Leadership. What makes a good leader?
That was the topic of Luke Wright, founder and chief executive officer of MudLove, Warsaw, who was the guest speaker for the 2014-15 Kosciusko Youth Leadership Academy Graduation Wednesday evening. The event was held at Champagne Jam, Warsaw.
“Leadership is the most single influence in the world,” he stated, pointing out everything interacts with and has to do with leadership, even the way an individual interacts with people deals with leadership. He provided definitions of leadership from a free phone app and Wikipedia, giving examples of good and bad leadership.
“What is leadership? What is good leadership? It is about the heart.” he stated. Leadership, he stated, comes with choices. “… That is the way you learn to lead. There are a lot of choices. Some paths feel really good, but they end up being shallow. Other paths are meaningful, purposeful that can bring you to tears any time.”
Wright stated a good leader comes through challenges and accepting those challenges, being vulnerable, accepting the fact you will fail and moving forward.
Selfishness, he stated does not blend with good leadership. “Good leadership does not have to be earth shaking. It’s about the quality, how you are doing it, how well you are doing it. To achieve quality you have to accept major challenges. Deny yourself, I believe is the answer.
“Good leadership starts and ends with denying yourself,” Wright stated. “We are challenged with selflessness,” he stated, adding selfishness is human nature. Accepting challenges, denying selfishness by working harder and smarter will result in a transformation in life he said. “You can expect to fail. Get back up when you fail … keep trying …
“Helping people around you, there is going to be sacrifice … if it’s going to be a button on your vest, the world doesn’t need you. The world needs leaders who decide it is not about ‘me.’ … show heart, be vulnerable … the public will determine how genuine you are and decide to run the race with you. If no one runs, keep trying.
“Sacrifice means accepting things about your life. Be ready, willing for challenges, it may not be comfortable. Move on with humility and selfishness … do not give up, accept challenges in your way, become a really good leader … Having KYLA on a resume may be good, but it will not matter unless you prove it. I believe you can do that by denying self and choosing to do good in the world.”
Prior to Wrights keynote address, two groups of KYLA students were selected to give their Project Proud presentations. Owen Donahoe and Kyle Weideman, from Wawasee High School and Audrey Rich, Stephani Katras, Neema Patel and Haley June, from Warsaw High School, gave their presentations on “The Hammer Down Dodge Ball Tournament” and “Roots.”
Each group presented the organization they chose to help, their goals, accomplishing those goals, impact on them (what was learned)
The evening concluded with the presentation of diplomas to 25 KYLA members, and the announcement of graduates Brianna Nolin and John Kuhn being named as the two-at large board members for the next year.
KYLA was started in 1994 with seven students and six sessions. The class size has grown with up to 14 sessions during the year. Participating schools include Wawasee, Triton, Tippecanoe Valley, Whitko, Warsaw and Lakeland Christian Academy.