University of Connecticut University of UC Title Fallback Connecticut

A Proud Member of the Leadership Learning Community

The Leadership Learning Community is, at it’s core, about community. Representing approximately 0.3 percent of the total population enrolled at the University of Connecticut, the LLC takes the large college experience and makes it remarkably smaller. By choosing to participate in the LLC you are gaining all of the benefits of attending one of the best public universities in the world, while at the same time, getting the small college feel that many students desire. By participating in our learning community, you will absolutely get the full college experience. Being the best of both the large and small college experience begins to define what we are all about, but it does not stop there.

Our students are leaders both in and outside of the classroom. This makes sense since we are the LEADERSHIP Learning Community. We have over 30 declared majors in our community and are especially proud of how interdisciplinary we are (from Accounting to Theater Studies and almost everything in between). This range of interest also translates to our involvement in extracurriculars on campus. If you have an interest, we have a student that you have something in common with. Our students take on leadership roles in these organizations and have even helped to create a few new campus organizations over the years.

Words on a page are great, but seeing us in action really begins to get at our personality. Last semester our students were required to think about the legacy they want to leave for their final project in the academic portion of the learning community experience. One of our students went so far above and beyond the requirement for this assignment and in doing so, really showed the true essence of what we are about. This video was Kurt Daigle’s submission, but was really a group project by the community, which is what we are about. This project had its own screening in our community and we were so impressed with the results that we want to share it with the world. We hope that you enjoy!


Leadership is BAE*

BAE: Before Anyone Else; short for baby or babe; a nickname for music’s queen, Beyoncé; #BAEcation; the noise a sheep makes; Bacon And Eggs …


BAE is a worldwide phenomenon, yet no one truthfully knows where the word comes from. There are claims all over the Internet behind the meaning, providing a plethora of explanations, and even TIME wrote an article on the three little letters. Linguists can’t track down where or when BAE came into our language. Nevertheless, it’s booming now more than ever.  Pharrell and Miley Cyrus would agree (cue their attempted summer hit song).

Just like our approach to leadership, the staff in UConn’s Leadership Office proposed that BAE stand for something much more than cutesy relationship jargon or punny Instagram #hashtags:



Thinking outside of the box. Having courage to face fears. Feeling unlimited, unrestrained.



Being genuine, one’s true self. Living with integrity. One-of-a-kind.



Enabling others. Growing strength and confidence. Taking control of one’s life.



To us, Leadership is *Boundless, Authentic, and Empowering.


BAE is what you make it. And we’d like to say the same thing about your college experience. Whether or not joining an organization, participating in sports, working 3 jobs, or majoring in naps is “your thing,” the beauty of being a college student is: it is YOUR CHOICE.


We’ll be here if you want to discover your leadership potential, challenge yourself to do more, or learn how to work better with others. Our job is to support you.


Emily Pearson, Outdoor Leadership Programs Graduate Assistant, Higher Education and Student Affairs master’s program ’17

Welcome to UConn and to 2015-2016

A Guest post from Alex Hu, student leader and proud member of the Leadership Learning Community.

Welcome to the University of Connecticut. My name is Alex Hu, I am a proud member of the Leadership Learning Community172. I am also a junior majoring in communication from Guangzhou China, that’s why I always tell people, like a lot of things in this world, I am a hundred percent made in China. Choosing to live in a Learning Community is the best decision I have ever made in my life besides getting a Netflix Account. My Learning Community Americanized me and helped me transition into my college life ever since my first day at the University of Connecticut.

I can still remember when I first moved into my dorm after a sixteen-hour flight with two huge suitcases. A real-life, living American greeted me and told me if I ever need any help he would always be there for me. So I thought, “wow, thank you America, people here are so friendly!” This American’s name is Ali Etman, my freshmen year RA who became my mentor-for-life. Since then, making friends has always been that easy. In the LLC, we have an open-door practice where everyone leaves their doors open whenever they are free to talk. Through the open-door practice I met my best friends, and I knew everyone on the two floors in my Learning Community.  Now I know wherever I go and whatever I am going to do, I always have my Learning Community Family supporting me from behind.

There are several things that I wished I knew as a freshman from China. First, for my fellow international students, there are no actual spirits or ghosts in ‘spirit shops’, I learned that the hard way.  Secondly, push yourself out of your comfort zone. There is no doubt that you will be comfortable around people from your high school or same town or when speaking the same language as those around you. But doesn’t that sound really familiar? Doesn’t it sound like what your life was like for the past four years? Take a break with your clique, rather than staying with them all the time, reach out to people. College is an amazing place for you to meet new people and make new friends. By doing this, you can make this campus a lot smaller.

