In today’s globally competitive job market, effective leaders are in high demand. The Leadership Development Program saw that need as a direct call to action, and since 2007 student leaders have been transitioning from students to industry leaders. Unfortunately, the reality is that women occupy only a fraction of leadership positions in industry, politics, and business. As for the ladies of the LDP, we saw the need for women in leadership roles and interpreted it as an opportunity to rise to the occasion.
This morning, I heard someone say, “You want to know the best oxymoron I’ve ever heard? A fun run. Ain’t nothing fun about a run.”
In the LDP, we have to run as a way to boost our physical stamina and learn good life habits. Is running fun in the moment? Probably not. Is running fun in retrospect? Maybe for some, but most would say it is never any fun at all. Yet there’s always things in life we won’t enjoy doing but the benefits outweigh the consequences.
Becoming a new member of any group where you don’t know anyone can be challenging. Starting off at Southern Illinois University with the LDP was awesome. Within the Leadership Development Program, the members share the same values and work ethic but we differ when it comes to interests. I had the opportunity to join Automotive Technology Organization (ATO) through the Automotive Technology program where everyone shares a passion for cars and racing. The great thing about ATO is the many different options available to the members through the offering of different project cars. I am personally part of the Del Sol group.
The weekend of September 20th University of Louisville hosted an unofficial competition, Midnight Mayhem, outside of Bedford, Kentucky for Baja teams around the country. SIU was able to attend, and we brought a team of 19 members and two fully functional cars.
Midnight Mayhem is possibly the most important time of the year for Baja, since it is a great bonding experience for the team and all the new members. This is also the first opportunity for new members to get to drive the cars as well as spend two days of camping with the older members to bond the team together.
It has often been observed that most of the people who join LDP are the kind of people who know their goals and will pursue them relentlessly. We work hard and have found these characteristics are why the average GPA of the LDP is much higher than the average of our university. In the dedication to excellence that the LDP expects, we all hold memberships in multiple RSOs and professional clubs. This driven attitude is great when trying to achieve goals or meet a deadline, but every now and again life requires relaxation! In a high-functioning environment, it is very easy to get strung out and lose motivation.
It has been said, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. This past Friday, Dr. DeRuntz and his family invited us to their home to enjoy an end of summer barbecue. It was a picture-perfect day with temperatures in the upper 70’s and sunshine. Bruce and Liz DeRuntz made a delicious home cooked meal, and we are all grateful for the work they put in to reward our efforts. Although it may seem like having a barbecue is not a team event, it’s events like these where one may truly learn the most about a group. In a professional environment, it is important to take the time to get to know the people on one’s team without the pressures of work. There is certainly more than the smell of the barbecue and the taste of fresh watermelon at a barbecue that will help a team grow.
Spring Orientation is, without a doubt, one of the most critical points for LDP throughout the whole year. It’s when we take all of our applicants to Touch of Nature for a weekend so we can give them crash course of the LDP. For many of these applicants, it is their first time interacting with LDP, so it is very important to establish standards, without overworking the new members.
The 17th of January marked the first day of the spring semester for SIU, but the 15th of January was day one for the LDP. By coming back from break early, our goal was to improve team cohesion–something the senior members decided needed improvement. Never being a group that backs down from a challenge, preparation started in the fall to plan a day that would bring everyone closer through some tough but fun challenges.
Cody Johnson reaching for a milk bottle during one of Mr. Calabrese’s team building activities.