A Reflection On Congruence: Head-to-Heart

Authored by: Jaymi Thomas | Graduate Assistant, Office of Student Leadership Development, Student Leadership Programs

E.E. Cummings wrote “To be nobody-but-yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody but yourself–means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight– and never stop fighting.” This quote made me think about the second C in the Social Change Model: congruence. Congruence is one of my favorite aspects of the Social Change Model. It’s all about connecting what you’re thinking and feeling,embracing authenticity and honesty toward others.

As someone who will admit to experiencing all the feels, quite often, I am always up for conversations and learning more about emotional intelligence. Congruence and aligning one’s values, beliefs, and strengths are essential parts of my leadership journey. Some of the ways that I attempt to practice congruence are reflecting and talking to mentors to learn more about the ways they mindfully practice authenticity.

Congruence is recognizing that your inner and outer self can be more similar than they are different. As I grow in the student affairs profession and work to identify the leadership qualities I want to embrace, one goal I have is to practice congruence and lead in an authentic way- in other words, to align my head, heart, hands, and feet.

This series also serves as a lead up to “Elevating Change: William & Mary Celebrates 20 Years of the Social Change Model.”  This event is a conference for student leaders who are interested in learning how to be more effective leaders and how to cultivate impactful change for the organizations and causes they care most about.  We hope you will join us for the conference on November 12th!  Please visit our website to learn more about the conference: http://www.wm.edu/offices/studentleadershipdevelopment/leadershipconference/index.php

Pursuit of Consciousness of Self

Authored by:

Anne Arseneau

Director of the Office of Student Leadership Development

I’m a self-improvement junkie. I earnestly believe there is a better version of me just around the corner and I’ve been known to try lots of new things in pursuit of Anne 2.0.  I’m pretty sure I can tie that back to some leadership development roots.  One of my all-time favorite organizations, LeaderShape, Inc. professes that “the most effective leaders know themselves.”  Knowing yourself takes work. It means discovering what you care about; what you’re good at (what you’re not good at); what brings you joy, (and what makes you upset); how you work; and who you need to surround yourself with to do your best work.  And the continuous journey around all this “work” never stops.  (Or at least it won’t stop for Anne 2.0)

At the heart of it, knowing yourself is basically “Consciousness of Self” – the first “C” in the Social Change Model. Consciousness of self means being aware of the beliefs, values, attitudes, and emotions that motivates one to take action.

Our ability to be effective (in our work and relationships) is directly tied to the trust and respect that we have with others.  If I squander the trust and respect of the people I’m working with or the people I’m in relationship with, then I’m simply less effective or even worse, non-effective.

And the simplest way that I can squander trust and respect?  It’s by not being aware of how my actions are impacting others. That lack of self-awareness (or consciousness of self) has created a LOT of hard life lessons (and so my pursuit of Anne 2.0 continues)!

I’m a gal who likes a practical approach. It’s the self-improvement junkie in me – the belief that there is a tool, project, book that can help me be better.  I’ll leave you with three of my favorite resources that support Consciousness of Self.

  • Life Values Inventory: an on-line (free) values clarification program
  • Emotionally Intelligent Leadership: A Guide for Students (2nd Edition) by Shankman, Allen, and Haber-Curran – this book is one of my favorites about the relationship between emotional intelligence and leadership.
  • StrengthsQuest: for just $9.99, you could take an on-line instrument that helps you identify your 5 signature strengths – talk about consciousness of self!

This series also serves as a lead up to “Elevating Change: William & Mary Celebrates 20 Years of the Social Change Model.”  This event is a conference for student leaders who are interested in learning how to be more effective leaders and how to cultivate impactful change for the organizations and causes they care most about.  We hope you will join us for the conference on November 12th!  Please visit our website to learn more about the conference: http://www.wm.edu/offices/studentleadershipdevelopment/leadershipconference/index.php

Elevating Change Series: An Introduction to the Social Change Model


Authored by: Jennifer Leung Associate Director of the Office of Student Leadership Development

As a young professional in grad school, I was first introduced to the Social Change Model as a foundation for how I do my work as a leadership educator and it has remained a constant throughout my professional journey.  I’m sure when you hear “models” and “foundations” when talking about leadership, it makes the leadership seem kind of abstract, but it’s really not.  In my opinion, it’s the Social Change Model that really makes leadership simple and approachable.  At its core, the Social Change Model is this:  Learn more about yourself, learn how to work with others and in community, and by leveraging that knowledge and partnerships, you can create positive change for the organizations and causes you care most about.

You may be wondering, what it is about this model that makes it so approachable…..there are several “key assumptions” about leadership that help shape the Social Change Model:

  • Leadership is collaborative
  • Leadership is a group process, not the authority of an individual
  • Leadership is based on values
  • Leadership can be practiced by anyone, it’s not reserved for the select few with titles or positions
  • Leadership is about change

The Social Change Model of Leadership Development was developed in 1996 by a group of leadership specialists with undergraduate students in mind.  In honor of the 20th anniversary of the Social Change Model, members of the Student Leadership Development staff will be posting about the various components of the model: Consciousness of Self, Congruence, Commitment, Collaboration, Common Purpose, Controversy with Civility, Citizenship, and Change.

