Transformational Leader: That’s What We Are Made Of

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Transformational Leader: That’s What We Are Made Of

Linny Rousseau, Campus News Editor

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Marian University has built something over the last few years into the community that is not seen at other institutions. Many schools simply focus on giving you the knowledge to be at least mediocre in a career. Marian intends to take a step further. The mission of this school has changed to where the focus is not only being the best and brightest in our respected career fields but being the leaders that make a difference in those fields and in the world around us. The latest way to gain our transformational leadership skills took place on February 23 at the Transformational Leadership Conference developed by the sophomore class officers here at MU.

The morning started off with a light breakfast and a big message. We found ourselves in a lecture hall in the Evans Center with an amazing keynote speaker. Kavon Massenburg, an Indy native, reached out to our sizable audience with his message: “What is Your Purpose?” Kavon walked us through his inspirational story about finding that purpose. He found himself in his early adult life out on the streets, selling drugs, and being reckless. After being shot at a house party at 18 and spending a year in jail, Kavon knew he had to turn his life around. Since then, he has become a national speaker and entrepreneur to help people find their purpose. He stressed to look past the materialistic items a career might have and discover what your true passion is in life. This would be the first of many key skills to learn about becoming a transformational leader that we would discover that day.

From there, we broke off for the first of two one-hour mini sessions about transformational leadership. Personally, I attended a session about Emotional Intelligence, or EQ. Michael Pace, a former NCAA assistant men’s basketball coach, had a lot to speak on it. He touched on how he used EQ throughout his career, leading him to his current job with Eli Lilly in Indianapolis. He walked us through the importance of utilizing emotional intelligence in the professional world. Essentially, this is about execute your emotions and being aware of other emotions. Ultimately, this leads you to build relationships with people around you, growing your network and creating bond with others. This is crucial to becoming a transformational leader.

After a lunch break, we were back at it with the final mini session on the day. I attended a session called “You are Only as Good As the People You Surround Yourself With.” This was led by Samantha Burke, the Vice President of Programming and Development for the non-profit Pass the Torch for Women Foundation. She walked us through her life story, including the process of finding her birth family as she was adopted. After discovering it was not as magical as she imagined it would be, she lost contact with them, finding they were quite toxic to her life. She stressed how important it is to have a “personal board of directors” in your life for making major decisions. This team guides you through life and supports you along the way. Without this, you may never find your true self. This is just as important as these other messages to becoming a transformational leader.

The conference concluded with a speech from Marian’s own Donald Sefcik, DO, MBA. He is the Dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine as well as the Senior Vice President for Health Professions. He truly rounded out the day with his message of “Ready. Set. LEAD!” Essentially, he touched on how Marian is preparing us to be the transformational leaders of tomorrow. We are getting the knowledge, applying it in real world scenarios, and then taking the next step further to asking questions and examining the world around us. This institution is changing the game when it comes to preparing us for the next step in our lives and I am so glad we get to be a part of that. Keep on the lookout for more opportunities to learn about transformational leadership at MU!