Let me get something off my chest before I answer the questions. “Leaders” and “Leadership” are practically dead terms. In the common usage of the terms they have been rendered completely meaningless. Not too long ago, “a leader” was someone who fit the merriam-webster definition quite accurately: a person who leads. In our society, it held a very “macho” and masculine connotation (which was bad and needed to be rooted out). After a while, the emphasis was no longer on being a leader, but on being a follower, and acknowledging when to be a follower. People would say, it’s okay to be a follower now and again. But now we are where we are today. And we have things like “leadership roles”, “leadership experience”, or even “leadership classes/seminars”. We are back at that old garbage notion that you must/strive to be a leader at all times, whenever necessary! This is what jobs look for! An entry level job wants leadership experience in that field. Well then, riddle me this Batman, how does one acquire such a thing if one can’t even gain entry into the field without it?? But don’t worry though, kids can be line leaders in first grade, or absence leaders in second grade, and get the experience constantly that way.
All I am saying is that the constant emphasis on leadership in our society is nonsensical. We don’t need to be leaders all the time. And we certainly don’t have to be endlessly striving to put our necks out to get into positions of leadership so we can “prove ourselves” effective candidates, great interns, or even good bonners. Do what you want; make a difference your way.
But needless to say, to answer the prompt: My supervisors have pushed me to take more initiative. They have pushed me towards what I can accomplish, thus allowing me to strive towards the best I can be.
Someone who has helped me grow at TRIP is our site supervisor, Christine Nealon. She is always checking in to make sure that I have something to do and in this way helps keep me accountable. She does not micromanage every activity that I do, but only asks that I do a task once and entrusts me to complete it thoroughly and completely on my own. Giving me some of the reigns has prompted me to put my best foot forward so as make her confident in her decision to let me work independently.
Who is someone at your Site that has helped you grow to be a leader?
How did that person help you?
What ways does this person help you keep yourself accountable at your site?
Brenna has helped me to be a leader at my site by always being willing to clarify issues when I ask her without there being any fear of repercussions for not knowing. Brenna is one of my many bosses at Capital roots, and is very relaxed when she helps me out. She helps keep me accountable by telling me anything I do wrong, and then showing me the correct way to do it.
At Castle Island, my site supervisor, Diane, has always been someone that is helping me to improve my leadership skills. I was the first Bonner to be placed at Castle Island as a freshman, so I was automatically put in a position where I was forced to lead. After taking some time to explain the Bonner Program and what a Bonner’s role should be, Diane took my site placement a ran with it. Now, we have a full team of Bonners at Castle Island and I am so proud to have witnessed all of the growth the Bonner program has helped Castle Island achieve. Diane is an amazing role model because she had the dream of founding an independent, culturally inclusive, Montessori school and only continues to widen Castle Island’s horizons.
I am currently without a site but when I was at ALH the social worker, Tara Smades definitely was someone who helped me grow as a leader and person. She always gave of her time genuinely and authentically even if she truly didn’t have time to spend with a student- she did it anyway. She would give up her free time in order to make time. She displayed to me how you can lead and still remain relevant and in-tune with those of whom she served. She did her job very well and she displayed that giving is more than a position it is a way of being and connecting.
Someone at my site that has helped me grow to become a better leader is Crystal, my site supervisor. Crystal is an inspiring leader who has taught me so much about perseverance, goal-setting, and commitment. Crystal helps keep me accountable by working to set goals and accomplish meaningful tasks at CMA. Her dedication to the organization inspires me to work hard and help contribute to CMA’s mission.
I am the only person at my site so I have found leadership in my site Supervisor Theresa! She is so patient and kind which had allowed me to grow quickly. She holds me accountable which I appreciate while still giving me flexibility to create new projects and ask questions. A large part of my role as a Bonner at RISSE was to assess whether or not RISSE could take on Bonner for a full four years and I without a doubt believe they can. There are endless things to be done at RISSE and they can a level of expertise I have never seen. All of these things combined have allowed me to be a leader sat my site.
The kids I work with at my site have helped me grow to be a leader. Because I am “in charge” of them, I have to stay on my toes with them. This helps me stay organized and to also make sure I can give them informed guidance. I know that in order to earn their trust and a positive relationship with them that I need to balance being a form of authority and a friend.
My supervisor at my SWRK internship has helped me become a leader. Ashley pushes me out of my comfort zone and allows me to take on responsibilities at my field placement. Ashley and I have 1:1 weekly to discuss the work I do at the youth shelter and if there is anything I can improve upon.
My site leader has definitely helped me grow to be a leader by giving me more responsibilities regarding our partnership with Troy Prep and creating a writing center there. She has given me more responsibilities like corresponding with our connect at troy prep. As well as researching more of the uncommon school system. My site leader has helped keep me accountable by arranging multiple meetings with me as well as checking in regularly with things concerning the work at troy prep.
