Fire-Up

When I attended CMU and You Day four years ago, I talked to a student who solidified my choice to attend CMU. She spoke to me about her passion for her program and the support from faculty, who shared that passion for her to learn. That student, was the exact representation, to what I now know of as CMU family values and what it means to be a Chippewa; passionate, supportive, and genuine.  That day I decided that I wanted to attend CMU and that I wanted to impact future Chippewas and show off everything this university had to offer just as I was impacted as a high school senior.

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Through my college career, I have acted on that goal in numerous ways through my campus extracurriculars. I was a campus ambassador and did tours for prospective students and their family for two years then was selected to be a part of a small group of student from the College of Business to be a CBA (college of business administration) Ambassador. This year was the first year my role with the CBA was really put to use as the college really wanted to give perspective, even already admitted students the chance to speak with students like myself one on one to talk about all CMU can do for them and their future.

Most to every Friday this winter/spring I had the opportunity to do just what I set out to do and impact students in the specific area of study I fell in love with through Fire-Up Friday events. On top of my opportunity to impact students on a one-on-one basis, I was asked to be a speaker for the kick off of Fire-Up Friday events for 200-500 students in the morning of Fire-Up Friday. Having the opportunity to have my “college story” validated as a story that can show students the amazing thing CMU has to offer was an honor. I remember being in their shoes and wanting to have a resume like those who stood up to speak to me. It was an incredible full circle experience that meant even more to me as I was able to stand-up and genuinely say that CMU is my home and gave me all the doors I needed to make a bright and successful future and I know it can be yours too.

When giving back it is never one-sided, as much as you give is given back to you in feelings of fulfillment, a moment with someone you impacted, even personal development.

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The Snowstorm that Ruined Everything

The Detroit Service trip use to be known as LAS in the D is, to me, a very impactful and important Lead Team. It is just as personally impactful as it is for the freshman students experiencing it for the first time. It is a weekend where you check your privilege, ignite a passion to give and support, a chance to bond with likeminded and/or not like-minded people in your cohort and cohorts above you and have needed conversations about today’s society. For the Lead Team, it’s an opportunity to meet and build relationships with the underclassmen who you can relate so closely with as you went through what they went through.

The Detroit Service trip for the past two years has fallen on my birthday and it is 100% worth it to spend that day on this trip. Yet, this year was different. The Leaders for the service trip Lead Team took extra care and time in making this the best service trip yet. They tapped into the Lead Teams knowledge and experience and molded the learning objectives so the freshman would have and unforgettably impactful experience.

A few days before this impactful trip, Mother Nature, at her finest hit the mitten with a snowstorm canceling the trip. With all the negatives that come with a monumental experience being canceled and all the frustration and emotions of a letdown, I asked myself why. Why was I so upset that it was canceled? I hadn’t invested near the amount of time in the logistic and preparation of the trip. I merely gave my knowledge and opinions at a meeting and came to the logistic briefing meeting and was ready to go.

I was upset because I knew how the trip impacted me and how I knew I could do an even better job and help make the freshman cohorts experience even better. I was ready to be apart of their lightbulb leadership moments.  The moment when they are at Cass Community Services and it hits them the number of people the organization feeds and the dire needs to support the hunger epidemic. When they walk into the Detroit Institute of the Arts for the first time and have your breath taken away as you stare at a painting so big you can’t imagine how long it took, or how long ago it was painted. The bonding moments as you sleep on the floor next to an acquaintance that you get the chance to really talk to and could become your best friend. The Detroit Service Trip is an extremely important service trip, but it is even more than that. It’s a weekend to remember as relationships passions and eyes are open.

Push Yourself

I took on a unique role within my professional business fraternity this year. I set a goal for myself to step outside my comfort zone and do something for the organization that has done so much for me all while blending a beneficial experience for myself with an even more beneficial experience for my organization. Though my three years as a member of Alpha Kappa Psi we can struggle bringing in new ideas of ways to professionally develop and new things to learn. I can be tricky when taking into consideration time and costs for larger events and bringing in new connections.

