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Leadership essentials: talks, visits and case studies about leadership

Drew Maakestad
Contributing Writer

Drew Maakestad participated in the Leadership Essentials Workshop and is writing from her perspective.

What do a center for the arts, a hospital, a technology manufacturing company and the City Hall of Wooster, Ohio all have in common? One key thing, which makes a world of difference: leadership. But then, what is leadership and what makes someone a leader? Last week, over the course of three days, ten students came together as members of the Leadership Essentials Fall Break Workshop, put on by Peter Abramo, director of the Department for Entrepreneurship, to further understand the concept of leadership. After the three-day workshop was over, everyone walked away with a firm grasp on what leadership is and what it truly means to be a good leader.

The Leadership Essentials Workshop consisted of five visits to affluent companies and organizations throughout Wooster, a visit with Mayor Brenneman, a luncheon with members of the Young Professionals program and a closing dinner with Wooster alumni Steve and Sandy Nichols. The perspective that we received from visiting such a diverse array of companies and organizations, from the Wayne Center for the Arts to RBB Manufacturing, Inc., made one thing apparent to us: leadership is constant.

Regardless of the major you choose in college, the skill set you have, or the job you end up in, the concept of leadership is applicable everywhere. We also learned that it is not simply a desire to lead that makes someone a strong leader. The heart and mind of a person must be fully invested in the process of becoming someone who can successfully lead others.

Over the course of the three day workshop, we met with several leaders and asked the same questions of each: what is leadership? What makes someone a strong leader? We found that a leader sees the big picture; the whole forest, rather than focusing on one tree. A leader develops a culture in an organization and grows trust among the people they lead. A leader must listen and engage.

Dee Vaidya, the CEO of Nobel Tech and a ground-breaking entrepreneur, provided an opinion that stuck with many of us. He said, “No matter what you say, people look at what you do.” Leadership is a process. Some people are born skilled leaders, while others develop the skills over time. Regardless of the path one takes to becoming a leader, it is something everyone can benefit from knowing, and the Leadership Essentials Workshop is just the place to do it. I would give the program five stars and I think my fellow members would say the same.

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