This series also serves as a lead up to “Elevating Change: William & Mary Celebrates 20 Years of the Social Change Model.”  This event is a conference for student leaders who are interested in learning how to be more effective leaders and how to cultivate impactful change for the organizations and causes they care most about.  We hope you will join us for the conference on November 12th!  Please visit our website to learn more about the conference: http://www.wm.edu/offices/studentleadershipdevelopment/leadershipconference/index.php

Wise Words From Leadership: Passion and Belief


The Office of Student Leadership Development Staff encourages leaders to be inspired and reflect on the brilliant thoughts and ideas of others to influence their work. Throughout the semester, we will share our staff’s favorite quotes via the “Wise Words from Leadership” series. This month, Trici Fredrick, Associate Director of Student Leadership Development shared a quote from Will Rogers.  We hope you enjoy Trici’s quote and reflection. Click here to learn more about Trici !

“If you want to be successful, it’s just this simple. Know what you are doing. Love what you are doing. And believe in what you are doing” – Will RogersWill Rogers Quote

Trici explains, “To me this quote best reflects all the necessary components of a successful leader.  Being effective as a leader isn’t just understanding what you’re supposed to be doing and getting it done.  The best leaders have the passion and drive that gives them momentum to keep them moving even on the hardest days. Even more important than this… loving and believing in your cause gives others the inspiration they need to join you. True passion and conviction are like wild fire. They can’t be stopped.”


Discovering A Path to Involvement


The Wonderful World of Leadership: Discovering A Path to Involvement

It has been a week since the Student Organizations and Activities Fair, which means for many new students, you are already thinking of what organizations you will be joining. Hopefully the fair felt like you entered a world of pure imagination without leaving you overwhelmed. During this time, the Student Leadership Development Staff encourages you to consider the organizations you will join in an intentional, mindful way. As you consider your path to involvement, consider the following questions:cropped-IMG_1896.jpg

  • What do you care about? (People, places, causes, events, trends, culture, etc.)
  • What skills, knowledge, or insights do you want to develop?
  • What energizes you or restores your well-being?

The key theme of these questions are meant to encourage and inspire the “why” you are joining a particular organization. As you reflect on the following questions, begin to think about why you are joining groups and what you bring to the organization. Asking and answering “the why” allows you to enter a new space with a mission, vision, and sense of purpose. The path to involvement can be a more enjoyable path, when you are making the connections. It is much more fulfilling to share why you joined an organization instead of providing a list of what you are involved in.

Many W&M students are driven by different desired outcomes. If you are feeling stuck, considering your involvement with these questions in mind will help refine your choices and enhance your experiences this year! You may want to be involved in an organization that is tied to:

  • Something you care about and want to continue with
  • Something you are interested in but have yet to try
  • Something that would advance your academic or professional interests

For more information about ways to get involved and for a full list of recognized student organizations, visit the website for the Office of Student Leadership Development at http://www.wm.edu/leadership

We cannot wait to see how you answer ‘the why’ and navigate your path to involvement!

“Example is Leadership”

VP Student Affairs Ginger Ambler

VP Student Affairs Ginger Ambler

Guest Blogger Vice President of Student Affairs, Ginger Ambler contributes her thoughts to the #NoTitleNeeded Campaign

“Example is leadership.”  In only three words, Albert Schweitzer’s famous quote captures perfectly what #NoTitleNeeded means to me.  At once empowering, and at the same time a bit intimidating, Schweitzer reminds us that, whether or not we realize it, we have the power, day in and day out, to influence others, to lead by our own example.  How do we lead by example?  By the words we say (or don’t say).  By the actions we take. By the way we prioritize our time.  By the way we respond to conflict.  By our willingness to apologize. By the optimism we share. By the ideas we put on the table.  By the creativity we inspire. By our courage in the face of injustice.  By offering thanks.  By honoring different perspectives. By opening doors of opportunity. By taking a risk. By speaking up. By allowing others to have a voice. If our goal is not “to be a leader,” but is, instead “to make a difference,” then our personal example really does emerge as the vehicle of authentic leadership.  We find ourselves leading because others see in us a passion worth sharing, a goal worth achieving, or a way of life worth emulating.  We lead because we help people work well together, because we elevate others above self, because our efforts are effecting change, and because we find fulfillment (when we’re lucky, even joy) in the shared endeavor.

Leadership Is Not a Position

Guest Blog by Brianna Buch, Class of 2015

Leadership Is Not a Position

Leadership Is Not a Position

It is logical that we associate the ability to lead with a title or position. It is easy to understand what is meant when someone is the President of an organization, or on the Leadership Board – they are in charge. However it is hard to quantify what leadership looks like outside a position. Who gets the credit? How do you explain who you are?

