Engage Leadership Philosophies | Spring 2023

April 18, 2023

At the culmination of each semester’s Engage 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.

Emma Davis
Class of 2024

After reflecting on my leadership philosophy from Emerge, I decided that it needed one major change.  In my initial philosophy I talked about my time as a  track and field coach where I was able to give one of the members of my team the confidence to join in our activities when all she needed was a push from her leader.  I said that I wanted to be a resource for people who are too scared to reach out for help by giving them the guidance and support they need to be successful.  The part of my original philosophy thatI would like to change is the fact that Iit is not only the leader of the team that is capable of accomplishing this goal.  All members of a team can check in with each other to make sure that everyone has the capability to succeed.  As a leader, it is important to remind your team that they are there to support their teammates if they start to fall behind , or lack the confidence to finish a task.  Asking for help can be difficult for many people, so creating an environment where they do not feel judged or inferior when asking for help is extremely important in pushing people to their full potential.  One of the main takeaways that I have learned from Engage is that everyone had different set of strengths that allow them to bring value to a team, and combining these strengths can make it much more successful in the end. My goal as a leader is to lead with integrity while fostering these traits in the members of my team.

Eve Donatelli
Class of 2026

The core to being a leader is feeling the need to help others, and acting on that need. The most important thing in any decision you make as a leader is that you have good intentions behind everything you do. Your community may not agree with everything you do, and that’s okay. Different parts of you will present as a role model to different people to create a diverse team. And as we have learned, leadership has just as much to do with working as a team as it does leading one.

A key point to anything is good communication. Upcoming problems, events, and situations can usually be solved through proper and effective communication. Not every issue can be solved with conversation, and a leader knows when to communicate, and when to stay silent. Language is everything.

Mistakes may and will be made. Leadership is a learning process in itself, and all leaders are students to the philosophy of life. If you are willing to commit to learning everyday and use that knowledge to step forward and help others, taking criticism and appreciation, through breakthroughs and mistakes, fighting fear with bravery, then you are a leader. Do not take this role lightly, as no matter what kind of situation it is, a team is only as strong and serious as its leader.

As an aspiring leader myself, I hope to listen to my own advice and do my best to assist others. I have and will grow from my experiences and work with others to achieve a successful outcome. I cannot wait to help make the world a better place, whether it is just one life at a time, or many.

Celia Germain
Class of 2024

“Being a leader is not necessarily defined by our comfort to speak in front of a group or to show the world our own accomplishments. Being a leader is defined by showing hard work and attempting to lead by example. Putting in time, effort, patience, and care can impact the people we surround ourselves with much more than any other calculated attempts at leading. Personally, my leadership abilities are best defined by my ability to listen carefully to my peers, to digest what they are saying to better understand each perspective brought to the table. Playing to the strengths of others is vital to creating a successful team, our world is diverse and our leadership styles should reflect that. Show the world kindness and compassion to better lead. Be patient and be a good listener. Leading is about observation as much as it is about participation.”

Kelsey Harris
Class of 2025

“Here I am again writing a guiding poem about leadership.
This timeI’ve got a few new tools for my belt I need to equip.
Emerge was amateur hour,
Engage is where you start to embrace your own power.
Here are some tips to ensure that the thought of leadership doesn’t make you cower.

Understand that others have different qualifications.
With this, it is crucial to make unique correlations.
Most of all, you need patience.
We all have distinct experiences and beliefs despite our shared relations.

Let your words flow like butter.
Wait a second, did I stutter?
No, because leaders can carry a crowd and be proud.
Just know if you’re not there yet, one day you’ll speak loud
And others will make you feel renowned.

Know your leadership place.
Taking a septa back can be hard to face.
However, we all need a break to delegate.
This hill takes many brave souls to embrace and dictate. 

Know that you’re not the boss,
Leadership is a shared responsibility almost as perfect as Rachel and Ross.
When we come together we become enriched
Faster than a light can be switched.

Remember your roots,
Once you lose sight of your values, you ability to lead will rot like fruit.
We are not all the same.
We all have different beliefs to reclaim.
Be true to your name.

If there is anything to take away from what  I have to say,
Don’t lose sight of yourself today.
We are leaders who did not come here to play.
Instead, we will rise like smoke that is grey.
None of us have all the guiding answers, and that’s okay.
I know that this might sound cliche,
But walk the walk and slay.
For you become a better leader day by day.

You set your own limit,
So make every action count, every minute.”