I have become very passionate about personal professional development focusing on leadership skill development, leadership in diverse environments, how to motivate and more. With my passion and my fraternity’s professional development needs I applied and was given the opportunity to take of The Professional Development Committee as the chair. Working with my co-chair, we developed a 5 class Professional Leadership Development Curriculum.  akp4

We wanted this course to be something that was special and sought after. We wanted to encourage our members to take the step to apply in the act of investing their time and committing to the course. In the hopes, they would be more involved in discussions and the application of what they learn. The next step was deciding what topics we wanted to cover and who/how we planned to teach that topic.

The five-course break down went as follows:

What is Leadership
Core Values, WHY
Teamwork and Motivation
Global Leadership
Campus & Community Leadership Panel

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I then reached out and gained assistance from a graduate student in the Sarah R. Opperman Leadership Institute. She helped build my confidence in the program I was developing as well as developed presentations for two classes. I was also able to work with a Ph.D. student in the Sarah R. Opperman Leadership Institute who work with me to hone in on how to deliver an effective conversation and learning outcomes for the global leadership class.

With applications in and our cohort of AKP members together my co-chair an I made binders and reserved rooms and took it class by class. In hindsight, I would have preferred to not go week by week in the planning but to have more solid lesson plans from the get-go. The conversation and perspectives of the cohort were one of a kind. Some activities that I have done numerous times had a slightly different debrief discussion and to what was gotten out of it and the level of intensity was high. In the future, I would work to lighten the mood in the environment potentially by doing more interactive lectures and have reflection time with light music with a sharing opportunity.

The grand finale was the campus and community panel that my co-chair and I got together with four wonderful professionals from very different backgrounds. The professionals were paired with a baked potato bar and questions regarding the topics we had talked about in the weeks before. akp1

All-in-all developing the course and executing was an amazing learning experience. Having Alpha Kappa Psi push me to go beyond what the committee would normally do gave me a learning experience that will push me in my professional career and reassured me in my passion for Leadership Learning and the impacts it can have on one’s confidence and success in the business world and life.

Cass Community Social Services 2017

Cass Community Social Services (Cass) is a nonprofit, 501 (c) (3) community based organization that is located in Detroit Michigan. Their organization serves Southern Michigan, Wayne County. Their mission statement is: CCSS is dedicated to making a profound difference in the lives of the divers populations it serves by providing for basic needs, including affordable housing, promoting self-reliance and encouraging community involvement and community improvement.

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To learn more about Cass and their history and all they do follow this LINK

My experience I  had with CCSS was brought to me when with my LAS LEAD team on the trip we went on called LAS in the D. A weekend where we take the LAS freshman class to Detroit to practice servant leadership, broaden their awareness, promote a growing city while looking around at leaders in the community. On the second day of our trip our group partner with CCSS to volunteer and support their amazing organization that helps and supports so many in the community.  They provide many services to the community such as food, housing, and support. They also have other areas where Cass works to generate money and items to give back. Items  such as making mats out of recycled tires, shredding paper, cleaning and organizing closets of donations. The areas we all served were working in the kitchen, helping make mats, shredding paper, and organizing the closets.   The areas our group served were working in the kitchen, helping make mats, shredding paper, and organizing the closets.

The area I  volunteered was the kitchen. I can say I wholeheartedly underestimated this area of service. I was very excited to be able to more directly support the community and possibly see the people that we were helping. Yet, kitchen work for so many people is cass 2hard work. The amount of pre-planning that goes into making breakfast lunch and dinner and even prepping for meals the next day is astounding. The volunteers that work there on a more regular basis have such a multi dimensional task list having to create menus that will feed so many with the food that is donated to them. They don’t go out grocery shopping for what they need. The food that is put together and prepared into meals is all from donations. That fact alone blew my mind.

Coming into the kitchen the chef made it  clear there was no time to waste, every second was precious. There were simple rules for washing your hands and for having hair nets, but after that roles were assigned and we got to work. I started working on opening boxes of french fries and once we were finished we open and placed bacon on trays for the next morning, we then cracked dozens upon dozens of eggs and whisked them for the next morning’s breakfast. Then we moved to scooping mixture into pans for chicken pot pie for later that day’s dinner, then moved to mashing and making mashed potatoes. Those roles were for two of the 10 volunteers we brought. Every smaller team within was just as busy with multiple back to back task to fulfill.

