A scholarly quote regarding leadership says that “leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” Cabrini College is helping students translate their visions into reality through a recent, unique program that helps them find and strengthen their leadership abilities.
“Our goal is to give students the basic knowledge and background of self leadership,” Tom Nerney, president and CEO of United States Liability Insurance Group, said.
The idea for the Nerney Leadership Institute began over three years ago when Nerney and Dr. Mary Harris, associate professor of economics and finance, began talking about how they could better prepare students for life after college.
“It started when we looked at the students that worked for Tom and what we could do to better prepare them and all the students at Cabrini.” Harris said. “We attended the Jepson Leadership School at the University of Richmond to help us get started and to immerse ourselves in it.”
From this foundation, the leadership program was built.
“We started by creating the leadership studies minor and the LEADStrong program. Now we have a masters program in leadership and are beginning to develop the [Nerney] Leadership Institute even more,” Harris said.
The Inaugural Executive-in-Residence program that took place on Thursday, Oct 24 was yet another milestone for the Nerney Leadership Institute.
The Executive-in-Residence program will invite executives in both corporate and non-profit sectors for one-or two-day on-campus residencies. During this time, they will meet with students, faculty and staff to discuss how they display their own style of leadership in their field, as well as in their personal lives.
Nerney was happy to share his thoughts on his work at United States Liability Insurance Group.
“I love what I do, so I’m not really working.” Nerney said.
Nerney also talked about his experiences working with millennials, or, recent college graduates and those who are still in college and how he believes they defy the stereotypes that portray the college generation as lazy.
“I think this generation of students are unbelievable and have huge amounts of talent,” Nerney said. “There are simply people who want to work and who don’t want to work. It’s not a generation issue.
Nerney uses his experiences at USLI when providing insight into the Institute, and what he sees as one of his biggest responsibilities in helping students to achieve their goals and a high level of success.
“My biggest responsibility when I see talent is to make sure I can provide something they can aspire to, to be the best they can be as a person and at what they do in life,” Nerney said.
Nerney not only wants to use the Institute as a means helping students find an inner sense of leadership, but also as a means to demonstrate accountability for their actions and decisions, as well as personal growth. Nerney explained how everyday, there are difficult decisions that have to be made, and good or bad, those decisions must stood by.
“You have to be 100 percent accountable 100 percent of the time,” Nerney said. “In terms of a person making mistakes, it’s such a great and refreshing attribute when someone makes a mistake and owns up to it.”
Nerney, who provides internships and jobs for Cabrini students at USLI, is working closely with Cabrini to establish a Leadership Internship for Minors. This program, as part of the Nerney Leadership Institute, will develop a curriculum and internships that will enable students to have experience in real world situations. These include local profit, government and non-profit organizations. The goal is to prepare students to be come leaders now, so upon graduation, they can then become leaders in their career.
Harris expressed her excitement about the opportunities the Nerney Leadership Institute has established for students and what it means for Cabrini as an academic institution.
“I want Cabrini to be known for leadership and to be an example for other schools,” Harris said. “I want to carve that niche for us.”
Nerney also expressed the impact he would like to see the Institute have on the students and what he himself would like have happen through the program, now, and in the future.
“I want to see all undergrads establish that core of leadership in themselves,” Nerney said. “I want them to dig deeper to find that self leadership that each one of them has.”