At the culmination of each semester’s Emerge Leadership Circle, students share their personal leadership philosophies. These philosophies are the culmination of a semester’s learning and reflection, and each is as unique as the participant themselves.
Class of 2023
“Leadership is a relationship between a leader and the people that they are leading. Sometimes, this is a defined role with defined responsibilities (like a president or a team captain), but sometimes it is not (like an older sibling or someone taking charge of a group project). A good leader leads by example based on their values but remembers to always be open-minded and listen to others’ opinions. It is important to foster a connection between yourself and the people that you lead. A leader has strengths, but they also have weaknesses. A good leader is aware of their own weaknesses and biases, so they ask others for help when they need it. A good leader inspires, motivates, challenges, and knows how to handle loss and failure. Being a leader is being a role model. No matter how small the role may seem, it is still an honor to have people look up to you and rely on you to guide them.
For a leader, there will always be tough choices along the way and risks that must be taken, and I hope to make the best-informed decisions and take accountability for my actions. I hope to open myself to new perspectives and take on new challenges, while keeping in mind the interests and limitations of the group I am leading. I will always discuss options with those I lead and ask for their feedback. As much as people rely on their leader, a leader relies on their people as well. My goal is to encourage others and bring people together. Anyone can be a leader, and the biggest accomplishment any leader can have is inspiring others to step into the role of leader.”
Class of 2022
“Stepping on the track for the first time as a freshman leads me to wonder, where I am going to be after this first workout? Am I going to quit because it is hard or am I going to keep pushing because I embrace the warm feeling of success? Becoming a leader is like stepping on to the track on day one facing these contemplations in a similar way. It is about stepping up to your beliefs of what is going to be best fit for the group that lies in front of you. It is about showing your teammates the value they are to you and leading them in the right direction of personal bests each race they run. It is about creating an enjoyable environment based off of a caring, mature, responsible, respectful, wise and approachable captain leading the way to success. To eventually succeed in championships, it is going to be like putting together a puzzle where everyone on the team follows the direction to make it to the final picture. With every failure, comes encouragement and persistence to keep trying to eventually figure out that pattern to success. As a leader, I promise to make my best efforts to lead my peers into success, on or off the track.”
Class of 2021
“With a vision and a goal, she begins
Braving the cold, harsh world from which he came
Where opportunity and never seemed to bloom
Yet, with a courageous shout they proclaim,
“I didn’t get here on my own, but this road was paved with diligence.
I’ve kept the dream alive, even though it felt like I couldn’t make it.
My journey isn’t over till I can pass it on to another”
-A thoughtful person somewhere
“I think it’s very important for anyone who is to be a leader to know about themselves. Not just the basics like their physical traits, materials things, and current aspirations, but deeper things about their values and the character that they want to develop. Those are the qualities that ultimately inform the sort of life we lead—which is my main point in this first part; we’re all leaders in our most basic, oft-forgotten action of living life. This is why the main thought in the first stanza is continuous, however the pronouns in the lines are varied to include all of us. The different types of leadership we exhibit, I haven’t addressed here, but the results of our effective leadership should produce, at a minimum, the three lessons that follow in the second stanza; each sentence crafted around these three principles: teamwork, perseverance, and a sense of service—of which I place in very high regard.”
Class of 2021
“I believe leadership is about motivating and empowering others to succeed. It’s about building strong teams who work together for a common goal. It’s about knowing when to push myself outside of my comfort zone to help others develop. Leadership It’s about being a role model for others and help them believe we all can be leaders. I Grew up hearing how I was too shy to be a leader how no one would ever listen to. When I transferred to WSU I decided I was the only one who could decide if I could be a leader or not, I have been able to prove myself that Im capable of being a leader and in the future I want to inspire others like me to believe in themselves.”
Class of 2024
“If you look up the definition of being a leader you will find, a person who leads or commands a group, organization or country. I define being a leader as someone who can discover their own values, skills and determinations in order to use them to communicate with others. Being an effective leader does not mean you need to take control, but instead being able to give your own perspectives in problem solving situations. Seeing that you have strengths and weaknesses is something many people choose to avoid, though this is an important part of being able to grow your mindset and ideas. My strengths include being able to allow the people around me to give their opinion without judgement. Weaknesses I have acknowledged include not being completely confident that what I say will be right or understood. Even though this is something I continue to work on, being able to identify this, is a step in the right direction towards being an excellent leader. I do feel as though I have found that my own personal values extend from gratitude, teamwork to perseverance. Having the value of gratitude allows me to make people feel more positive and see the good in themselves especially if they tend to let their insecurities takeover. Teamwork makes the idea of one person being in charge non existence but instead creates an environment where everyone can state their thoughts and ideas. I have found that perseverance is one of the most important for it allows me to believe that no obstacle is impossible to overcome. In order to be a leader you must be able to work as a team with others and allow everyone to have a chance to form an opinion and problem solve together. Everyone is completely unique in their own way and being able to identify that is a major aspect of being an effective leader. I am confident that I can be a great leader and find ways to work with others using the skills and values I have identified.”