Also if you have an accent, don’t be scared and shy to speak English. Be proud of your accent, it is who you are and proof of where you come from.

Leaving a Legacy

As my time working in the Leadership Office comes to an end, I was tasked with writing about leaving a legacy. What someone wants to leave as their legacy varies by person. Your legacy can be something tangible, like the creation of a new program, club or organization that will continue on past your time on campus or your legacy can be things that are intangible, like the lessons or impressions you left on others.

My job here in the Leadership Office has been to engage students in leadership development experiences. In doing so I promote leadership as a values driven process and challenge students to recognize if their actions are congruent with the values they espouse. One of my favorite quotes is a saying by Mother Teresa, “do small things with great love” because it sums up two things that I value. The first being love- a love for others and for the work that you do. The second is knowing that a small gesture can make a big difference to someone. Keeping these two values in mind, I am intentional in my work because I care for those that I am serving and think about how the workshops I facilitate, the classes I teach, the one-on-one meetings I have with students, or the programs I plan will make an impact on each individual person. This act of intentionality is a way that my work is congruent with the values I promote. This congruency between my actions and values, my intentionality in my work, and my ability to make an impact through a small act is what I hope I am leaving as my legacy in the Leadership Office.

It’s never too soon to start thinking about the legacy you want to leave. If you think about what mark or impression you want to leave in the future, you can start to plan the action steps you’ll take to achieve it sooner rather than later.  Thinking about your legacy now will help you to reflect on how your own leadership, character and actions will impact those around you.  So whether you’ve graduated and will be starting a new career soon, or even if you will be coming back to Storrs next semester, take some time to think about what you want your legacy to be.

-Danielle DeWeese
Graduate Assistant
Leadership Office

Writing a Personal Mission Statement

Most successful institutions and businesses have explicit organizational mission statements to guide the actions of members throughout the organization. Most successful leaders have explicit personal mission statements to guide their actions throughout the day.

We can become swept up in the chaos of the world around us. We can find ourselves acting to address perceived crises, appease others, and chase false dreams. We can even find ourselves quite successful, but unless we have defined that success for ourselves, it leaves us feeling empty and dissatisfied.

Personal mission statements are declarations of independents, manifestos for radical individuals, and guides to Life’s explorers. They give us the power to control the direction of our lives. They embody who we strive to be. They remind us where we want to go.

This is a living document. It can be edited, revised, or completely rewritten as needed. I have found that I need to schedule regular times in the year to review my mission and assess personal goals and accomplishments. Others are more spontaneous. The first draft is far from your last draft. Your mission statement is something that grows and changes as you do.

Personal missions are not something that we can invent; rather, they are something that we discover. In Man’s Search for Meaning, psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl writes, “Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. Thus, everyone’s task is as unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it.” Our task is to interrogate our lives to discern what our individual missions are.

To draft your mission:

Grab your favorite pen and make yourself comfortable. You may want to meditate, bike ride to a park, or hike to a favorite outlook to put some space between you and the noise of the world.

When ready, ask yourself questions. Here are some suggestions:

  • When am I am my best? At my worst?
  • What do I love to do at work? In my personal life? With others? Alone?
  • What would I do if I had unlimited money and time?
  • What will people say about me on my 90th birthday?
  • Who are my heroes? What do I admire about them most?
  • What do I have to offer the world?
  • What roles define me (eg student, daughter, friend, activist, etc)? Are you happy with them?
  • How do I want others to perceive me?
  • What is my mission in life?
  • What are your core values?

Write down your answer to these or other questions. This is for your eyes only. Be as open and honest as possible.

Once you finish, take a break to see if anything else emerges.

Read what you have written and see what is true for you. Highlight, circle, or underline the phrases, words, or sentences that stand out to you.

Put these select words together in any way that feels right to you.

Post your personal mission statement somewhere you will see it often: bedroom mirror, refrigerator door, nightstand, shower wall, or desk at work­. This will reinforce your core values and priorities ensuring your actions are congruent with your beliefs and desires. It can help you plan your day, make decisions, and create the life you want.

Challenging the Traditional View of Leadership

A guest post by Nicole Lorenzo, Class of 2015; Co-Chair, H.O.L.D.U.P!


