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“A leader is one who is able to affect positive change for the betterment of others, the community, and society,” according to the Higher Education Research Institute. This definition helps portray one aspect of the 21 Annual Leadership Experience that happened on Friday, Feb. 9, 2007. Fraternities, sororities, resident assistants, first years, third years, students of all ages and organizations came out to the Leadership Experience with keynote speaker Elaine Penn. Before Penn began, SGA President Kyle Mullins, Dr. Matthew Bricketto, and a State Farm agent joined on the stage. A check for $50,000 was then given to Kyle Mullins for West Chester University’s leadership programs on behalf of State Farm.

Following the distribution of the check, Penn took the stage in Sykes Theater. She started speaking to the college students in the 1990s but it has been in the last four years that she has been primarily speaking around campuses. “It’s inspiring to work with this age group,” said Penn, “[because] they’re idealistic and willing to take on challenges.” And challenges are exactly what Elaine gave the crowd.

She challenged students to see themselves as leaders and can make a positive difference, always continue to grow and earn, make good life choices, and serve others, to mention a few. As a strong believer in affirmations and visualizations, Penn encouraged all students in attendance to “write down a goal, affirm it one minute everyday, visualize it one minute everyday and imagine how it will feel when you achieve the goal.”

The key message that Penn wanted to leave the students at WCU with was the impact of being positive, having a vision, service and communication. Done through activities, lecture and song, Penn opened the 21st Leadership Experience.

“Finding the leader within you,” was the quote for the program and after dinner students had the opportunity to experience it for themselves. Split into three different blocks with seven different programs in each, students could pick which activity they wanted to participate in.

“Can you think like Leonardo?” was a presentation by Julie Perone from the Counseling Center where she discussed seven underlying principles of Leonardo da Vinci’s genius.

“Conflict Resolution: From Confounded to Consensus,” presented by Sue Visoskas, assistant director of housing service, talked about resolving conflict calmly and effectively.

“If you want to Gather Honey, Don’t Kick the Beehive!” WCU graduate of 1993, Garrick Weaver, informed students about secrets of Dale Carnegie’s work “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”

“How to get your Organization Advisor Involved,” with Robin Garrett, director of the Women’s Center, advised students on ways to get their organization advisors involved.

“Leadership and Entrepreneurship,” a presentation by State Farm agent, David Pugh, discussed strategies and techniques to improve one’s leadership skills.

“Life Skills! Tips on How to Survive in the Real World,” given by Amy Brant and Jose Quintana, both WCU graduates of 2001 held a question and answer session on entering the “real world.”

“Myers-Briggs Yourself to a Peaceful Life,” presented by Kathryn Brierton and Pauline Felizardo, WCU alumni and State Farm employees, used interactive Myers-Briggs technology to assess participants’ personalities.

“CONFRONTATION! It’s a Beast!” Austin Duckett, graduate assistant of University Hall, and Lisa Endrikat, graduate assistant of Killinger Hall, provided tips on how to deal with confrontation.

“Solving the Communication Conundrum,” a presentation by WCU graduates Ryan Lovell and Tim Wilkinson tackle the communication barrier in organizations.

“Presentation Skills 101” with Tammy Lesyk, a 2001 graduate, taught basic presentation skills.

“Identifying and Fulfilling you Mission (As a person or as part of a group)” given by 2003 WCU graduate Bryan Norris discussed the need of a mission statement in an organization and as a person.

“Paraprofessional Experiences – Orientation Leader,” with Amy Rae of WCU class of 2007 and Bryn Finucane of WCU class of 2009 informed students about the Orientation Leader program.

“Backwards Planning: Planning a Program Beginning at the End,” State Farm agents and graduates of WCU shared the concept of backward planning for an event or program.

“Principles of Entrepreneurship,” presented by Dave Pugh talked about a three-tiered strategy to become a successful entrepreneur.

“A picture is Worth a Thousand Words.Or is it? This two part presentation was given by Tammy Hilliard, Marcus T. Harrison, and Marion McKinney, took students’ perceptions to another level.

“Maintaining Our Purpose – Are we as BLGC organizations maintaining the ideals established by our founders?” Resident director of Tyson Hall, Ronika Money , held an open dialogue about the current state of BLGC groups at college campuses.

“E-mail, Text Message, Phone Call, or Meet Face to Face,” explored the advantages and disadvantages of those media presented by Laura Klinzing Kelleher, a 1995 WCU graduate.

“Women’s Leadership: Identifying and Overcoming Barrier,” The “timeline activity” with graduate assistant of Sykes Student Union Tara Musser marked the achievements of women in history.

“Follow Through/Delegation,” Bryan Norris a WCU 2003 graduate, stressed the importance of delegation while being a leader.

“Leadership and Humor,” discusses developing one’s own personal leadership skills through comedy and humor. The presentation was given by Robby Essaf and Michael Neary, both WCU 2006 graduates.

“Achieve your Dreams” presented by Hannah Lamontagne, class of 2009, and Rob Malone, class of 2008, shared their tools of success with other students.

“Introducing the Co-Curricular Portfolio,” with Erin Burke, graduate coordinator of the Co-Curricular Portfolio project educated students more about the program offered at WCU.

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