Class of 2023
“My leadership philosophy is to provide the best outcome possible for those who I am leading. I lead with open mindedness and empathy while staying focused on the task at hand. In order to be a successful leader I will keep the needs of my group in the front of my mind while addressing all issues that may arise. My type of leadership is one that facilitates conversations, allows everyone to feel comfortable and heard while also remaining on task. Being a leader is not an easy task, yet it is one that I take on with open arms. I have been a leader in my life by choice and sometimes by obligation. I am a team captain which I gained with hard work and compassion. I am a big sister which I gained the honor of being without much of my own personal say. Being a leader is something that I take extreme pride in. It influences the way I hold myself accountable, how I portray myself, and how I make the everyday choices that I am faced with. The Emerge Leadership program has solidified my views on leadership while also adding necessary tools to the toolbox I will carry with me for the rest of my. In four years I will walk across the stage at Worcester State. My journey here will be done. I plan for my educational journey to continue, but who knows what the future holds. One thing that I know with complete confidence and certainty, is that leadership will be a constant in my life.”
Class of 2021
“We all have a purpose in life, but for me it took a while to discover what that purpose of mine was. I spent a majority of my adolescence struggling with mental illness, never realizing that a lot of my peers were facing the same demons. It took me quite some time to realize that, yet once I did, it seemed so simple. As if the answers were right in front of me all along. In fact, the answers were sitting right in front of me every time I looked in the mirror. The only problem was that my lack of self-identity acted as a barrier from truly discovering myself, and my purpose. I essentially allowed myself to get sucked into the unspoken black hole of society, which for most, seems quite impossible to escape from. My journey of discovery cured the blindness to all the blessings we all usually take for granted in our lifetime. And more importantly, it opened my eyes to myself, who I was, and how I could create and become my own leader in order to take initiative and contribute to the betterment of society. Gaining a sense of self identity, requires leadership. So it took standing up and becoming a leader for myself to discover what that meant to me on a personal level; being a voice for not only myself, but for the voiceless as well. My purpose, along with my leadership philosophy, is not to provide the voice for others, but to teach them how to find their own voice. Many of us have not yet found that voice of ours, and are unknowingly living our lives under the conditions of the “norm”, or the voice of others’ rather than our own. We do this and simply hope for a better tomorrow, but how can we change the world if we lack the ability to change ourselves? We all want and expect love for one another, but we can’t give or receive love if we don’t have that within ourselves, for ourselves. We subconsciously starve our souls of serotonin, because we become too dependent on what we are provided with by others. My leadership philosophy is to open the mind of those I serve in my lifetime, and allow them to seek and find their own purpose in life, just as I found mine. As this type of leader, my purpose is to educate those around me on how to reach their highest form of self, so that the world as a whole could eventually follow, and learn to do the same.”
Class of 2022
“As a leader my number one priority is not only achieving the goal but also serving the group of people I lead. When leading a team, my focus is to get the job done in the best manner possible. Each member of my team will always have an equal opportunity to tell their ideas and as a group we decide what is best. I want to provide a safe environment for my team so they can bring out their best selves. To make sure the team is running smoothly, I will always provide opportunity for feedback. There will be times where I will not be fit to lead and that’s ok. I know when I need to step down and let someone else lead. While following, I will learn so I can be a better leader. A leader is only as good as the people they lead.”
Class of 2023
“My mission as a leader is to aide in elevating others to be the absolute best they can be.
I feel my personal values and my identity are the foundations of my purpose and desire to be the best leader I can. I want to lead honestly and honorably in a way that makes others proud to work beside me, coming up with creative solutions to the problems we face; and while even in the face of difficulties being able to conquer them laughing and having fun through the hardship.
I am proud of who I am, where I come from, the hard work it took me to get here and feel that my life experience is something that can be of benefit to others.
