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The Cameron University School of Business and Delta Mu Delta hosted the Emerging Leaders presentation at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 9 at the University Theatre, during which Jennifer Boubel spoke to Cameron students about the skills essential to leadership development.
As a certified John Maxwell Company speaker, Boubel has over 20 years of experience in leadership development and training, and she served as Vice President of Training at Continental Airlines for 13 years.
Boubel said the purpose of the presentation is to introduce the concept of leadership.
“The presentation today is geared especially for those who may not have as much experience in leading,” Boubel said. “I want to show them what it means to lead and how to inspire others.”
Boubel told the audience the main key to leadership is influence.
“When discussing leadership,” she said, “one of the main things I nearly always start out with is my friend and well known leadership guru John Maxwell’s definition of leadership. He describes leadership as influence, nothing more or less.”
Boubel said students must understand they can each make a difference, regardless of the roles they play in life.
“And if you have influence, it gives everyone permission to be a leader,” she said, “so it does not matter if you have zero direct reports or 1000 people reporting to you. You can be a leader.”
Boubel said another key to leadership is responsibility. She said people who want to become better leaders must realize they have individual choices and can only control themselves. “So instead of looking for excuses or for things outside of their control,” she said, “they need to look at it under the perspective of ‘what can I do,’ and keep their actions and thoughts geared around what they can do to make the current situation better to try and change it.”
Boubel said effective leaders are positive and take the initiative to change situations.
“In many instances,” she said, “we don’t need to sit back and wait for other people to do things. We need to decide we are going to have a good attitude and embrace things.”
Boubel reminded students who plan to pursue careers in the business world that companies must keep employees and customers at the forefront of their minds.
“People are the most important factor in keeping businesses sustainable,” Boubel said. “I think companies that focus on people, and have valuing and appreciating people as their number one core value, are the companies that you see are tremendously successful.”
Boubel encouraged students to seek out leaders who can serve as mentors or role models in the leadership positions they desire.
“Students need to begin thinking about leadership,” Boubel said. “I think being at an event like this, or beginning to search out and read about people that are currently in leadership roles, will be beneficial.”
Many resources on campus assist students in their leadership growth, including the Cameron library for research, professors and upperclassmen for guidance and organizations for experience. Students can also listen to the Academic Festival speakers for leadership counsel; Robert Glennon, a water resource expert and professor, will speak on Nov. 18 at the University Theatre.
Ultimately, leadership can be a process, but Boubel advised students to persevere.
“Leadership is a simple word but not an easy concept,” Boubel said. “Leadership is something we can never perfect, never finish; we just keep working on it.”
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