Up until this stage in my life I have struggled with knowing what I want to do for a career and what kind of person I want to become. Counselors and friends would try to help me by figuring out what my passion is or what my favorite hobbies are. Most people would say their passion is music or sports but I never completely identified with one passion. I started to notice a reoccurring pattern that almost everything I worked for was to benefit someone else. I came to the conclusion that people are my passion and if I could help improve the happiness and quality of life of others my life would have a purpose.

Learning about who I am as an individual and as a leader has allowed me to determine what I want my personal legacy, contribution, and influence to be for my followers and society as a whole. That legacy is to serve others with the goal of improving their quality of life and inspire them to pursue their own happiness.

Honesty, optimism, and service. These values have guided my passion for people and my personal philosophy of influencing others for the greater good. Honesty is a huge part of who I am and what I expect from the people around me. I believe that in order to make an impact on someone’s life you have to develop a strong, healthy relationship first. In order to establish that relationship there must be trust and honesty. Another important factor of having the ability to improve someone else’s life is optimism. As a Special Events Director, I can’t influence my team members to be happy and positive if I’m constantly being negative. I have learned that my life is much more worthwhile when I wake up every day choosing to be optimistic and thankful, making the best out of every situation. Only then will I be able to influence others to be positive. Servant leadership is one of the most significant leadership concepts I have come to identify with. In every leadership role the ultimate goal is to accomplish a common vision, not the leader’s personal vision. It is my responsibility to work for and serve my followers. I have begun dedicating myself to serving others whether that’s volunteering for my community, stepping up as a leader in a group, or being a good role model/mentor/friend. Simple acts of kindness and service go a long way and my goal is to put a smile on someone’s face each day.

As I pursue my major in Recreation and Event Management I am even discovering that my personal philosophy fits perfectly with the philosophy of most professionals in the industry. Leisure and recreation professionals are in the “life satisfaction business”, their long-term goal is to improve the quality of life of whom they are serving. While at CMU I have had a few opportunities to serve on planning committees for different types of events. By helping to plan the Mount Pleasant Polar Plunge it was fascinating to see so many of CMU’s students and other community members come together and plunge for Special Olympics Michigan. That one event impacted hundreds of people’s lives including the athletes. Memories were made, contributions were given, and someone else’s life will benefit greatly from it.

The more I learn about servant leadership and find ways to apply it to my life the more I understand what kind of leader I am and how I can best use my leadership style to serve others. The experiences I’ve had through the LI have allowed me to see my potential as a servant leader. LAS in the D showed me how a once hurting community has transformed into a successful city because of the leaders that stood up and dedicated their service. As I continue this crazy college journey of mine I expect that I will serve my peers and community members as a leader, a friend, a mentor, and an event specialist for the goal of improving their quality of life. 

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