Caffeinate Your Career: Session Recap

Event: Lead to Succeed

Presenter: Rick White, Associate Vice Chancellor for Communications and Public Affairs, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

“You are here because you are interested in leadership,” White said.

As Rick White took the floor, he did not shy behind the podium. Instead, he paced his way around the front of the audience, moving amongst and interacting with PRSSA’s conference audience.

White, Associate Vice Chancellor for Communications and Public Affairs for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, had a lot to say about leadership and moreover, the means and how to being a leader. White discussed what leadership is, what it isn’t and what people may want to think about it.

White’s encouragement to students was apparent. Students can enter into an internship or the work force and be discouraged as just an associate, or simply an assistant. However, we as students are horribly wrong in thinking that we cannot act as leaders in the “simplest” of positions.

A working definition of leadership: “leadership is helping a group of two or more achieve their common goals,” via Les Mckeown.

Leaders of all types have one thing in common: they lead from the front. However, most leadership does not happen in the front, but behind the scenes in businesses, families and so forth. “I submit to you that U.S. Grant’s leadership from the rear was just as integral as anything else was” White said.

So, as a student, as an employee, as an entry level position, or even as a CEO, you will need three practical ways of working toward being a leader, according to White.

Self-awareness

Know who you are and know what type of leader you are. Most of us are 4 different types: strategic, operational, process, and “synergist”. So, match your [leadership] type with the problem at hand.

Practice every day leadership

Do not just limit yourself to the work force, classroom or wherever work takes you. Practice in the day to day aspects amidst friendships, family, and peers.

Have a consistency of purpose

Know your slot and use it to the best of your ability. Encourage the strengths of your personality and work on the weaknesses as well as be transparent about them. Everyone has places they can improve, so, have a head-strong attitude of pursuing a purpose wherever that may be.

Are leaders born or made? The fact is, anyone can be a reluctant leader. Whether you were born into it or timidly and unintentionally pushed towards it, anyone can become a leader.


Jesse Serra is a sophomore at Waynesburg University studying public relations with a minor in journalism. Serra Strive to become a media relations or event coordinator by disciplining herself in her studies, extracurricular activities and daily living. She serves as an account executive for Red Brick Communications, publicity director for Waynesburg SPJ, a general body of PRSSA and a writer for the Odyssey at Waynesburg. Serra, a student athlete, believes attitude and character must be proven on and off the field; she believe professionalism is shown on and off the job as well.

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