One of the major draws to Booth for me was its structured program that would allow me to work on my “soft” skills (or as Booth’s Leadership Development office calls them, “action” skills), like teamwork, public speaking, and leadership. The Leadership, Effectiveness And Development (LEAD) program at the beginning of my first year allowed me to do just that: I had a chance to study how my personality affects my leadership style, understand the default role I tend to play within a team, and practice giving a persuasive speech to my classmates.
These skills and insights were immensely valuable and came into play for me numerous times throughout my first year and my summer internship. So I decided that being a leadership facilitator in my second year would be a perfect way for me to “pay it forward,” while continuing to work on my own leadership skills.
Last winter, I applied to be a facilitator for the Kapnick Leadership Initiative. This program was started a few years ago to replicate Booth’s LEAD program at the UChicago Law School. Starting in Spring Quarter last year, I worked closely with 23 other facilitators (half from Booth and half from the Law School) to develop an engaging curriculum for the first year students. Along with my fellow facilitators, I closely studied various theories around effective communication skills and teamwork, and worked to distill the knowledge into classroom modules that would be beneficial for first year students. In addition, I worked one-on-one with a leadership development coach who helped me work through my own personal development as a leader. We also had a great time planning a Pirate-themed Leadership Orientation Retreat (LOR) for 200 incoming first year law students, complete with a low ropes course, trivia and “Amazing Race” competitions, and other fun activities.
Best of all, I got to teach the curriculum we worked on preparing all last Spring and this past August to the first year law students during orientation with my “squad” of three other facilitators (Go Minks!). Together we took 32 students through the Kapnick program, presenting the content and leading them through activities and discussions that (hopefully) allowed them to gain the same insights and skills that I developed during my own LEAD experience.
Kapnick also showcased for me an often overlooked attribute of Booth – the fact that it sits within the broader University of Chicago campus and Boothies have access to all that the university can offer. Sometimes it’s easy for us to get caught up in the “Booth Bubble.” Kapnick allowed me to get outside the four walls of the Harper Center and to make amazing new friends and connections “across the midway” at the Law School. In addition, it was a nice reminder for me to take a class at the Law School this year – there are several courses that align well with my interests in private equity and healthcare – and courses at other schools in the university count toward Booth graduation credits!
Having just completed delivering our Kapnick curriculum, I can honestly say that being a leadership development facilitator was one of the best experiences I’ve had at Booth so far. It allowed me to work on my personal development, meet new people outside of Booth, and “pay it forward” all the same time!