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Wilks works to create leadership culture

By Reis Thebault
On February 18, 2014

From U.S. presidents to Fortune 500 CEOs, all the way down to student senators and team captains, leadership can manifest itself in a multitude of ways. But the one constant is that leadership is necessary for success.

It is also by no means an unattainable personality trait, something the Wilks Leadership Institute is out to prove with their new workshop series.

Wilks is currently accepting applicants for "Growth and Authenticity," the first of four planned workshops.

"Authentic leaders are those with robust self-awareness and unafraid to unveil any shortcomings to peers and followers and also seek continuous growth," Eric Buller, director of the Wilks Leadership Institute, said.

Growth and authenticity are two of the Wilks-created tenants of leadership, Buller said, and future workshops will focus on the other tenants, like "Character and Responsibility."

So far, the workshops have received a positive response, Wilks Leadership Development Specialist Carly Mungovan said.

This particular workshop, she said, will help students to grow in an authentic fashion and will attempt to do so in a highly interactive and entertaining way.

"I can't sit still for 40 minutes so when I got the opportunity to design workshops, I wanted to make sure you are on your feet and moving around," Mungovan said.

Buller agreed and said the three-hour workshop will have a rhythm to it.

"Each workshop lasts three hours and is built in 15-20 minute chunks so the participants are kept busy and move from one activity to another," he said.

The material covered and the interactive manner in which the workshop will present it are two of the unique draws to Wilks Workshops, Mungovan said.

"It fills a niche that hasn't been on campus before," she said.

Mungovan also said she hopes it will attract the kind of student who has untapped leadership ability.

"It is more designed for students who have so much potential but need a push in the right direction," she said.

Buller too has high expectations for the workshops.

"We hope to begin attracting increased numbers of participants that are interested in authentic and intentional leadership as well as meet our mission of 'developing ethical and transformational leadership' in students," he said.

Simply put, these workshops are part of a Wilks plan to create a culture of leadership, even if it takes some time.

"Leadership on campus is so powerful but has so much potential," Mungovan said. "It's not going to change overnight."

The Growth and Authenticity workshop marks the first time Wilks is offering this sort of practicum in leadership, but Buller said, the three other workshops will be available next academic year.

Buller said he hopes to attract 30-40 participants for this initial workshop but will expand them in the future to accommodate additional interest.

Wilks is offering a multitude of ways to get there, but ultimately, Mungovan said, the objective is a simple one.

"The goal is for everyone to have a firmer grasp on who they are, where they're from and what they believe," she said.

Those interested in the workshops can access the application form on the new Wilks Leadership Institute webpage.

Wilks is also hosting a leadership essay contest open to all undergraduate students. A grand prize of $500 will be awarded to the student who submits the best essay, evaluated by a committee in the Wilks Leadership Institute. Up to five $100 honorable mention prizes will also be awarded. The submission due date for the Essay Contest is 5 p.m. Monday, March 31.

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