idea that an individual learns a great deal from the sum of their experiences that they could not have learned from a textbook.

The many programs that the office has to offer are developed to enforce the idea that leadership is made up of three primary principles.

Understanding yourself by accepting your strengths as well as your weaknesses.

Understanding others by accepting diversity and keeping an open mind at all times.

And finally by using that understanding through the filter of ethical decisions to make positive changes to the world around you.

This principle supports the mission of the LEAD office, which according to its Director is, “to help students feel empowered to make a positive difference.”

The LEAD office offers several opportunities for involvement throughout the year including seminars, conferences, and academic programs.

Their programs are open to faculty, staff and alumnae all of whom could benefit from these educational events.

For students especially, taking advantage provides the opportunity to pick up unique skills that will stay with them throughout their future lives and careers.

As Lennon points out, programs such as Active Leaders and SEED are also excellent additions to a resume.

“LEAD’s various opportunities can help students become better team players with strong communication skills, and much more.  These are the top 2 qualities/skills that employers are seeking.”

That being said, what the LEAD office really offers is innovative and exciting ways for students to develop leaderships skills that they may never have thought possible.

“It is my hope that the students who are involved with these programs will leave them more prepared to be leaders in their careers, their lives, whatever they go on to next,” Lennon said.