Prior to joining Leadership Programs in Student Engagement & Career Development, I spent eight years with THINK TANK as a professional staff member. There are three key lessons I learned while in Blue Chip that shaped my experience at THINK TANK and continues to guide me as a Coordinator with Leadership Programs: Leadership is more than just leading a group, team work makes the dream work, and you get what you give.
Leadership is more than just a leading a group. I think a common misconception about leadership is that leadership only occurs if you are the president of a club or a supervisor. One of the earliest pieces of knowledge I gained from Blue Chip quickly demystified this. Through activities and discussions, Blue Chip showed us that leadership does not mean being in charge. Leadership is active engagement in the organization/team/experience/job. Leadership is your actions. As a professional staff member, this lesson has been important as I interact with co-workers and campus partners. I don’t have to be the one leading the meeting, but I can set a strong example. I can help move the group forward by the actions and example I take within the team.
This first lesson really leads well into the second lesson: Team work makes the dream work. Throughout my experience with Blue Chip, the opportunities where I gained the most and enjoyed the most were the opportunities when I had to work as a team. The same has been true in my professional career. These experiences gave me the greatest opportunities for learning. I developed and strengthen skills in communication, team building, listening, and problem solving.
As a professional you are likely to be in an office with others—even if your day-to-day work is individual in nature. Being able to interact, work with, and build relationships with others in the office and the organization is important. It makes the work more manageable and enjoyable! Throughout my professional career working with others on projects, presentations, planning, and training has been at the core of the work I do. Blue Chip provided the space to learn how to work with others in a collaborative manner.
The final lesson I learned from Blue Chip I heard early on but really came to appreciate with time. You get what you give. These words echoed in my mind throughout my college career. These words guided me to make sure that I wasn’t just signed up to be a member in a club or organization but that I was actively engaging in the experience. It encouraged me to reflect on moments and ask myself, “Why didn’t I enjoy that experience? Did I give all that I could?” I continue use those words to guide my experience as a professional. It puts the responsibility on me. What can I do to continue growing as a professional? Am I giving it my all?