LEADStrong is a leadership certificate program that prepares students for the workforce, while counting as academic credit for the leadership studies program. LEADStrong accommodates each individual’s learning style and fits into every student’s schedule.
“Last semester I was the leadership programming intern which meant I was in charge of tracking students’ leadership development plans,” senior history and political science major Daisy Rodriguez said. “My big project for the semester was the leadership ceremony where I got to pick out the menu, create invites, help select a student keynote speaker, and gather nominations from the student life department for the leadership awards.”
Lisa Podolsky, the assistant director of leadership development in SEaL, said that students receive a template for their development plans. Interns, such as Daisy Rodriguez, oversee the students and track their progress to help students recognize where their efforts should be focused. Podolsky has been most impressed with the amount of alumni who have attributed LEADStrong for giving them an edge when applying for jobs.
A key component to LEADStrong is emphasizing leadership throughout diverse communities. Students are empowered to lead and take action in different areas and have an overall goal to help people of all backgrounds and faiths.
“We all learn differently, we have different backgrounds and experiences that have impacted our own leadership journey,” Anne Filippone, executive director for SEaL, said. “All of this contributes to how we lead and how we work with others who are different from us. I believe we have the greatest impact when we recognize the differences that exist within the group and leverage them effectively to create positive change. If we are only willing to work with those who are like us or do things the way we do, then we limit the impact and the effectiveness of the leadership initiative.”
All students must complete a capstone presentation in order to earn the program certificate. There is a LEADStrong Capstone Rubric that students can find on the Cabrini website.
Even though LEADStrong is separate from Leadership and Organizational Development at Cabrini, students can acquire credit and work towards a major or minor in the field of leadership studies. As for the leadership studies certificate program, six credits and a completion of the LEADStrong program are required to obtain this certificate.
Leadership development is one of the key components of the Cabrini mission statement which involves taking responsibility for individual actions, and responsibility for the actions of everyone else throughout a community. The principles of LEADStrong are ingrained in Cabrini’s social justice initiative and faith in the common good.