Texas Wesleyan’s leadership program creates the leaders of tomorrow, today.

Michael Chaney, coordinator of student activities, organized the Leadership Summit on February 16, where students and staff members focused on the qualities of leadership.

“We focus on the components that leadership is found everywhere in life. It’s not just found at the heads of companies and organizations,” Chaney said.

Dakota Baggett, senior political science major, interns for the L.E.A.D. program, which stands for Leadership Empowerment Action Direction, under Chaney and attended the Summit.

Baggett said, “We had a great group of people. They really were all on the same page. They were all willing to do whatever was asked of them. They all participated very well, and I think everyone had a great experience.”

Baggett said the speakers at the Summit, Mindy Audlin and Aldean Pearson, answered questions, and Baggett learned that being a leader is about being yourself.

Chaney said he started the L.E.A.D. program about four years ago when he was hired. Chaney said the three levels to the program are the initial L.E.A.D. certificate, the Wesleyan Leaders Flame, and the Mentor’s Horn.

Chaney said to earn the L.E.A.D. certificate, one must attend a leadership conference, do 10 hours of community service, and participate in five cafe discussions, which are group discussions build around concepts of leadership.

To receive the Wesleyan Leaders Flame, Chaney said one must attend two additional conferences, complete all 15 of the cafe discussions, do 25 hours of community service, and complete a personal development plan which will be presented at the completion ceremony that is held once a semester.

Chaney said to complete the leadership program and earn the Mentor’s Horn, one must complete the first two steps, help lead conferences and cafe discussions, mentor others, and pass an exit interview.

“Leadership really is a journey,” Chaney said. “It’s never ending. You never reach your full maximum potential. There’s always something that you can expand on, and grow and learn.”

Brandon Flowers, senior computer science major, has been involved in the L.E.A.D. program for over three years and is at the Mentor Horn stage.

Flowers said he joined L.E.A.D. to better his leadership and decision making skills.

“It challenges me and my decisions I make daily because it helps me realize that everything that I do just does not affect myself, but people in the area around me,” Flowers said.

Flowers said he has learned from L.E.A.D. that he is always being watched and his actions affect what other people think about him and themselves. Flowers said he recommends that others get involved in the program.

Flowers said, “Even though you might not think right away that it will be beneficial, as you progress through the program you see that you are more aware about what you do, what you say, how you do things.”

Baggett said, “It’s really beneficial. It helps you work with other people. You get a better understanding of other people, and a better understanding of yourself. It’s a good program if you take it seriously.”

Baggett said he is grateful to Chaney for organizing the Summit, and making the conferences happen.

Chaney said in the future he wants L.E.A.D. to be a self-sustaining program, lead by students.

Chaney said,  “I realized that I created something that I was the glue that bound it all together. In reality a great leader is not going to just be the glue, but it going to be a glue maker and help create other people who will help hold things together.”

vaslaten@txwes.edu