Meet the Interns: Mary Kate

This summer two new interns have joined our Community Engagement team. In addition to their contributions to our social media presence, they will be serving as On-Site Coordinators for the Institute. If you are heading to the national session of the Institute that begins on July 21, you’ll have the chance to meet Mary Kate in real life. For now, we hope you enjoy getting to know more about her here – and be sure to check back tomorrow to meet our other intern, Sundas.

Leadershape headshot 1Hi everybody! My name is Mary Kate Kaufman and I am a senior pursuing a degree in Marketing and International Business and Bowling Green State University. I go by Mary Kate and MK and I am the middle child in my family. My older brother Jake just graduated from North Central College (Woo Hoo) and my younger sister Kelli is a junior in high school. I also have a dog named Wrigley who is a mutt and my roommate has a mini goldendoodle named Finn who I am a proud dog aunt at BGSU!

At school I am involved in the Center for Student Leadership, Delta Zeta, University Dance Alliance, Order of Omega, Dance Marathon, and serve as an off-campus commuter mentor. In the Center for Student Leadership, I am a Student Leadership Assistant or SLA. As an SLA I get to work on an incredible team of grad and undergrad students, and we create leadership programs for clubs and organizations and facilitate. I am also a Global Ambassador for Delta Zeta’s nationals and I get to go to alumni chapters and collegiate chapters and teach them about our national service project the Painted Turtle Camp and share about my experience as a cabin counselor.

When I am not participating in my clubs and organizations or going to class, I enjoy spending time outside with friends. I love to hammock, hike, read, volunteer, and find new places to eat with unique foods and flavors. What makes me MK is my support systems of amazing friends and family who are constantly challenging me to be the best version of myself. I would not be the person I am today if it was not for the communities I have been fortunate enough to live in and the opportunities I have had.

How did you get connected to LeaderShape?
I got connected to LeaderShape through my job as a Student Leadership Assistant. The office was planning it and my boss had the opportunity to go when she was in college and serve as an On-Site Coordinator for the Institute and she had nothing but positive reviews.

What is something from your involvement with LeaderShape that you continue to apply or work towards in your life?
Something I have learned from LeaderShape that I continuously apply in my life is that it is okay to fail and to have a positive approach on them. By seeing failures as being “fascinating” it has allowed me to not overthink things that have happened and be able to reflect and learn how to improve. I have always been super self-critical on myself and making failures into positive learning experiences has given me a new outlook on life

If you could speak to everyone in the world at the same time, what would you say?
If I had the opportunity to speak to everyone in the world at the same time I would say be kind to everyone you meet because we do not know how long we have on this world and make the most of every interaction, experience because the world is a lot smaller than it appears.

Sparking the Change

Screen Shot 2019-05-29 at 6.58.45 PM.pngWe loved using May to spark change in our life, our community, and the world. We are 100% sure that working on the little things in life can move us closer to the big and bold change we want to create – and we hope you embrace this idea as well!

One of the ways we sparked change this month was by focusing on something we learned or something we are learning. Every day we have new opportunities to learn and grow but often pass them by without even noticing. By committing to learning something new we are continuously expanding our knowledge which helps us ignite the change.

“Change is the end result of all true learning.”
– Leo Buscaglia 

When bringing about change, it’s important to understand how it can include and impact those around us. With this in mind, we took the chance to start a conversation with someone we don’t typically talk with. By opening ourselves up to someone new, we are building new someone new we are developing new relationships with people who think differently than we do. A meaningful talk with someone who thinks differently than we do brings to light lived experiences and points of view we may not have considered before.

We focused this month on all the little things we can do to make change, but what are the things that hold us back from reaching our goals? Our paths to reaching our goals are all very different from one another, but one thing we may have in common is that we sometimes we spend too much time thinking about the roadblocks that stand in our way. When we are hyper-focused on what stands in our way of reaching our goals, our story becomes externally directed. We want to shift this and craft our own story by centering what makes us effective leaders and change-makers. Crafting our own story will help us to attain our goals. Instead of thinking of all the things that MIGHT hold us back we focused on some of the characteristics of our story that make us good leaders and will help us attain our goals.

“We all have challenges. We have to face them, embrace them, defy them, and conquer them.”
–  Victoria Arlen

One of the final ways we started to spark the change this month was to expand on something we wish we knew more about, knew a little about, or didn’t have a clue about the topic at all. By taking 15 minutes every once in a while to do research on a topic that fascinates you, you are making it easier to step out of your comfort zone and really make change!

By continuing to put these habits – personal growth, conversations that matter, crafting our own leadership story, and exploring ideas that fascinate us – into practice, we are better able to create big change in your life and in the lives of those around you.

 

What we are all working toward

Positive Change. It is what we are all working toward.

Every day we get up and try to make a difference hoping that we are able to use our talents, skills, and abilities to their best. We work for change that benefits us all – our communities, our country, our world. It is easy to lose sight of this goal. Easy to lose sight of our vision.

In the past few years, we’ve seen society’s prominent leaders disregard human decency, refuse to participate in constructive discussion, promote divisiveness, and engage in soundbite insults. This is why we need LeaderShape. The impact of LeaderShape has probably never been as important as it is now because people have lost trust in what it means to be a leader.

I want to highlight four important concepts that we teach.

LeaderShape teaches us how to hear each other without the fear of each other. LeaderShape instills confidence by showing people how to face and own their individual experiences. Then we discuss the commonalities of our experiences, clearing the path for cooperation, wisdom, and the courage to bring about change.

LeaderShape teaches us how to be okay with who we are and what we stand for. LeaderShape helps us understand ourselves and realize that each person around us struggles with the same thing.

LeaderShape teaches us to learn to listen. LeaderShape provides the community where understanding each other cuts down on the sting and vitriol of conflict. We are present with our disagreements and don’t retreat to our corners. We stay in the mess.

Finally, the LeaderShape experience gives us the tools to discover that we’re not so afraid. And that gives all of us the freedom to stand up and bring about the change we want to see. We gain the courage to bring about change and that’s what endures in the long run.

Now is not the time to lose hope in what we can accomplish. Now is the time to be in community. True community where we wrestle with life’s questions and together try to find answers that work for all of us, not just a few. Let’s forget for a minute about being leaders and focus on being better humans. When we get that straight, leadership will happen. Behaviors will change. Habits will form. Change will happen.

In the meantime, I want you to know that LeaderShape will stay true to our core values of integrity, equity, possibility, vision, community, and relationships. We will take no shortcuts in terms of the quality of experiences that we provide. We will partner with those individuals and institutions that want to be a part of bringing about that positive change because together there is strength. We can drown out the chaos of today and keep our eye on the horizon – on our vision of a more just, caring, equitable, and thriving world.

And we will remember that with your help we provide experiences that transform lives.

I invite you to commit or recommit to creating positive change in the world. LeaderShape sees that future and looks forward to adjusting our practices to meet whatever it takes to be a part of that future. We will fail more. We will join with others committed to learning. We will stay humble and work hard.

We are needed now more than ever.

LeaderShape accepts that challenge and hopes you do too.

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