Leaders offer glimpse of experiences

Panelists discuss their leadership experience last night in the Peplow Alumni Pavilion. Photo by Maddie Gehling
Panelists discuss their leadership experience last night in the Peplow Alumni Pavilion.
Photo by Maddie Gehling

The Bradley Fellows brought a new perspective on leadership to campus last night, welcoming four speakers who are active members of both the Bradley and Peoria communities.

The panel consisted of leaders with a variety of experience levels, careers and positions. It included Jessica Martin (human resources coordinator at Easter Seals in Central Illinois), Charlie Drier (regional vice president for Auto-Owners Insurance Peoria), Mike LeCrone (ethics and compliance manager at Caterpillar) and Renee Andrews (principal at Trewyn Middle School).

Senior accounting major Will Kennedy, who helped organize the event, said the speakers demonstrated the goals of Fellows as they discussed their leadership experiences.

“The goal of the Bradley Fellows is to instill leadership and service,” said Kennedy. “The speakers demonstrate the importance of being a leader in your career and community to learn more about yourself and others.”

The first question for the panel was simply, “How Do You Lead?”

Andrews said she leads by example.

“My school is in the poorest zip code in the district. The children come in with issues you and I could not even fathom,” Andrews said. “As the principal, the eyes are always on me, how I deal with stress and all difficult situations.”

Event moderators asked the speakers to think back to their days in college in order to connect with the student audience.

“You all have leadership qualities,” Drier said. “You just have to make the decision to use and explore them.”

Drier also stressed the importance of leadership skills from an employers perspective.

“At career fairs, I don’t really pay much attention to GPA. Instead, I look for involvement,” Drier said. “I don’t care if someone has a 4.0. If they’re not involved in anything, I’m moving along. When I see a candidate I ask myself, ‘How has this student developed as a leader?’”

When the panel was over, senior biology major and Fellows member Omar Ellaicy said one recurring message resonated with him.

“I noticed that all four of the panelists overlapped in one message: to follow your passions and dreams, despite what others might say or think about them,” Ellaicy said. “Do what you’ll be happy doing.”

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