GEM 2014

GEM: A Kick-Off to a Great Year!

You would think asking forty-two members of Greek organizations to miss their first Friday back at Lehigh would end in a catastrophe. However, for the GEM mentees and Mentors who attended _DSC0033their annual retreat at Camp Canadensis, the weekend was extremely successful and kicked off the year just right. Although most were a bit sluggish when we arrived, things picked up right away with everyone’s favorite games… Icebreakers! Usually with icebreakers the participants try to act too cool and not really have fun with them, but not these GEMs. They were all very into the games, which was exactly what was needed to start the retreat on the right foot. If there’s one theme you should notice, it’s that GEMs are not your typical, average people. They know that this program will help them become better leaders and that weekend proved it by breaking out of their comfort zones, making fools of themselves, and ultimately establishing many new friendships along the way.

This weekend was full of small and large group bonding; ranging from dividing up into small clusters (MEDUSAS for life) and getting to know each other, to participating in a low ropes course, to spending some free time out on the lake or at a bonfire playing “Odds Are”.   The mentees are put into clusters of 6-8 of them so that they can have more intimate conversations that would be difficult to have in an open forum of over forty people. This has been what I found to be the most valuable part of GEM because I have seen mentees take ideas from other chapters, change them into a way that would benefit their own chapter, and implement it _DSC0211with enormous amounts of success.

It seemed at times that the GEMs forgot they were at a camp an hour from Lehigh on a Friday because they were all enjoying their time there. I know for certain that very many long-lasting friendships were established at that retreat, and I’m excited to see how well the mentees work together moving forward. I know the retreat was but a small sample size of what to expect; however, it was all I needed to be sure that these GEMs will continue to surprise everyone with their potential to have an impact coming back to Lehigh from their 24 hours away in the Poconos and that they will continue to make change well into the future.

I believe it’s safe to say that the retreat was very suc  cessful and that it will help lead to great GEM sessions in which the mentees will learn a lot about themselves and others and participate in some rather crucial and though-provoking dialogue. The retreat really pumped me up for the rest of the semester, and I’m ready to do whatever I can to help these mentees become outstanding leaders not only within their chapters, but also within the Greek community and Lehigh as a whole.

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Welcome to the new GEM 2014 cohort!

GEM 2014

The Greek Emerging Leaders (GEM) program is excited to welcome 35 new mentees from 21 different chapters at Lehigh University.  We look forward to working with these students as they further develop their leadership skills and explore how they will create positive change in their chapters and the Greek community. We celebrated their induction into the GEM program this past Tuesday, April 15 and will begin working together in August throughout the fall semester.

Please congratulate the following 2014 GEM Mentees!

Audrey Baer
Emily Beaman
Kevin Boorman
Laura Chan
Dakota DiMattio
Sean Donohue
Kallyse Duddlesten
Brian Duddy
Andrew Freedman
Cassandra Gakos
Ashley Goldschmid
Brooke Goldsmith
Jacy Herman
Elias Hess
Daniel Izzo
William Kavanagh
Nathan Keim
Karen Konkoly
Randall Lawson
Brian Lewis
Anthony Lonero
Tyler Martin
Ian McDonald
Matthew McKay
Megan McMichael
James Michal
Jacob Nelson
Zachary Neumann
Andrew Parola
Caio Simao
Allison Starer
William Sullebarger
Adam Svetec
Guerric Vornle von Haagenfels
Katherine Woodward

Check out some photos from our Mentee Induction Celebration at Revolutions!

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From Apprehension to Reflection ~ My LeaderShape Story by: Paul Skersis

When I first thought about attending LeaderShape, I admit I was apprehensive about the program. The only reason I wanted to go was to be “the kid who went to LeaderShape.” That way at house elections the next year I could say “I went to LeaderShape”. I was certain that I was going to go for 6 days, be bored, but then I could say, “I went to LeaderShape and you didn’t.” But LeaderShape was something completely different. From the very first day, I realized that I was in for an experience unlike anything I had ever done. After a twenty-hour drive, I came to grips with the fact that I was 700 miles away from home, surrounded by people I had never met or spoken to before, and I wasn’t going to be leaving for 6 days. My heart sank.

If I was attending any other program, this is when the real boredom would have started. Under different circumstances, after mandatory activities I would’ve retreated to my room and waited for the next day. What LeaderShape did was completely different.  The lessons of the day and the group exercises taught me to step out of my comfort zone. I decided not to hide away, but to hang out in a common area. And what I saw surprised me. Every other person attending had the same idea. That night, our groups came together, and we talked together. We didn’t share our stories or our opinions on the learning session of the day because we were forced to by the program, but because of the sense that we had all come to here to do something different. The first step of that process was to leave our comfort zones behind.

