By McKinley Michalowski
What does LeaderShape do?
The LeaderShape Institute is a six-day retreat-like program for 60 students seeking to develop leadership skills, leading with integrity, and creating a vision for positive change. Erica Schomer, a LeaderShape alum, says “that it is incredibly hard to put LeaderShape into words while accurately conveying the experience itself. The program’s curriculum is secret, so it’s hard to describe it without giving away the activities and lessons.” The mysterious allure of LeaderShape really is that no one knows what goes on during the program, but Schomer sheds the little bit of light that she can on the program and how it promotes civil civic discourse.
What do you get out of participating in LeaderShape?
LeaderShape affected Schomer’s future as well. Schomer “decided to go into the student affairs realm around sophomore year,” where she “served as a committee member.” She helped market and execute the program, and then served as the On-Site Coordinator her junior year. She says, “that position challenged me to be a more detail-oriented person. I’m generally a big-picture person who likes to focus on cultivating relationships with students, but that wasn’t my job. My job was to recruit, market, and execute the program, which required a lot of planning and organization. I hate to admit, but there was a steep learning curve, and I certainly learned from my mistakes. During my junior year–a light bulb went off–and I realized my strengths and weaknesses. In the end, I gained the maturity and skills necessary to run a successful program.”
What does LeaderShape contribute to the St. Edward’s community?
Schomer describes her experience: “I went to LeaderShape my freshmen year, and although it sounds very cliché, it changed my life and strongly influenced who I am today. The relationships cultivated at LS were some of the strongest I’ve ever made. LS pushed me out of my comfort zone in a variety of ways, and I learned how to ‘step up and step back’ as a leader. There was a significant amount of self-discovery and growth. During the program, I crystalized my personal values, which I still cherish as a student affairs professional: authenticity, compassion, and curiosity. This really helped me develop my own leadership philosophy… At LS, every participant creates a vision for positive change. It can be anything from eliminating world hunger to creating more pride on campus.” Inspired by LeaderShape, Schomer restarted Hillraisers, a pride and traditions organization that serves a spirit section for athletic games; Hillraisers is now funded by the University Programming Board.
How can students get involved?
Staphany Salazar is the new On-Site Coordinator; you can also contact Lauren Leining at email@example.com for more info.