Welcome to the October edition of our GLC Director’s Letter.
Recently, we hosted a campus workshop designed for our Young Alumni Leadership Program (YALP) participants to explore their values, strengths, and perspectives on leadership. One of the exercises we facilitated—derived from leadership principles in Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner’s book The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations—asks participants to reflect upon their “personal best leadership experience.”
While this exercise may sound simple at first, it has proven to challenge leaders in three significant ways:
- How do you define leadership experience?
Through the activity, YALP participants often discover that leadership can happen in any location, in any context, and in all levels of an organization. That’s what I appreciate most about leadership—it is ubiquitous!
- How do you define personal best?
Year after year, I am amazed by how many participants choose an experience that involves a personal or professional failure—and ultimately how they grew as a result of it. It reminds me of the famous Thomas Edison quote, “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.”
- Why reflect on your past?
By reflecting on past experiences, we reveal core elements of our leadership capacity and begin to inform effective strategies for our future. As leaders, we must develop a habit of continual reflection to learn from our mistakes and live with intention.
Another way we can learn from past experiences is to examine the lives of other leaders. Next week, the GLC will highlight the personal best leadership experiences of three exceptional Gettysburgians serving as panelists at our annual Garthwait Leadership Summit:
- Rick Hoefer Jr. ’72, Surgical Oncologist, Sentara Medical Group
- Jen Bryant ’82, Author
- Joe Tucker ’03, Democracy & Governance Officer, Bureau for Africa at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
Our alumni will share stories about how leadership has been essential in their careers, family life, and through their community engagement. Please join us at the Garthwait Leadership Summit on Tuesday, October 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the College Union Building Ballroom.
Lastly, the GLC will host an Open House in our new office (CUB 202) as part of our Family Weekend festivities. Please stop by and visit with the GLC team on Saturday, October 20 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. We will have yummy hors d’oeuvres and I’d love to see you there!
As always, thank you for your support of the Garthwait Leadership Center..
Director, Garthwait Leadership Center