Although we often think of leaders leading from the front, a leader also is able to sit back and allow others to take a little bit of control, giving them purpose and motivation to keep working hard, while also showing a sense of humbleness and gratitude for the efforts others contribute. I want to build a team that ultimately is like a family, who all have one another’s backs and are not afraid to “sing with you while neck deep in mud”’
Class of 2024
“As a wise man once told me, leadership is the wake you leave behind as you pursue truth and goodness. With this perspective, I see that as I am misled, so I mislead others. It is for this reason that if I am to be an effective and useful leader, I must first be a willing servant. I cannot let my intentions get the better of me, nor can I blindly trust the intentions of others, but to be a good leader, I have to only pursue that which is founded on reality rather than upon the endless lies of the world. If I submit myself to the truth and act in accordance with it, only goodness can result. If I never use my benevolent goals as justification for my questionable actions, I can never wrong anyone. I hold leadership as the sober responsibility bestowed upon those with the closest possible understanding of the truth to serve as a guide for others toward the goodness which lies beyond it. In short, always pursue what is true and good, and as you do so, never let your ends justify your means.”
Class of 2024
“My mission as a leader is to inspire and bring out the best in others. Being a leader means I get the opportunity to demonstrate to others the type of person I am which is a very cool and understanding person. I personally never thought about myself as a leader until others around me literally told me that i was a leader and that many people look up to me. That made me feel some type of way but never did it make me doubt my potential. I take pride in helping others and motivating them to strive and prosper in anything they do, to always take risks and to never fear failure. I enjoy taking charge of things but do not enjoy leaving anyone out, i am huge on making everyone feel welcomed and loved. My number one rule in life is to give nothing but love out to the world and that’s what has helped me become the person I am today. My religious beliefs and the way I was raised have shaped me into the person I am and i’ve learned throughout the years that time is not our friend, time doesn’t wait for anyone and for that reason we must act now. Failure is the key to success and it’s better to try than to never try at all. That is something I preach a lot, don’t be afraid to try something new because it may be the best thing you’ve ever done. Being a leader is something that i naturally became, but never did i feel that i was superior to anyone. I prefer to act more than to speak, as actions speak louder than words. As a leader I feel that it’s my responsibility to set an example to others and make sure that everyone feels like they belong, because they do belong. If there’s one thing I want others to learn from me it’s to remember to always strive and prosper.”
Class of 2023
“I was rushing late to the student center, hair sprawled in my face, and my half opened backpack slung around my shoulder. “I’m sorry I’m late,” and by late I was a minute early. My boss laughed at me, knowing that I like to be early to every shift, and she handed me a piece of paper. “Here,” she said and I looked at it with a confused expression, it read ‘Congratulations, you’ve been nominated to be in the leadership emerge program.’ I had no idea what this program was but the word leader has always held significance to me. Ever since I was able to take my first steps and say my first words, my dad had told me I had characteristics of a leader, that I had a dominant personality and that one day I would make an impact in this world. He said that my optimism could shine and light up a dark room, and that my positivity is what kept everyone going. He was right. I was never one to be a pessimist, I just wanted to see other people smile and be radiant with positivity. So even though most days I was struggling on my own, my goal was the same, day in and day out: to make someone’s day better. A lot of my childhood friends would call me ‘bossy,’ or ‘loud,’ but that’s just who I am. I am an initiator. I am not afraid to be the first to say or do something. I am not afraid of making mistakes. After all, no one is perfect, even world leaders that we often look up to.
When Sarah told us to write about what being a leader meant to us, I had to sit down and think about it. I knew what a leader was, but trying to describe one- that was a whole different ball park. By the definition of google, “A leader is someone who can see how things can be improved and who rallies people to move toward that better vision.” I am someone who can see what can be improved and I initiate the improvement. I am capable of thinking ahead and seeing what’s best for the future. It is important to see the pros and cons of every decision and how it will affect the future. So for me, being a leader is someone who is empowering, someone who influences a team to grow, someone who can overcome obstacles to become successful.
I am forever grateful to have had this opportunity to join and meet so many people who are like me. I genuinely looked forward to every Wednesday, being able to strengthen my skills and ability to become a better leader. And with that I filled out the application and pressed send to join the leadership emerge program.”
Class of 2022
“Your personal reasons for becoming a leader are what form your unique leadership philosophy. Without having a strong set of core beliefs that shape your philosophy, it is very likely that you could get lost along the way. I view one’s leadership style as something that should revolve around your beliefs and values rather than the other way around. This way, your personal belief systems remain at the centerfold of all your leadership endeavors. For me personally, collaboration and inclusion of everyone involved in whatever it is you are leading is the most important thing. Without the ability to collaborate and work well with others, who are you leading? I find no point in leadership if you are only willing to work with yourself. Proper leadership is the kind that does not seem like leadership at first glance. It is the kind that leads in every aspect, not just in the situation at hand. It is the kind that produces other leaders. It is the kind that promotes the growth of everyone around you. And most importantly, it is the kind that promotes your own growth. At the center is collaboration and inclusion, and revolving around it, is my leadership style.”