Vina Le
Class of 2024

I found myself in a very vulnerable position last year during Emerge. I was burned out, exhausted, and struggling to figure out my place at Worcester State. Will I continue to be like this next year? Who am I if I don’t push myself to the limit? Am I enough if I don’t push myself to the limit? I came to the conclusion then that even though I found a lot of happiness in my group and our mission, I can’t continue on if it meant destroying myself. To be a leader, you must understand your limits, and that growing doesn’t mean destroying your own boundaries, they’re there for a reason. Being a leader doesn’t mean that you’re by yourself or have to take on everything, it means letting yourself be open towards help from others and having the ability to trust that they won’t let you down. It means being proud of and growing your strengths and not just being hung up on your shortcomings. 

As a leader, I will continue spreading empathy in order to connect and restore the communities in my life. I will try my best to help people in my own style , instead of pretending that every problem can be solved the same way. I will be open to help from others and receiving criticism in order to become the best leader I can be. I will work hard to educate myself in order to better understand the community we live in and how to make it a more equal and accepting place, while also nurturing myself.

Zachary Trudell
Class of 2024

Throughout my time as a leader, as a collaborator, and as someone who takes on the role of bringing a bunch of unique people towards a common goal, I have learned quite a few important things about the person I am and the person I strive to be. Since Emerge, I have been both the cause of failure and the catalyst for success for multiple goals and events, and I have found myself in a unique position where I both loathe my own failure and yet glorify and appreciate it all the same for everything that I learned from it. It can be a heavy burden having so many people rely on you – so many people that look to you for guidance and support. And yet all the same, even when you hold such a high, prestigious role as a leader, you still have to realize that at the end of the day you are not the only cog in this machine. What I have learned as a leader is that a leader is only as strong as the people behind them. The best of leaders have a group that helps them and makes sure that everything can run smoothly.

Sometimes leadership stems from circumstance; from necessity. When a leader is needed, someone will rise to the occasion and answer the call. Someone will do whatever they can to make sure that something happens, or else the group will cease whatever it is they are trying to do. The word leader really does feel like an umbrella term. A leader could be someone who gives a single command to a single person. A leader could bring together a small group or multiple groups. A leader could lead a large group – a massive group – a group that is important and whose results are important. Or a leader could simply be someone who decides they will take the first step. The same word that is used to describe the President of The United States is also used to describe the elementary school child at the front of a line. The same word that is used to describe a military general or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company is also used to describe a normal, everyday person that rose to the occasion and did something that was needed regardless of the perceived importance of it. And yet, throughout all of these different circumstances, these different responsibilities, and the variability of the importance and implications of the outcomes, all leaders share similar traits and similar things which I feel allow them to all stand under the umbrella which is the term leader.

I knew of certain strengths and weaknesses that I possessed as a person: the positives and negatives, the pros and cons, the shortcomings and successes of my character, these were all amplified anytime I took on the role of leader. It is easy to count your blessings and take note of the strong parts of your character, but it is more difficult, although in my opinion just as important, to take note of your weaker traits and to make sure that you understand where the most beneficial of improvements could be made. That is not to say though, of course, that having flaws is necessarily bad. I feel that the most important thing to remember about anyleader is that they are, at the end of the day, human. No one is perfect, and therefore no leader ought to be expected to be so. Striving for perfection never hurt anyone, but focusing on honing your own perfection might just begin to overshadow your goals as a leader and your ability to play that role. The leader, then, ought not to expect perfection in themselves lest they let this unattainable goal get in the way of what is really important, which is leading to the best of their human ability and doing what is needed.

That phrase: “doing what is needed.” That is another one which gets thrown around. I don’t believe that just anyone can be a successful leader. However, I do believe that is successful leader can come from anywhere and be just about anyone. Whoever is capable of, ready, and willing to do what is needed – anyone like that could be a successful leader. There is no one single trait that makes one person or another more or less capable of leading, just simply inclined towards different ways of doing it. As they say, “there’s more than one way to skin a cat” “there’s more than one way to cook an egg.” Regardless of your preferred way, there is no right or wrong. There is only what works and what doesn’t. And unfortunately, you have to fail sometimes in order to learn that. Do not be afraid of failure. Be open to it and let it teach you a lesson so that you can come back and do it better. No one wants to fail, but when you inevitably make a mistake, make sure you at least know why and come back better. I believe that, as a leader, that is the most important thing to remember.