Lead365 National Conference inspires Stockdale Fellows

A select group of Monmouth College’s James and Sybil Stockdale Fellows recently attended the Lead365 National Conference, and they returned to campus further motivated to put their leadership skills to work.

Led by Assistant Director of Leadership and Development, Jake McLean, the students who attended the Oct. 31-Nov. 2 conference in Orlando, Fla. included Emma Johanns ’21 of Burlington, Iowa, Liam Meyer ’22 of Cedarburg, Wis., Grant Miller ’22 of Centennial, Colo., and Kailey Woolard ’22 of Dixon, Ill.

The Monmouth group met several students from small, rural liberal arts colleges—many of them from Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Massachusetts.

At the conference, the Monmouth students heard from several lively and informative speakers on topics that included finance, diversity, communication, and leadership. Even the sessions that didn’t focus specifically on leadership still had a connection to it, helping motivate the students to return to campus and create change.

Johanns said she appreciated what the networking aspect meant to her personal growth. “Through the conference, I was able to grow in my communication and interpersonal relationship skills, while also learning a lot about myself and others and building some great friendships,” she said. “We all attended different presentations but left feeling similar levels of motivation and that we’d learned something new.”

Named in honor of the late Medal of Honor recipient Vice Adm. James Stockdale ’46 and his wife, the James and Sybil Stockdale Fellows Program is Monmouth’s most prestigious scholarship, leadership and enrichment program. Students participate in a four-year program that includes retreats, volunteering opportunities, and leadership training.

Johanns said she was especially motivated by a personal encounter with one of the conference’s speakers. “I actually got the chance to network with one of the speakers, who gave me some great advice in regard to applying for graduate schools,” she said. “She said she’d even assist me with the application process should I have any questions. I feel that now I understand how to make myself stand out from the masses when applying for internships and graduate schools, and that I have a better understanding of what I need to do to accomplish my goals.”

McLean said that the Lead365 benefited both his students and himself.

“From a staff perspective, the conference was amazing,” he said. “I had the opportunity to network and engage in conversations with some of the celebrities of the leadership education field. Their good work informs a lot of the processes we use to guide our cocurricular programs at the College.”

McLean said his favorite part of the trip was seeing a light go on for each of the Stockdale Fellows who attended. “The coolest part for me was seeing the students’ ‘a-ha’ moments,” he said. “Each student had some sort of challenge or opportunity facing them when they returned to campus, and they were able to build a plan of action to implement when they returned to campus.”

Liam Meyer – Contributing Writer

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