Posted on December 14, 2012 · Posted in Blog, Question and Answer

St. Laurence’s mantra is, “Where Leadership Begins.”  Why does StL put such an emphasis on leadership for its students and how is leadership defined at StL? 

We believe leadership skills are a cornerstone of a successful life, but also believe there is no such thing as a “born” leader. We teach that leadership is a set of skills you can learn, practice and master. That’s why we’ve created a unique and comprehensive program with a mix of classroom curriculum, special events and individual opportunities that help our students develop the foundation that’s essential to leadership.

We also know all great leaders learn from and are influenced by many other people. We strive to surround our students with positive role models and a nurturing, collaborative culture. We define leadership as anyone who does or says anything that leads the group closer to its goals.

The StL Leadership Program is unique; the only one of its kind in the Midwest. Can you tell me about its origins and structure?

The inspiration for The Leadership Program came, in part, from StL alum and Chicago business leader, Tim O’Malley. Tim knows how essential leadership skills and training are to developing effective employees and to overall business success. He foresaw that StL students would have an advantage in college and in the marketplace if they started building leadership skills in high school.

Through our curriculum, we focus on four key areas: communications skills, group dynamics, leadership styles and time and financial management. The program also includes opportunities to participate in off-site camps, workshops and seminars, such as our professional leadership seminar developed with Bradley University, and individual leadership development opportunities, like The Northern Illinois Leadership Seminar.

During our annual Leadership Week, all students participate in leadership-focused activities. While it varies by year, activities have included seminars given by nationally renowned leadership experts like author, Ed Gerety and Loyola track hall of famer, Eddie Slowikowski, engaging in discussions on the principles of good leadership and voting for StL’s most “emblematic leaders.”

How does The StL Leadership Program help prepare students for college? For life?

It gives students a fundamental skill-set that will not only help them as future leaders, but also in managing everyday situations and challenges. Skills such as goal setting, time management, understanding group dynamics and communication, problem solving and conflict resolution are essential no matter where life takes you.

     These skills also help develop self-confidence. This may be especially true for those who are not inclined to think of themselves as leaders. From the program, they realize, “I can do this” and trust that they can. 

Probably the most rewarding feedback we have received has been from our alumni who believe they have received access to better career opportunities and experienced more rapid professional growth because of the Leadership Program and skills they developed at StL.

We are thrilled to hear our program is having such a positive impact and are committed to further expanding and integrating leadership training into our StL curriculum and culture.