For my STEP Signature Project, I selected to pursue leadership development. Throughout the course of the year, I have had the chance to attend leadership development conferences throughout the country in Chicago, Richmond, Nashville, Chicago again, and even right here in Columbus.
My view of the world was profoundly impacted through my year of leadership development. I really learned a lot about others from all of these opportunities. The most profound realization I have found is that I must encourage the heart of those I lead. It is necessary to take the time to say thank you, to express appreciation, and to celebrate small wins with your team. People will not continue if morale is low, so it is essential to encourage the heart of your team members in order to continue pushing forward.
At the Ruck Leadership Institute in Richmond, VA, I met two of the best men I have ever associated with. Brad Nahrstadt and Adam Seiber have had a very large impact on who I am and how I lead. I am honored to have been mentored by them at Ruck over the course of 5 intense days of 18 hours of daily programming. They asked me to take a step back and assess my team instead of charging head first into the fray. I learned that I am different from the vast majority of people and cannot base my leadership style off of purely my own experience; I must draw from the collective experiences of those around me. Despite that fact that I enjoy working even without praise, breaks, or celebrations, the rest of the world does not operate that way. I must take the time to celebrate small wins in order to keep my team moving forward throughout my life.
One of the activities I greatly benefited from was the Resume 201 workshop at Life After College – Chicago. I knew that my time at LAC was not about me. I spent nearly the entire session mentoring other young men on how to put together a resume and how to make it look professional. It was a different experience for me because I am only 20 years old yet I was teaching others that were my own age. I have never formally taught a class or anything of that nature so it was odd to take the majority of the time in the session to teach those around me because the facilitator could only help so many people per hour.
Even though it is not necessarily related to the change in my perspective, I forged two important relationships at Sigma Phi Epsilon’s 54th Grand Chapter Conclave. I had the honor of meeting Jay Hurt and Bill Tragos at Conclave. I had never met either of the two outstanding men before and had only heard of Bill. It was a privilege to get to know them and hear about a vision for the future of SigEp. I cannot help but think about how the shared bond between us, wrestling, played a role in our chance meeting. Bill’s father wrestled for Greece nearly a century ago, and Jay’s friend and brother in Sigma Phi Epsilon was Frank Rader, a fellow alumus of Davidson and former Board Member of USA Wrestling. I would not have had the chance to meet both Jay and Bill if it were not for the sport of wrestling. I now look up to Bill and Jay and aspire to one day be able to give as generously as they have given.
Leadership development is intrinsically tied to my future plans and goals. I want to be a Regional Director for a year after graduation. Following my time as an RD, I intend to enroll in an M.D./M.H.A. program. Leadership is necessary for anyone desiring to enter into an administrative role. As a result of this past year, I firmly believe I am better prepared to serve my Fraternity as an RD and to serve my fellow people as a leader in providing healthcare.