A leader must have vision, determination to commit to that vision and the skills to complete that vision. A leader has integrity, compassion and is a motivator to others. A leader must also be an effective communicator, motivator and have a plan to accomplish the goal.
To gain leadership experience and exposure, I have participated in programs where I learned leadership skills, and have implemented these skills within several organizations in high school and college.
High School Leadership
An activity where I contributed to my community stemmed from my history of childhood asthma. As a Girl Scout, I completed a counselor-in-training program during the summer of 2008, as a leadership prerequisite to participate in a summer youth program. As a result of a history of childhood asthma, I sought to introduce a program that would introduce fitness and nutrition to children at a summer program – BLAST (Bringing Leadership, Arts and Sports Together).
I created, implemented and led a Girl Scout Gold Award Project entitled “Fit 4 Life.” This activity introduced a fitness and nutrition program along with education on the prevention of childhood diseases such as obesity, juvenile diabetes and asthma. In spite of my asthma history, I learned how to manage this disease throughout my high school athletic career as a district academic athlete champion.
During my undergraduate career at Spelman College, I have participated in several leadership roles. I volunteered as a mentor/tutor for the We Do It 4 The Hood organization in the Atlanta University Consortium. My duties were to mentor and tutor for high school students at Atlanta High Schools in preparation for the Georgia State Assessment Exams. I met several students who were unprepared for academic readiness for graduation and also unprepared to enter college.
As a visionary leader, the goal was to assist these students with tutoring so as to successfully pass their state assessment tests for high school graduation and entry into college. As a transformational leader, I sought to have these students express their needs by creating change in their personal lives and environment. For some of these students, it involved providing them with an ability to see what things could be in the future, rather than what things are now.
As a Peer Assistant Leader (PALs) at Spelman College, we engage current students to participate as leaders and mentors for new first-year, transfer, international and Pauline E. Drake adult learners, in addition to being a resource for parents and guests. PALs attend all orientation and training programs.
Skills for a Young Leader
As a young leader, I have adopted the following as a model for others: practice positive thoughts and actions; embrace constructive feedback; encourage group participation in the decision-making process; use active listening skills; encourage individual and team input to reach the optimal goal; and, realize that change is inevitable and understand that it may not be negative, but positive as well.
Today, new leadership approaches have been introduced as visionary and transformational. In addition to the above traits, I have also embraced both visionary and transformational leadership styles. As a visionary leader, I encourage and promote a shared vision. As a transformational leader, I exhibit the following: encourage others to be better by helping them seek their needs before my own; adopt the attitude that there is always room for improvement; inspire the team through shared vision by learning to dream big and have faith in one’s dream; take responsibility for one’s actions; and, have a character filled with integrity.
Lauren Hawkins is a senior majoring in economics at Spelman College and will graduate in spring 2014. She plans to pursue a MBA and set up a vintage shop after college. She dreams of her vintage shop overtaking big chain fashion companies. Lauren loves to write and her favorite place to spend weekends is in a park with a good book.