Ladies Pursing Leadership: Women of the LDP – By Breanna Whitley

     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.

     Today, we are working with our fellow LDP members, developing our leadership and technical skills, while also building enduring friendships. Through our friendships we empower each other and create a culture driven toward success. Last year, Olivia Taitt was the only girl in the LDP, and this year with the addition of Jessica Higginbotham, Madeleine Meyer, and myself, Breanna Whitley. Olivia says, “Being around all these like-minded, hard-working ladies drives me to be better”. This sentiment is supported by multiple studies that demonstrate how friends can help reinforce individual will power. Forging these dynamic friendships strengthens our individual visions of success because we desire what is best for one another. Within our female friendships we hold each other accountable, celebrate our successes, and reflect on our role in sustaining the next generation of successful women.

     If one could quantitatively measure the value of the skills we develop in college, we could predict a direct correlation between our GPA’s and leadership skills to future salaries. Although, the friendships we develop are priceless; the bonds we are creating permeate our lives and bring a source of fulfillment that cannot be measured by any amount of money.

     Even if it is only a laid-back pizza night or an evening of sushi making, we still understand our role in the big picture. We are modeling the way for future female leaders by empowering each other and our peers. In the future, we hope that each year more and more ladies will join us in our pursuit of leadership and envision a day when we will mentor the next generation of leaders, until then we will continue to be a four-some of fiercely dedicated females striving to help each other reach our goals!

L to R: Madeleine Meyer, Jessica Higginbotham, Breanna Whitley, Olivia Taitt