I am a Christian. I am not going to try and convince you to believe what I believe. I am also not going to try and force religion down your throat. I am telling you this because it is the root of my leadership philosophy. I believe that my purpose in life is to glorify God. I believe this completely and utterly, with everything that I am. I want to inspire others to love their neighbor as themselves, find their purpose in life, realize anything is possible, and to go out and make a positive difference in the world.
I am the oldest sibling in my house and the oldest cousin on one of my sides of the family and I think that this would be a big factor in the evolvement of my leadership style. I was raised in a way that it is just natural to want to help those in need, those who have less that I do and those that know less that I do. I always took care of my younger sisters and cousins. I grew up attending church every Sunday and the importance of love has forever been engraved in my mind. I became a Christian, devoted my life to Christ, and began to walk in my faith, and the idea of love became even clearer. As I went through middle and high school leadership classes and got involved in extracurricular, I started to gravitate towards the Servant Leader philosophy. In the Bible, Jesus says, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.” (John 13:14) and he set an important example that we must serve others as leaders, by showing followers how they should care for each other. I think it is important to put others before yourself, which can often times involve an open mind, and sometimes sacrifice. My parents are the perfect example of putting others first, in everything that you do. They know the bigger picture and are extremely considerate. In my Greek Education Development workshop, we were asked to pick three of our most important values, and I choose faith, love and integrity. These values are my “WHY”.
I have been blessed with a few amazing mentors that have helped shaped my leadership style throughout my life. My leadership teacher in middle school, Mr. Burlingham showed me such passion, genuine care and concern for his followers, and really sparked a flame in me, about being passionate for things and standing your ground. My leadership teacher at my first high school, Mr. Gaines, helped me develop a creative and unique outlook, and really inspired me to go out and make a difference in the bigger scheme of things. Mr. Gaines not only taught at my high school, but also worked for a non-profit that went and built houses in Mexico. I went with him and a group other students to work in orphanages and build houses for a summer, which really changed my life. My youth group pastor, Erin Wible, still checks up on me to this day, and he remembers everyone’s name. He truly cares for others and taught me the importance to create a relatable, trusting atmosphere for your followers.
Leadership can be different for everyone, but I think that one achieves true leadership status when people follow him or her by choice, not because they have to. Leadership shouldn’t just be about having power over your followers. ‘The world needs more ethical leaders’, as Dan Gaken would say. I strive to be a leader with integrity and real concern for the wellbeing of the world. I will leave my legacy on the world caring for those who need it the most, those in poverty and desperation. Career wise, I am not as concerned about making large amounts of money, as I am to making an impact on the world. The contribution I want to make as a leader is serving those in the inner city, helping transform education and poverty as a whole, and loving the hopeless. Volunteering is big part of my life, whether it’s going on mission’s trips, working in soup kitchen, mentoring kids, or other things, and I will continually grow as a leader through those experiences. I believe you will never impact the world, conforming to it, so you must stand up and make a difference. Leadership is service and service is leadership. I want to inspire others to love their neighbor as themselves, find their purpose in life, realize anything is possible, and to go out and make a positive difference in the world. I serve others in the hopes that they will realize their purpose is to serve others as well.