Class of 2024
“Why do I lead?
The short answer is, I can’t help it. It’s a part of my personality and in my nature to be a leader.
I have strong beliefs and I have a need and want to be heard.
Morally strong. I want to make the world a better place. I see so much going wrong and I want to be able to fix all of it. I want to do what’s right and in return have people follow me and also do the right thing alongside me. I was raised with good morals and I have a good moral compass. I try to always do the right thing. Whatever leadership position that I am taking, those morals always show.
Thoughtful. I’m always thinking about how what I’m doing could affect the group. I would never do anything to put another person in emotional distress, physical or mental harm’s way. I always try to do what’s best for the group and I never have a hidden agenda.
Helpful. I feel that I have helped a lot of people with my leadership abilities. As a leader, I’ll serve anyone who’s willing to follow me. I feel that regardless of my young age, I can guide many people positively in the right direction. I want to look at a helpful and considerate.
Inclusive. Within every leadership position that I have withheld, I have always strived to make everyone feel included and welcomed.
Friendly. I strive to be approachable and respectable. I never want to let anyone down. I’d rather be liked by those that I lead rather than feared. I want my relationship with all the people that I lead to be positive. I want to be supportive of all of my team members, a shoulder to cry on in a time of need. I want others to feel that I am inclusive and non-judgmental.
Fair. I believe in equity over equality and I value Psychology. I believe that it is extremely important to address upfront and understand everyone in a group’s needs. I understand that every person is different and every person needs to be handled a little differently. I do not lead, talk to, or interact with everyone the exact same way for that reason but I also never pick favorites. I try my hardest to engage with each different person in a specific manner in order to get the best results out of them.
Positive. I will stay positive, encouraging, and respectful to all of those around me. I will keep my energy up and lift up the spirits of those around me as well. I will help others around me look at the bright side of things. I will compromise, energize, and uplift in order to be a great leader. Inspiring. I want to inspire others around me. I want to promote creativity and encourage those around me to be the best versions of themselves and they can be every single day.
Encouraging. I won’t lead by telling others what to do but instead by doing the right thing and encouraging those around me to do what’s right as well.
Attentive. I will listen to my peers and never shut anyone’s opinions or ideas down. I will always attend to one’s concerns or suggestions.
Honest. I will be honest and direct with my team members. Asking them how they are doing and how they feel about what I’m doing.
Communicative. I will go out of my way to ask what I could do to better serve my team. Ask them how they feel in general, how has their day been? I will let those around me know exactly how I’m feeling and what my needs are. I will never be afraid to discuss my own weaknesses. Promoting honesty and communication are both keys to encouraging growth in a group setting.
Leader by Example. I am a fond believer in leading by example. I’m going to always try to do the right thing and in my experience that has always led me in the right direction. People see me having positive outcomes from doing the right thing and in return, they will follow.
I strive to motivate others to lead.
I strive to be a morally strong, thoughtful, helpful, friendly, fair, positive, inspiring, encouraging, attentive, honest, communicative, leader by example and I look forward to upholding this statement and improving on it and myself in the future to come.”
Class of 2023
“Being a leader, begins with being yourself. There isn’t one set guideline to being a leader. It is someone who believes in themself, respects others and lives life the way they feel empowered and comfortable. There may be a thousand ways to do one thing, but a leader chooses the path that takes them to the light at the end of the tunnel. There are ups and downs, days that go happy and days that make you wanna sleep all day to get away from those downs/reality, but at the end of the day, you are content and are persevering. Leadership invovles change, the strive to make different aspects of your life and others lives better. A leader is someone who doesn’t act supeiror but listens and talks on the level of others to gain their trust.”
Class of 2023
“As a leader I strive to have diversity and different perspectives be celebrated instead of dismissed. In a world where differences are recognized and understood there will be more room for collaboration, team-work, and communication. Leadership is more than just one person’s background and views, it is a collection of these ideas that make every individual who they are and bring unique points together to better aid the overall goal . I find strengths in these areas to unite people of all circumstances and backgrounds. To show people kindness through small acts such as holding a door open or as large as standing up to someone being unjust. I will do everything in my power to make others feel accepted and safe through my leadership.”