The rest of the week was just like this. As we learned more about each other, we became more and more comfortable sharing with one another. And as we learned more about ourselves, we became better at refining our own behaviors to better communicate with each other. For example, during one of our sessions about communications, I learned that I was a dominant personality type. So, that night when talking to others, I decided to pull back during group conversations, and I noticed that other people would fill in the gap I had made. I realized that the lessons we were learning during the program where not just pointless exercises or thought experiments: they were real. They had applications in the world outside of my fraternity, outside of Greek life, outside of the stereotypical “leader” positions.

The program made me realize so much about myself and how I deal and communicate with others. That is a critical part of the LeaderShape experience. It is not about teaching you new tricks or tips on how to be a better leader. LeaderShape is more about getting you to realize your own strengths and weaknesses as a person. It has changed how I act day to day, in every aspect in my life. I’m more aware of how people perceive me and how I perceive other people. I can better tell why people react the way they do, and I really understand why I react the way I do to others and how my actions may be perceived by others.

I really can not recommend LeaderShape enough to you. It’s not just for Greeks, or non-greeks. It’s not just for geniuses. It’s not just for charismatic people. It’s not even just for people in leadership positions. If you want to learn about yourself, to really learn how you can change to be better in your life, then LeaderShape is just for you.

My LeaderShape Experience by: Isabelle Dalzon

During my time at LeaderShape, I met wonderful people. It was definitely an experience that I would love for everyone to have to opportunity to participate in.  Going to LeaderShape gave me the chance to meet, and build friendships with people not only the United States, but also other countries such as Haiti and Ghana.

            At first, when we were first discussing our visions and what we were passionate about, I was nervous and intimidated. But as the six days went on, I became content with what I came up with as my vision.  Being at this retreat was a wonderful experience because it put me in a positive setting where other people all had different visions, but the end goal of each of our visions was to make the world a better place. During the program, I learned so much about myself, my values, my ambitions, and my strengths and weaknesses; but from learning all this, it helped to develop me more as a person

            My favorite part of participating had to be the family clusters. In each family cluster, everyone had the opportunity to be 100% genuine and express who they really were. To me, the family clusters served as a core support system for everyone’s visions. Honestly, I didn’t think it was possible for me to get so close to a group of people in such a short amount of time. Every single person in each family cluster brought a special gift to the group, which made it unique. It was amazing to see each person be so proud and so excited to be a part of their family cluster throughout the retreat.

            If I had the chance to go to Leadershape again, I would take up the opportunity in a heartbeat, because there was so much to learn and experience. I am so thankful that I had the chance to meet the people, and to have developed a vision that I hope to make a reality in the near future.ImageImageImage

The Pillow Room by: Rose Tatarsky ’16

We covered the entire room with pillows. It wasn’t a big room, but still, this was a lot of pillows. I had just met all of these people a few nights before, but in that time we had bonded so completely, from working in family clusters together, from sharing and forming our visions, from just plain goofing off. We talked about everything: the difficulties we’d faced, our greatest accomplishments, explorations and adventures; there was so much we shared as we cuddled together, a huge amount of people in a small room filled with pillows.

I have never been more impressed with people my own age than the people I have met at Leadershape. People are sent to these programs from all over the United States, from community colleges, from public universities, from smaller private universities like Lehigh, and so we have a plethora of opinions, world views, and stories. The week was focused on discovering our leadership strengths and how we could apply them. We also learned quite a bit about our weaknesses from simulations, and through first-hand experience of what could make a group fall apart. But we learned from each other, here people were open to listen to new ideas, and so as we figured out exactly who we were, we learned how we could work most effectively and happily with others. 

We created an environment built on intelligence and honesty, and so we worked together to develop our visions of the future. Martin Luther King Jr. wanted to see a world where his children were judged by their character, not the color of their skin. We all have visions like these, whether it’s about a world without war, without garbage, with a greater inclusion and emphasis on diversity; we began to form our plan, our “blueprint,” for what we want to see the future as. With this, we formed bonds that guaranteed that we would always be pushing the people we met here to complete their goals, one step at a time.

My family cluster has a Groupme, where we send leadership updates, and we have a challenge going to complete 13 acts of kindness before October 14th. We’re still there for each other, even though we all live in different places across the U.S. I recently reconnected with two of them, one from California and one from Chicago, and we all met up in Milwaukee to chat and muse and dance around the city. I am truly impressed with the friendships I’ve found. This program is something special.

