September 17, 2018

The Road to Leadership

Kady Wong, Program Coordinator, SFU Public Square

The views and opinions expressed in SFU Public Square's blogs are those of the authors, and they do not necessarily reflect the official position of Simon Fraser University or SFU Public Square, or any other affiliated institutions in any way.

A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. [They] do not set out to be a leader, but become one by the equality of their actions and the integrity of their intent. —Douglas MacArthur

For those of you who don’t know me, I wear many hats in my role at SFU Public Square. While my title is Program Coordinator, I have my hands in everything from student engagement to operations to event planning to human resources and more.

Leading the student engagement on our team has been the most rewarding part of my job. By managing our volunteers, work-study students, international interns, and student ambassadors for our upcoming Peer Program, I have the opportunity to mentor budding SFU undergraduates, help them achieve their goals, and witness them grow into capable professionals. As cheesy as it sounds, I really do learn just as much from them as they do from me.

Managing our student engagement wasn’t enough for me so, a year ago, I sought out other opportunities in our university to engage with students and came across the SFU Passport to Leadership Program. I applied to become a facilitator for the program and the next thing I knew I was facilitating leadership discussions in the fall of 2017 and the Summer of 2018. Every Tuesday evening after work, I would facilitate sessions with 20 SFU students, covering a range of topics including active listening, foundations of leadership, debunking leadership myths and more. I would come to each session feeling tired from my busy work day and leave the session feeling energized from our productive and inspiring conversations.

A moment that truly stood out for me during my time as a facilitator was when a student in the program, a single mother working towards her BA, spoke about perfectionism and the pressure she felt to be perfect all the time, especially as a mother. This woman's story really resonated with me. Not only did I admire her courage and vulnerability to share her story, but could relate as I too am, as shame researcher Brene Brown says, "a recovering perfectionist and aspiring good enoughist."

Being part of the Passport to Leadership program allowed me to further develop my facilitation and leadership skills at my job and in my community. I left the program a better listener and a more patient and empathetic leader. I would recommend this program to any student who is eager to learn leadership skills and is wanting to make a difference in their community.

I am so excited to see how this program will continue to evolve to reflect the changing conceptions of leadership in the world today. I’m happy to have played a role in the program and encourage other SFU staff members to be leaders in the SFU community and get involved.

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