To further the difficulty, leadership positions are what get us jobs, and into grad school and further in the next phase of life. We are, in some ways, bound by them.

Lately, however, I’ve been challenging the concept of leadership in my own life. I held a position in Student Government last year as the President of the Class of 2015. The title alone afforded opportunities I wouldn’t dream of having otherwise. But, when it came time for elections in the spring, I chose not to run for office the following year. This was not because I didn’t feel equipped, but rather a combination of timing and circumstance.

As I continue pushing to affect change on this campus, I pause and reflect deeply about what it means to lead.

  • Are you still a leader if you hold no formal position?
  • Do you still have as the ability to influence the world around you?

I think so. I found a quote during my Sophomore year, which continues to resonate with me today. “Power, I would learn, is nothing but responsibility.” Positions carry with them the weight of responsibility, but I argue that being present in a community is reason enough to feel responsible, to become active and engaged in the world around you. Leadership to me is tapping into passion, taking on responsibility and pushing for something you believe in. With that as the standard, anyone – and everyone – has the capacity to be a leader.

I think our campus would be much stronger if we were all leaders by spirit regardless of title. And that means taking responsibility for the things we don’t agree with, or aren’t satisfied with, and giving it a shot at changing those things.


Welcome to #NoTitleNeeded

Blog by Anne Arseneau, Student Leadership Development

#NoTitleNeeded...Because EVERYONE should have the opportunity to practice leadership.

#NoTitleNeeded…Because EVERYONE should have the opportunity to practice leadership.

This November, the Office of Student Leadership Development is launching the #NoTitleNeeded Campaign.  We’ve based the mission of our office AND the way we connect with students on the firm belief that being a leader isn’t based on having a title, position, or authority.

The PRACTICE of leadership is open to anyone.  It involves the desire to work with others to create positive change in the communities and causes we care about.

But it’s hard to break free of those assumptions that someone with the title or position of leader is going to come forward and start the positive change.  Too often, we wait for the “leader” to start. Or if we are the “leaders” we spend too much time doing it all on our own and not figuring out ways to engage others significantly.  With our #NoTitleNeeded efforts, we want to elevate the concept that the practice of leadership is open to all.

Check out the schedule overview for #NoTitleNeeded and we hope you’ll engage with us throughout the month and share your own thoughts.

Follow us on Social Media and consider participating in our #NoTitleNeeded Campaign.  You can have your own contribution documented to #NoTitleNeeded at the Sadler Center during lunch hours November 10th—14th OR anytime during the month on twitter or Instagram.

At the least, we hope you’ll think about what it means for you,  the way you work with others, and our collective opportunities to create positive change.

Redefining Leadership


Spencer Pelfrey, GA for Leadership Programs

When you think of leadership, what comes to your mind first? Is it certain traits that you think a leader must possess? Is it a specific leader that is influential in your life or influential to those around them? Maybe it’s a pioneer, a visionary, or a revolutionary.

Leadership means different things to different people. For some, it’s simply a title. For others, it’s a collection of experiences where tasks were accomplished or problems properly navigated. It could be those who may not have formal leadership titles at all. These are individuals who have proven to be agents of change through their creative solutions, adaptation to change and the ability to seize opportunities.

Nearly every job or application we fill out has that ridiculously vague question about leadership. “Please explain a time where you exemplified leadership.” What does that even mean? I sit there trying to decide if I should write about how I changed a friend’s experience with supportive words or how I was able to change an event to better suit its mission or maybe the time I became a pioneer and ate a hot dog in a Twinkie covered in Cheez-whiz. I don’t have a specific suggestion as to how to answer this type of question other than recognizing a time where you felt as though you made yourself proud in both the way you acted and how it positively affected your environment.

It seems as though when we are put in those situations, we attempt to change our own definition of leadership to fit the definition of the institution, company, or whatever the popular opinion is. We are compromising our own leadership and going against the very thing that we’re attempting to prove.

The beauty of leadership is there is no specific definition. Therefore it can’t be redefined, just recognized and attained.

– Spencer Pelfrey,Graduate Assistant

p.s. Here are some wonderful TED Talks about differing views of leadership:

Drew Dudley’s “Everyday Leadership” (5 mins). Drew tells a story of how the little things can mean the most to people and how we can be exhibiting leadership without even knowing it. https://www.ted.com/talks/drew_dudley_everyday_leadership

Simon Sinek’s  “Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe” (10 mins). Simon explains his theory that good leaders cultivate a comfortable environment and, in turn, workers are more satisfied and productive. https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_why_good_leaders_make_you_feel_safe


About Spencer: Spencer is a current William and Mary student in the School of Education and pursuing his M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration through the Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership program.  He is a graduate of James Madison University, where he had experience working in Admissions, Alumni Relations, and Community Service Learning, and Orientation.