The experience as a whole was unbelievably rewarding. Being able to stay so busy i felt as if I was to able to give so much help to people who deserve all the support they can get. My eyes were open to the amazing heart of those in their community who dedicate their lives to other. The people receiving the support are unwaveringly grateful. I couldn’t have asked for a more amazing experience and look forward to going back.

COM 461L Reflection

Com 461L has been a class that has been a very pleasant surprise. Before the class started a lot of us “cohort classmates” were dreading a course that would reiterate a lot of what we have already learned, or that it would be information that we wouldn’t really take with us after the class. We were very much wrong. This course has given us answers to problems we face every day as on campus leaders. Problems such as how to most effectively work in a group, how to be a follower, how best to work with electronic communication, as well as how to build credibility and so much more. Each topic we discuss what it is, how we use it now, best ways to use it and ways it could not work or be negative.

With the lecture of the ins and outs of each topic we solidify these concepts with a lot of open discussion and group activities. Group activities like this past week we are working on the topic of public leadership, and their communication techniques. We went over the, what it is, where we use it or see it in our lives, positives about it and if there are any negatives. We then broke the class into six groups and we simulated a recognition ceremony awarding someone the “Best COM 461L Student”. With that we had one “public leader” in each group and a script writer (public leaders always have help with their communication) and we each wrote and presented a different part of the ceremony. The introduction, giving of the award, acceptance of the award, building being named after participant, an inspirational piece, and closing words. We each got to utilize pieces of public leader’s communication techniques hands on learning a lot as well as having fun.

This group activity explains so much about the class and the professor, Professor Carlson. She knows how to get us to learn, and to explain these extremely useful subjects in a way that they will stay with us and we will feel comfortable implementing is our everyday leadership on and off campus. Not even going into the book she is maneuvering us through called the leadership moment, which tells stories of leaders in a part of their lives. Each story has a part of leadership that we are analyzing and we develop questions such as: “So and so in this moment wasn’t able to get through to his team. Why? What do you think he/she could have done to be more effective?” With these questions we, as a class have a fishbowl. fishbowl

A fishbowl is a way of constructively facilitating discussion. We deal out cards and if you get a fish on your card you are the original group that starts the discussion with your questions, and if you get an empty fishbowl you with get to save your questions till the fish break out of their discussion and come to facilitate a group of fishbowl card people through the discussion of the story that day. We all dreaded the idea of the Fishbowls, but to be able to read and learn from someone else’s mistakes and achievements has stimulated a lot of great learning conversation with lead to growth as leaders.

With all set and done this class has been one of my favorite CMU course that I have taken so far. Not one class period have I left not thinking that I wouldn’t be able to use the subject we talked about today, and I believe that is special! Go COM 461L!

Leadership Theory: POWER

Leadership and power is a theory of leadership that I have observed and experienced. Not only have I seen it through LAS protocol but through my everyday life at CMU. In the classroom, dorms, RSO’s, organizations etc. Leadership and power came from the French and Ravens ideas of the 5 bases of power. The bases of power are divided into two groups, personal and positional. Within personal is the bases expert power and referent power whereas in positional power it contains legitimate power, coercive power, and reward power. French and Raven conceptualized power form the framework of a dyadic relationship that includes person influencing and the person being influenced. The layout of their framework is set up, dividing the 5 bases of power into two different categories-personal and positional. Some followers respond better to different types of power. As a leader, power is usually given though the followers, so if the power is misused or abused it can usually be taken away by the followers.

“The world is based off a hierarchy of power and allows leaders to lead using their own version of power. Knowledge of this is essential to reach your full potential as a leader. Students should learn about the leadership and power approach because it is essential in developing how you will act when in power and it will help your ability to recognize the different variations of power.”