The majority of society seems to believe that the pair, “introverted” and “leader” do not quite go together as well as “extroverted” and “leader.” The former is more of a peanut butter and Fluff sandwich, rather than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Although less common, peanut butter and Fluff sandwiches challenge the “norm” of school lunches among a sea of jelly-stained brown bags.

Commonly, an image of the quintessential leader includes someone who thrives in a crowd, exhibiting an air of entertainment and confidence. It is someone who is gregarious, charismatic, bold, and extroverted. In society, there seems to be a common misconception that great leaders have extroverted personalities. However, several studies from the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking estimate that a full 40 percent of executives are introverts. Evidently, there is a large amount of leadership coming from individuals who society labels quiet, shy, withdrawn, diffident, or even antisocial. Consider the leaders Mohandas Ghandi and Mother Theresa, two of the greatest influencers of the century. They are historical examples of introverts that surpassed the boundaries surrounding what a “traditional” leader is pictured to be. Although introverts are usually the minority personality type, real-time statistics are difficult to evaluate because people are either unaware of their personality type, or they are ambiverts, falling in the middle of the introversion-extroversion Spectrum.

So, what makes an introvert? Introversion is one end of the personality continuum of introversion-extroversion. While extroverts are considered outgoing and gather energy from high-stimulation environments, introverts are more introspective and gather energy in low-stimulation environments. Learning from my time as a leader, I thrive in one-on-one situations, pairs, or small groups. For example, after H.O.L.D.U.P’s Fall Kick-Off, which lasts about 6 hours and includes about 30 people in one room, all I wanted to do was be alone. I just wanted peace and quiet for an hour so I could “recharge.” This is one way to gauge whether or not you tend to be more introverted or extroverted. We all have a little bit of introversion and extroversion within us. It’s important to remember introversion and extroversion lie on a continuum and are not mutually exclusive.

At first, introversion might seem like an inhibiting characteristic in a leader, but it has its advantages. I certainly don’t consider myself the one who commands a room’s attention with an entertaining tale from last night or a booming shout. But, I possess something equally as valuable as an extrovert; I use the introvert’s innate ability to captivate attention with an intentional presence, and deliberately crafted message. From freshman to senior year, I grew as a leader and learned how to confidently express my ideas to the group as a whole, no matter how novel. It was these unprecedented ideas that helped the organization consider things that they had not considered before, and it is this precise thinking style that helps progress into the future.

One challenge for me as an introvert in a predominantly extroverted world is delegating. Since I am introverted, I like to be on my own, and therefore have become quite competent at tasks without help. When I was 4, I would order my own food at restaurants and would ask my parents, with a confused look, why the older boy in the booth nearby had his parents order for him. When I was 5 years old, I remember visiting my grandmother. She always wanted to make me breakfast, help me get dressed, brush my hair, and do everything for me. But, I told her I wanted to do it myself and didn’t want help. I loved to do things on my own. To this day, I don’t like to ask for help. Yet, through my time as co-chair, I had a lot to manage and I learned how to delegate tasks to others and why it is so important for the organization on a long-term basis. After all, I won’t be co-chair forever!

In fall 2011, I applied to H.O.L.D.U.P, a completely student-run leadership organization at the University of Connecticut. I knew I had potential to be a leader, but I did not know how to reach it. The application asked, “What is the most important quality in a leader?” As a freshman and self-aware introvert, I answered that a great leader needs to know how to listen. I was told after I was accepted, that nobody else wrote about listening as the most important quality in a leader. That attribute allowed my application to stand out from the pool of responses. Through active listening, a great leader gains understanding and a basis for change. Listening to the feedback of others is the driving force in decision-making. Just like we cannot read minds, we cannot expect to know what an organization needs and wants unless we survey the internal and external parties involved.

Although I stand by my answer on that application today, I recently discovered another leadership quality that is important and seems more prevalent in introverts: humility. Being a humble leader allows you to put the focus on the individuals you lead. I noticed right away after being elected as co-chair, that I’m not interested in the limelight of leadership. I’m more interested in empowering others by being a humble leader. You won’t find me boasting about my accomplishments, but you will find me congratulating others on their accomplishments, and urging them that they can succeed past failures with grace and optimism.

