On May 8, 2011, I started a journey that is still ongoing today. That journey is living out the vision I created at the LeaderShape Institute. I attended the Institute at the end of my first year at Central Michigan University. One may think that attending the Institute so early in my educational career could not yield the same benefits that it would if I would have attended later. However, I was a blank canvas with a passion that could not be explained. This all changed during the Institute.
Before arriving I was nervous and excited. The Institute was my first introduction to casting a personal vision for what a better world could look like. It was the launch pad that would provide me with questions that I revisit today to see if I am still on the right track. The Institute was challenging, insightful, revealing, energizing and fun. In many ways, the Institute helped me clarify my values and then align them with actions. You get to be honest with yourself when you espouse or write down certain values and then they don’t show up during an activity. You also get to celebrate coming together to change for the better alongside your peers.
As a young professional, I get to live and breathe the passion I discovered at the Institute and share it with others. I currently work for CMU’s Leadership Institute as the Coordinator of Leadership Programs Graduate Assistant. In this role, I strive to help students understand that differences are power resources that should be welcomed with genuine curiosity, as well as appreciated for the valuable perspectives that are shared because of differences.
All in all, the Institute gave me something I couldn’t have found anywhere else. It gave me an environment that was conduces to exploring what was deeply important to
me. It prompted me to take responsibility for making the world a better place. Finally, it gave me support and inspiration for achieving what I previously thought not possible.
To close, I think of experiences that were deeply transformative as pillars in my lifetime.
LeaderShape’s Institute program is one of the foundational pillars that continues to inform who I am, what I hope to become, and what I hope to give to the world through my time, talents, and resources. I wouldn’t trade that for the world.
Vincent Thurman is the Coordinator of Leadership Programs at Central Michigan University. In 2016, he served as a Fellow for the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication. He has been a Featured Speaker for the Appalachian Leadership Forum and provides Leadership Development workshops around the country. He has a great passion for travel and will spend next summer visiting all seven continents to create awareness and fundraise for those with Multiple Sclerosis.