Through LAS our protocol asks us to do multiple things: take classes (all together as a cohort), do homework (all as a cohort), attend conferences (all as a cohort), go on a retreat (all as a cohort), Live together as a cohort, which is amazing! It can also be very hard. Many “leader minded” people in the same place we get to collaborate, experience, and work through everything life at CMU entails and LAS protocol. Two of the biggest road bumps we run into are communication and power. My first and biggest time I have experienced the use of the leadership and power theory was when the 2014 and 2013 cohort (mentors and mentees) attended eagle village for our Mentor Mentee retreat. IMG_0984Once being separated into groups we went through and got to take part in leadership activities. There were two activities that tested my group the most. Giant’s fingers and the obstacle course we had carry a sled full of balls through an obstacle course.

Through these activities we mainly working with personal power-the influence capacity a leader derives from being seen as a likeable and knowledgeable. Expert- more knowledge, referent- people who are more likable. Through the sled obstacle course it was a rocky start. Everyone had an idea of how they thought we should go about this activity to be successful. It was a mess the balls were falling out and the louder leaders were the only ones being heard. The referent power leaders were all butting heads. Until as a group we decided we needed to give an expert power leader the role of helping guide and lead our group. With their knowledge of how the course and the objective of the activity as a group we responded better to this style of power and were able to achieve our goal.

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For Giants Fingers the objective was a lot harder! The dynamic of the group was a little better after the last activity. Once given the objective and rules (a lot more complicated that the sled obstacle course) we had to move a set of tires of different sizes from one of three posts to the other side, while setting them up largest to smallest on the other side. The biggest challenge was that every person in the group had to have two fingers on the tire at all times and the tire wasn’t allowed to touch the posts as we wove it up and down to its destinations. Some just wanted to jump in and others wanted to compile a plan. As a group we then agreed upon deciding a plan to go about our activity. An expert power leader started to take the reins on the activity and everyone immediately got very frustrated. The tire was touching the post, or someone couldn’t reach the tire to have their fingers on it and we would have to start again. Over and over we had the opportunity to start again. As a group we were not responding to the expert power leader. Myself starting to observe the tensions and seeing the solution and need for a referent power leader. Recognizing my own personal strengths I started to use words of affirmation and calming started directing the group getting everyone on the same page. The group responded to the referent leader power and we were (after some time) able to achieve our goal.

 

All around through leadership there will be times when one leader has to take the reins and everyone else has to follow. With that every group is different and needs a different person (personalities/characteristics) to take over. Every group responds to types of power differently. As a leader it is important to recognize your personal power strengths and weaknesses so you know when your power style will work and when it needs to take a back seat.

HST 110: The American Experience

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HST 110 has been an experience in itself. I can honestly say I am by no means a history junky. I appreciate history but it can be hard for me to grasp and every time it has been taught to me it is super dry and boring. HST 110 with Catherine Tobin was partially the same but it also pushed me to learn important times in history by myself. We also did many response papers on specific times we talked about it class and she also supplemented with a movie. We had to watch the movie, take a part of it and form a question. Naturally, usually my questions were leadership based. “Where they and effective leader, why or why not.” Looking deeper into some huge leaders in our past and forming my own opinion on if I thought they were effective leaders was very eye opening.HST 110 1 I started to put it in context of myself and if I was being effective. I asked myself what attribute was I bringing to the table and how can I harness those to be effective. Abraham Lincoln and I both share the value of relationship, I would recognize that and think about how he used it. Knowing those things helped me grow as a leader.HST 110 5

So taking the lesson which were taught and analyzing a historical leader and their strengths and weaknesses I was able to analyze myself. I would find similarities and differences between myself and these historical figures and decide if we shared characteristics, if there were characteristics I wanted to strive to have. A huge characteristic that many of the leaders we did response papers on either struggled with or did successfully was their ability to recognize their strengths.HST 110 3 They would recognize or not recognize their strengths and use them to get the preferred outcome. Some were aware if they didn’t obtain a strength needed that they would reach out to someone with that strengths. That is a lesson that really resonated with me. I am now as a leader working to recognize my own strengths and weaknesses. So I will be able to more effectively reach out for help when needed and not take it all onto myself which will help me to be a better leader on CMU’s campus and in life.

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