After spending the beginning semesters without a leadership position, I realized I needed to do more in order to push myself to become the leader I envisioned freshman year. When the opportunity arose to start a new committee, I jumped at it and continued for a few semesters. Shortly after, I earned a spot as one of the co-chairs, and was elected to work with none other than an extroverted leader. Working with an extroverted leader was a surprisingly great experience. I’d rather connect with someone one-on-one than in a big group, because that builds a stronger more meaningful connection and network. Working closely with another leader helped me establish that connection, and helped me to be able to reach my full potential as an individual leader and a co-leader. The connections I have with each member in HOLDUP are unique, and I will cherish every relationship, however short-lived it may be. It is important for me as a leader to provide support to anyone in the organization, because I strive to be a receptive leader whom they can rely on.

After holding my last meeting as a H.O.L.D.U.P co-chair, one of the members thanked me for showing her that a leader does not have to be the loudest person in the room. Her comment inspired me to write this blog post about introverted leadership, and my journey. I hope you have a newfound understanding of what introverted leadership may look like. As you morph your view of a “traditional” leader, change up your lunch and try a peanut butter and Fluff next time.

For inquiries or comments, feel free to contact


Life Goes on After Graduation

We asked around: “What is one piece of advice you have for students graduating college? What is one thing you wish you knew when you were graduating college?” Here’s our collective wisdom …

  •  It’s okay to be happy, sad, neutral, scared, or excited to graduate. It’s okay to be happy, sad, neutral, scared or excited about life after graduation. If I’ve learned one thing, it’s that life goes on.
  •  If you don’t have a plan post-graduation, it’ll come. You will figure it out eventually.
  •  Trust the process.
  •  It’s just as important to know what you don’t want to do as it is to know what you want to do.
  •  Be flexible. Life won’t always go how you plan.
  •  No obstacle or problem is so daunting that you will not ultimately overcome it.
  •  Applying for jobs can be a full time job in itself and often isn’t very fun. We’ve been there, too. Something will work out. Have a cover letter template can to help speed up the job application process.
  • Being yourself and showing you can hold a conversation during an interview is half the battle.
  • During interviews, remember that you are deciding on the job and company just as much as they are deciding on you.
  • Your first job more than likely will not be your dream job or forever job.
  • You may have to work at a job that you hate for a little while. Remember, it is only temporary. Do something every day that moves you towards your goal.
  • If you’re worried about your qualifications for a job, don’t sell yourself short. You’ll learn what you need as you get into the field.
  • Find your fit. If the job or apartment or relationship doesn’t feel right, trust your gut. Get out. You deserve more than that.
  • Pay your loans on time.
  • Get professional financial planning advice. It can help you get a good idea of what to do with your new income, loans, etc.
  •  Take risks.
  • Call your family more often.
  • Start your retirement planning now.
  •  Travel.
  • Fear can be debilitating. Close your eyes and take the leap of faith.
  • Get some professional work experience before going back to graduate school or professional program. You may not know what you to do for the rest of your life at 22.
  • Put yourself out there. Meet new people. You’ll learn a lot about yourself through new experiences.
  • Adults don’t always have it figured out. They’ve just learned how to thoughtfully improvise.
  • Keep in touch with your favorite professors. You may need them to write you a letter of recommendation someday.
  • Take care of yourself. Your physical and mental health are important. Give yourself breaks when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
  • Don’t get tied down by the small details. Keep the bigger picture in mind. Will the thing that you’re losing sleep over matter tomorrow? In a week? In a year?
  • Time will start moving faster than you realize. It has never been too long to pick up the phone and call someone that is important in your life.
  • Do something that contributes to the greater good. Do many things that contribute to the greater good.
  • Instant gratification isn’t always possible.
  • Some things in life are completely out of your control.
  • Stand up for what’s right.
  •  Ignore your self-doubt. You are worthy. You are good enough. You are capable. You matter.

  Congratulations Class of 2015! Welcome to the “real world”!

Michela DeLuca

Graduate Intern

A review of The Next America

Our first student blog post was written by RJ Anderson, an International Development and Human Rights major and 2014 Legacy student. RJ and the Legacy Cohort had the pleasure of dining and conversing with Paul Taylor, author of The Next America, before he gave a public lecture in which the UConn community was invited to attend. In this blog post RJ discusses the insightful conversation that took place.