And I want to help other people find this. I am excited to be part of the Leadershape Day 7 program here at Lehigh, where the week of May 11th Lehigh will be having its very first Leadershape conference. I am currently seeking people who are interested in this same growth as I experienced, this growth with not only recognizing my vision, but forming life-long, inspiring friends. You never know who you’re going to meet here, and who knows, maybe you’ll form your own pillow room cuddle sesh to spend all night talking about ambitions and schemes. We all have ideas, and Leadershape helps us develop them as well as our view of ourselves and others.
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My Time at LeaderShape by: Maggie Boyle ’15

Throughout high school and college I’ve been on a few leadership conferences. Some were a week long, some a weekend, and some just day long retreats at school. Not one of them compares to LeaderShape.

This summer I was fortunate enough to be sent to Champaign, Illinois for a national session of the LeaderShape Institute by Lehigh’s Office of Student Leadership Development. When we first landed in Champaign and started driving towards the conference center though, fortunate  was not exactly the description that was running through my head. The airport was about as big as Linderman, all that was around were corn fields, and in general everything was just, well, flat. None of that mattered once the conference started though. I almost don’t even want to call it a conference though; when I think of conference I think of rooms without windows, business casual, and overall BORING. But boring is the last thing I would ever use to describe LeaderShape.

Anyways, once the journey of that week kicked off, I knew this was going to be something different than anything I have ever experienced before. I don’t really know if it’s fully possible to describe LeaderShape in the way it deserves to be described, but I’m going to give it a shot.

Everything is different at LeaderShape. People are different. Conversations are different. You become different.

In one week I met a group of 60 people with such unique experiences, passions, and journeys that all meshed together. There were people from every corner of the country and students that ranged from age 18 all the way up to about 45. Every personal perspective that you could think of was represented. Throughout the week we met as one large group and also in family clusters of about 12 people to learn and discuss things such as what our values and passions are, what our vision for the world was, and how to be an overall inclusive leader. With these topics being the theme for the weekend, we couldn’t help but get to know strangers in such an intimate way in such a short period of time.

Never before have I sat down for lunch and have the person next to me ask me what are you passionate about? EvImageery single conversation I had for the whole week was in depth and made me think. I shared more about myself to strangers than I have with some friends I’ve had for years and I learned more from individual stories and experiences that week than ever before.

At the end of the week I had friends that I may never physically see again but that I know 20 years from now will still call to check in. I created a vision of how I would want the world to be and actually am having the opportunity to start to execute it at Lehigh. Most importantly, I brought with me a sense of confidence in living out my values and the ability to share my passions with the world that I hope one day you can experience too.

I AM LEADERSHAPE by: Guylendy Dormevil ’16

I AM Leadershape

 

This past summer I spent my time in Champaign, Illinois. Probably a place you’ve never heard of because I sure never knew of the place before I was asked to attend LeaderShape. In Illinois I attended a program obviously called LeaderShape. It’s a week long retreat that I thought would just teach you how to be a leader but it taught me so much more.

Over the course of 5 days I learned about who I was, what I valued, and what I wanted for myself and how to get there. We didn’t have typical conversations during this retreat either. We were forced to dig deeper and to really think. We needed to be able to explain our reasoning. We were told to ponder on the present and even more to plan for the future. I was given hope and courage. After 5 1/2 short days I feel like I am ready for anything life throws at me. I was given so much confidence and insight on life. I know as long as I am confident in myself and stick to my values no one can discourage me and I can do absolutely anything I set my mind to. Even more I learned I can make my passion into my career and now I know exactly how to achieve this all. I can make my vision REALITY.

Now the trip and experience wouldn’t be the same without the group of people I met. I was put into a family cluster group that in less that 24hours I felt like they were family. We all opened and just accepted each other. We had many many laughs, and a few tears (but only when it was time to separate at the end of the week). My family cluster group truly helped me shape my vision and provided the support I needed. Besides my family cluster, we had the large community group. Honestly, I have never met a more wonderful group of people. Everyone was so unique, caring, and genuine. I truly wish that the world was filled with loving people like the ones I met. They’re were a few people I met that dramatically affected my experience too. Those few people inspired me and made me feel like I can accomplish anything and really make a difference on my school’s campus. I also met some people I hope i’m friends with for a lifetime. They were truly some great people.

This trip changed my life for the better and I am extremely grateful that my school sent me on this trip. I thank God I was given the opportunity to go and that everything went well since I was also traveling by myself for the first time. I couldn’t ask for a better way to basically end my summer. Now with everything I learned I am so ready to go back to school and do great things.

Summing this all up, it really only takes one sentence: I AM LEADERSHAPE.

oh and btw if anyone wants to experience this amazing week during a summer and wants to have their school sponsor them because it is expensive, visit http://www.leadershape.org

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