Program Reflections

Leadership is a skill that is an essential aspect of all successful settings, ranging from formal professional environments to informal social gatherings. Building skills surrounding leadership means not only becoming a more effective and respected leader in accomplishing goals, but also building understanding of oneself and establishing strong ethics and morals. Everyone has the ability to become a great leader, given a desire to learn and willingness to grow outside their comfort zones.

With the Leadership Certificate Program, it has been my intent to do just this, by utilizing opportunities to grow as a leader and as a person while also gaining experience in some formal training settings. Through the completion of four leadership programs, two academic courses, and numerous real life experiences, I feel that I have established the foundation for a strong leadership style and have grown significantly as an individual. The multi-setting structure of this program has given me a platform to see and practice leadership in differing ways and is providing an opportunity for me to reflect on the many lessons I have learned through this time.

When beginning my journey of the Leadership Certificate Program, my primary goals were to “further self-understanding and self-awareness, better connect with others, and enhance my ability to involve everyone in a team environment. I believe that I have been able to grow in each of these areas, particularly through my experiences with Dining Services as a student supervisor, as an iHelp co-director, and as a director of ExplorACES. Being placed in charge of a seemingly impossible task has truly pushed my boundaries and helped me think of ways to innovate past my own expectations.

Through this Portfolio I would like to reflect on my initial learning goals; my reason for pursuing this program and then look back on my significant experiences within the leadership certificate program. To best understand my progression through this program, we will first look at my Personal Development Plan, which has been my guidebook for this experience. Included in it will be my outlined development goals, and my intended method to strengthen the said objectives.

After reviewing my initial intentions, I will then demonstrate how I have satisfied all of the criteria for the certificate program and provide reflections on the four leadership programs, my formal academic classes, and conclude by looking back on my varied, non-classroom experiences. Through this review, I will demonstrate a progression of step-by-step growth achieved while I worked to develop the skills and attributes laid out in my Personal Development Plan.

The Illinois Leadership Center, along with the abundant opportunities at the University of Illinois has allowed me to grow into a strong, tested leader. From the mix of academic knowledge and real-life applications, I have already seen the positive impact of the training and guidance in my internship in the professional business setting. With this foundation, I look forward to continuing to develop my leadership skills and abilities.