During my time at Capital Roots so far, I have worked most with Becky, who has been my main supervisor. I have not been given many independent tasks so far, but I am beginning to work on a new project of my own. When I started the project, she asked for my input on what I thought would be the best way to organize and plan a specific part of the project. I was able to take charge of this part and give my opinions on what I thought would be best. I am planning to continue with this project soon. Becky helps to keep me accountable because she is really good about checking in on my progress on the tasks I am given. She is very approachable too, so I feel very comfortable going to her with any questions I may have. I am hoping to be given more projects in the future that I can share my own thoughts and creativity.
I would say the PA team through the years has encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone and become the leader I am today. Having others there as a constant support both as my peers and mentors allowed me the space to become more confident and passionate about the work that I do.
One person at my site that has helped me grow as a leader is my site Supervisor David Graham. Early on at CJOC, I was pushed to take on larger roles and to actively participate in leading meetings and programs. For instance, early on into my freshman year, I was facilitating misdemeanor Community Accountability Board (CAB) meetings, where defendants met with members of the board. In addition, David has pushed me to involve myself with helping out during different workshops, organizing events, or taking on larger roles, such as facilitating Felony CAB meetings. In taking on larger roles, I feel this keeps me accountable to myself to grow as a leader, in getting more directly involved in the work I’m doing, and generally becoming “comfortable with the uncomfortable”. I feel that to grow as a leader, we need to step outside our comfort zone.
My supervision Caitlin at TRIP has been a great leader and mentor for me. She makes me feel very comfortable at TRIP and working with my team. She gives me helpful advice and criticism with my work here at TRIP. She is a good leader because she listens to me opinion and has a structured schedule for everyone . I am very happy to have her as a mentor because I finally feel that my interests are being satisfied with starting or being more involved with TRIP.
Despite being fairly new to Sanctuary for Independent Media, I have grown accustomed to the strong leaders that are the essence of what allows the site to run. One of those people that has helped me transition into a new type of leadership is Diarra who is in charge of interns. She is a perfect role-model for effective communication of all kinds, especially in a place where there is so much going on and multiple people need to be kept in the loop in their department. She has helped me set up a timely schedule that will help me to manage my time spent on the event pages I am working on posting along with being a part of the radio show by learning the ropes. This keeps me accountable because I have to finish my tasks for the day in a timely manner. It gives me the extra support I need.
At my site, Ms. Frances has helped me become a leader. She gives me the space to forage my own path at my site but also works with me to best aim my works to do the most good. Having check ins and conversations with her about projects helps keep me on task and accountable for my work. She also helps me decide on new tasks to undertake and helps figure out what is a realistic goal and timeline.
My site supervisor, Sonya has definitely helped me grow as a leader. At the beginning of this year Sonya expressed a need for more programing at the Boys and Girls Club. She was extremely open-minded to my ideas and encouraged me to choose a topic that I was passionate about. With her encouragement I was able to start a Spanish program! Whenever I need new supplies, Sonya is always willing to go to the store and pick up the materials needed. Without Sonya’s push for new programming and her support throughout the process of developing and facilitating, I wouldn’t have been able to create a program. Finally, at the beginning of each week, Sonya checks in with me and makes sure that I have the supplies needed for my Spanish Program. This helps me keep myself accountable because each week I have to know what activities I will be supervising and what materials I will need. In addition, Sonya asks that I prepare a general schedule that outlines what topics I will be covering and the supplies needed for each week. This also helps me keep myself accountable!
Someone at my site that has helped me grow as a leader is my site supervisor, Candace. She tackles so many thing at once, and is a role model to her many students. What she does is inspiring and it pushes me to be a better leader. This person helps me keep myself accountable at my site by providing us a space to run our meetings. In addition to this, she also checks up on us every now and again to see how we are doing.
Many people at my site help me grow as a leader but in particular Tammy helps me most. Tammy has helped me grow as a leader and as a person. Tammy assigns me projects and leads me in the right direction in order to complete the assignments. People rely on the work that Tammy does and people rely on the work that I do. So to be accurate and to do all my projects to the best of my ability has helped made me feel more responsible for the work I do.
She helps me all the time with starting new projects and assisting me when I need help doing something new.
She helps me keep myself accountable at my site because before I leave service I always talk to her about everything I’ve accomplished and if I didn’t finish something I think of exactly how to go about doing it the next time I’m at my site.
When I was at Habitat, my work was mostly independent and required a lot of self-accountability, but Melissa, my site supervisor, definitely helped me to refine these skills. Melissa gave me even more independence in my work to develop projects as I see fit and constantly supported me when I had questions or issues in my work. She allowed me to work on my own schedule but met with me about twice a week to check my progress. I would love to continue to work with supervisors that push me out of my comfort zone in the future because it allowed me to grow both as a Bonner and a leader.