On Tuesday November 7th, our legacy cohort had an enthralling conversation with Paul Taylor, a senior fellow at the Pew Research Center. The impetus for our engagement revolved around Taylor’s recent book, The Next America, a social commentary which examined fifty years of public surveys and demographic data in considering the future of tomorrow. In this book, Taylor identifies four generations of Americans – Silents, Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials – and considers their interpretations of a range of social issues. Contrasting this with the changing demographic and technological nature of American society, The Next America suggests a future that is shaped by ongoing trends, characteristics, and the many shared histories of our information age. How will Millennials continue to fund and receive benefits from social security? What will a white minority look like? In what ways does technology change our perception and interactions with political, economic, and social institutions? And ultimately, in what direction is our country headed?

Taylor had dinner with our legacy cohort prior to a public lecture with the UConn community. In this space, the young and old were pitted in a full-fledged discussion of generational difference, particularly focused around the issue of technology and information exchange. The genesis of our dinner conversation began with Taylor himself asking the questions, something that continued for the remainder of our personal interaction. Having written extensively about how our generation understood the internet, texting, and other forms of communication, he was overwhelmingly excited to hear our personal reflections. However, and to the conversation’s benefit, the varied age of the participants made for a comprehensive and insightful discussion.

The chief, overriding question, focused on the mediation of knowledge through communication technology. Did the ability to have information at one’s fingertips make society more knowledgeable than previous generations, or less? In other words, how has an Internet culture transformed one’s place within society? Perhaps not surprising, the elder generation in the room had several reservations about technology’s expansive ability to reconfigure cultural relations. They argued that the abundance of knowledge has created an individualist culture that seemed to no longer respect traditional values associated with education, the household, and national identity. The individualism that permeated university halls and 21st century youth was an affliction of technology’s ability to create multiple conflicting subsets of communal ideals. With the advent of never-ending knowledge, there were jacks of all trades and masters of none. More specifically, those who did orient themselves towards a particular topic were entrenching themselves in an increasingly specialized and seemingly irrelevant subject matter. While the ability to have multiple choices of knowledge acquisition could enhance research, it also distanced the individual person from former social communities. For instance, the landscape of previous generations revolved around the nuclear family, educational hierarchy, and national commitments. In the age of the 21st century, these forms of ideological solidarity were eroding, and trust in previously established systems was commonly questioned.

The younger generation in the room took an opposed stance. Individualism that accompanied the rise of communication technology created a culture of knowledge. Questioning the perceived reality of traditional institutions was beneficial for overall human progress. Media outlets and state rhetoric required thorough examination, and taking these forms of knowledge dissemination at face value proved problematic. The world of the 21st century was complex, and globalization’s continual advancement made the individual cognizant of the varied positions surrounding an established issue. As a result, choice was better positioned with individual agency than communal solidarity – which was informed by ideological positions rather than concrete realities. Having knowledge at one’s fingertips enabled a person to engage with an abstracted and complicated world more efficiently than the institutions which traditionally interpreted that world.

This discussion was informed and commented on by the generational positions of the persons in the room. Their personal histories could be placed within the social, political, and economic environment of their upbringing, and the larger realities of a globalized world. Those opposed to technology, and its questionable ability to enhance knowledge acquisition, argued this position from their personal experiences. They found the contemporary generation of students to be treading different paths than they had followed. Granted, while many of these changes resulted from the shifting nature of political and economic realities, the apprehension towards change is common as generations’ age. In this way, the younger generation has always been more apt for progressive change. After all, they are the ones who must navigate and explore new modes of thought; the ones who must shape an alternate future than the reality that has been left to them.

Paul Taylor’s provocative questions and subsequent discussion all neatly fit the central points of his book, The Next America. The advent of new technology, of changing demographic makeup, and shifting economic fortunes are perceived differently across generations. In concluding this blog post, I wish to leave off with some additional questions and reflection. Most pressing is a concern with the future. As our generation heads into positions of power over the next decade, how will our personal decisions reflect a global humanity? If we have the ability to obtain diverse and endless forms of knowledge, how can we use such information to better the world at large? Finally, with the advent of a new generation, and the aging of our own millennial generation, will the abundance of communication technology continue to be a progressive force behind social transformation? In other words, how can we utilize increasing individualism to generate social mobilization around important issues?

