One of my highest priorities is to continue my education and work toward the goal of attaining a leadership role within the MnSCU Office of the Chancellor or an MnSCU system college. The Educational Leadership Higher Education graduate degree program fits well within my priorities and goals, and I believe it will give me the skills and knowledge necessary to advance my career while helping me to learn more about myself and how I deal with various situations. The following essay provides my definition of leadership, and outlines my style and views regarding all aspects of leading an organization, and of organizational behavior. I believe a leader is someone who has the ability to influence, encourage, listen, and nurture. They are able to inspire, stimulate, persuade, shape, and have an effect on others. According to John C. Maxwell in his book Leadership 101, everyone is a leader because everyone influences someone. Not everyone will become a great leader, but everyone can become a better leader." Maxwell states that "each of us influences at least 10,000 other people in our lifetime." Maxwell challenges us by stating, "The question is not whether you will influence someone, but how you will use your influence.
I have been fortunate to have many opportunities to take on leadership roles, and to use these roles to influence others in very positive ways. As a teenager, my farm work experience helped to form my work ethic, and my ability to lead by example. During high school, I was chosen by my peers to lead them as class president, and as FHA president. During my years in college, I was involved in a number of groups and organizations which helped to build on my existing leadership abilities, and interest in being an exemplary leader. As an employee at Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM), I was chosen to be a Senior Fellow in the W. K. Kellogg Foundation Leadership Exchange Program.