Personally, I believe that such questions require an individual belief that is focused on global citizenship. Just as communication technology has simultaneously shrunk and expanded our world, the consciousness that it has evoked is more global than that of previous generations. Communication technology does not have to spell a treacherous or disfiguring future. Rather, it can create a future reality grounded in a holistic understanding of individual diversity. If utilized appropriately, then the world of tomorrow can be one of engagement for all citizens of all nationalities and identities. The appreciation and systematic restructuring of institutions to reflect this global humanity is the task millennials have been handed. As the first generation to experience the internet era, we are the best positioned to utilize its capabilities for the progressive betterment of humankind.

Paul Taylor’s discussion was part of the Leadership Legacy Speaker Series. We invite you to attend our next speaker series event with Anita Hill on Wednesday, November 12th at 7pm in the Student Union Theater. More information can be found here. 

Encountering Our Leadership Shadow

11911419676_7c2801d43e_zWith Halloween around the corner, I thought it would be a good opportunity to explore our dark sides. Leaders must be fully aware of themselves, including those parts which are buried or hidden. These unseen parts of ourselves are referred to in Jungian psychology as our shadows. Often, leaders fail to find inspiration or inspire others because their shadows get in their way.

The Shadow

Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology and mentee of Sigmund Freud, defined our shadows as “an unconscious aspect of the personality which the conscious ego does not identify in itself” (Youth-Eisendrath and Dawson 1997: 319). The Jungian ‘shadow’ may include both positive and negative attributes of which an individual may not be aware of. These attributes and behaviors form at a young age as survival strategies.

Shadows come in two general varieties: sinister and golden. Our sinister shadows are those deeply held wounds and beliefs which lead to behaviors that sabotage or undermine our success and relationships. These are the behaviors which we engage in against our best interests (and better judgements).

Our golden shadows are those deeply held wounds and beliefs which lead to obscuring or denying our strengths and talents. These show up as the suppression of our personal power.


Identifying Shadows

Our shadows have a profound grip on our behavior. To overcome the power our shadows have over us, we must shine light on them and make them known. The following is a simple activity to begin to explore your shadows:

1) On a piece of paper, write the name of someone who drives you nuts.
2) Write the top two or three things about them that you cannot stand.
3) Look at the things you have written and think about the following:
• Where else have these attributes appeared in your life?
• Are these characteristics that you have?
• Are they patterns that you have struggled against since childhood?
• Why do these characteristics stand out as bad?
This gives you a glimpse of some of your sinister shadows.
4) Repeat with someone who you greatly admire. This gives you a glimpse of some of your golden shadows.
Remember, the world is a mirror upon which we project our hidden selves.


Tim Dzurilla

Graduate Assistant, Leadership Learning Community

Young-Eisendrath, P. and Dawson, T. 1997. The Cambridge Companion to Young. Cambridge University Press.

Finding Authentic Bailiwicks in the ‘Age of Oversharing’

Earlier this year, Facebook announced that it had surpassed 1.2 billion worldwide users.  Each one of those pages allows a person to essentially be a unique celebrity and promote themselves. In fact, it could almost be considered a quasi iMDB page: pictures, both candid and posed, to show your versatile interests and brag about experiences; links to other past roles; lists of supporting actors in your life; and of course random quotes and trivia. People are very quick to add the perfect selfie or Buzzfeed article that really defines their life at that moment—especially lists about midterms.  People are also quick to avoid posting information that could make them feel vulnerable, like occasionally turning on S Club 7 Pandora when you need to just dance around…

But what if Mark Zuckerberg added a section to identify your Bailiwick? Would people be empowered to be truthful or would they say what they thought people wanted to hear? Or maybe they would set their privacy settings to lockdown mode where only they can view it.

Offline, how do we, as leaders, foster an environment where someone feels encouraged and empowered to lower the proverbial privacy settings? Leaders should empower others to be genuine, to embrace their bailiwick and share it with the world.  If someone is unsure of their bailiwick, leaders can support others on a reflective journey to discover their interests and passions.

Here’s some advice from my experiences:

1)    Take the time to actually get to know someone and listen without judgment.  It’s hard to remove our own personal lens at times, but showing genuine interest in listening is exactly what someone might need.

2)    Ask open-ended questions about them and don’t interrupt with a personal story.

3)    After someone finishes their story, empathize and make connections that will validate the individual’s experiences.  If someone shares something rather deep or personal, thank him or her for being vulnerable.

By having an open mind and creating a space where individuals feel comfortable to be their authentic selves, you have an opportunity to empower others to find their niche… which can get a whole lot of likes.


Caroline Green

Graduate Intern/HESA Master’s Student