Crystal and Kendall both have helped me become a leader, but less in the sense of leading other but leading myself. I struggle with organization and sometimes even task completion when things get really hard but because they expect so much from me I just have to do it and do it right. They have forced me to push past what I thought I would need to do at CMA as a leader and expanded the idea of what a leader is for me in the short time I’ve been there.
This semester I unfortunately do not have a site so I do not have a site team or leader. I have been working collaboratively with Katie and DK to compete my capstone. So technically you can say that the three of us are our own team. Some of the problems we face is when there is a lack of communication. I’ll follow one task and then find out it was supposed to be done differently which can be frustrating. Since our team is so little when there are issues it is easier for us to come to a solution. Both Katie and Dr.Kassel inspire me to be a leader because they have given me the leadway to be the captain of my capstone but at the same time they hold me accountable to my work and provide me with suggestions whenever I’m stuck. We make a good little trio and I am very grateful to my powerful all-female squad.
Someone at my site who has helped me grow as a leader is Anne. She has helped me learn how to speak up and communicate more with others, instead of handling everything on my own. She also is very understanding and reliable and is usually there whenever I seek assistance or guidance. A few ways she keeps me accountable is to make sure I speak up and participate in the Writing 240 class, logging my tutor observations on a document on a weekly basis, and updating my annotated bibliography document.
I have always preferred being a leader over a follower so it has never been hard for me to try and take the role as a leader. The current project I am working on now makes me have to be accountable and act as a leader. I am the only bonner on this project and one of the few on the project overall. If I were to slack on the project it would become very apparent right away. I can attribute this to the food assessment coordinator, Marisa, for giving me the project to work on.
I would say Standford has helped me a lot in my growth within my site. He has taught me ropes of how to handle the student that being activities or when it’s time to sit back and have the kids think about their actions. To me he has been a person that I can talk to about my personal life and someone that is interested in my well being. As for keeping me accountable he makes sure that I’m always following with new ideas on how to educate the kids through different activities.
Throughout my four years I’ve had tons of people who have helped me grow as a leader, Billy was with me through it all from Trailblazers to PA and he is one of my biggest role models, but the entire PA team has always pushed me to do my best and have helped me grow as a leader. However, the person who has really helped me the most has been Katie.
Even though we had a bit of a rocky start during the Trailblazers era, Katie has become the person that pushes me the hardest and supports me the most. Without Katie’s help there is no way that I would have been able to graduate on time and still do all of the amazing things I have been able to. I know I can always count on Katie for great advice, and I really value her opinion.
Katie is also great at holding me accountable because she tells me what I need to hear, even when I don’t want to hear it. She always keeps me focused and on track.
Someone at my site has really helped me in my journey at BGCA is Jimmy. Before I went abroad Jimmy really helped support me with my Drama Matters program and gave me the confidence I needed to ran this program. When I got back from abroad Jimmy trusted me to work with him and the VISTA to make Red White and Chocolate run smoothly. Jimmy also takes the time to ask me how I am doing with school and at BGCA. He also pushes me to do more with the kids and I am really appreciative to have someone like Jimmy at BGCA.
At School 2, our site supervisor Candace has really helped me become a leader. From the moment I started at School 2, she has always been there to answer our questions and help make our service everything we want it to be. She has allowed us to go beyond Girl Scouts and explore everything else the school has to offer. Everytime we go to School 2 we check in with Candace and see if there is anything she needs from us and she does the same. We constantly communicate and keep each other updated. She also comes and sits in on our meetings to make sure we are doing our jobs as well as making sure the girls are behaving. Candace has allowed me to take advantage of every resource the school has and I could not be more grateful.
Someone at my site that has pushed me to limits to give out the best in me is my site team supervisor, Ta-Sean. We always bump heads and disagree on many things but at the end of the day, his problem solving skills and ability to find a better-for-all solution outshines and defines him as the strong and good leader he is. This has been rubbed on me on my professional and personal life and for that I am very thankful.
During my time at TRIP, Christine helped me develop within my site. Its always been her view as Executive Directors to help students grow during their internships. Her mission is to give students as many opportunities as possible, and help them grow. I was offered many opportunities to step up and lead projects, especially with the controller Noah. Having this helped me grow in my skill set, and grant me more opportunities.
At my site, two people have helped me to grow as a leader and as a person in general. First, Sister Betsy encourages me to create projects in order to make sustainable change at the shelter and she is a constant source of support whenever needed. Miss Frances is also a constant source of support and checks in with me on and after rough days. Both of these incredible supervisors have helped me become more confident in my role. They help to keep me accountable by helping to create new projects.
When I became a PA last year I think the current PA’s really helped me grow into a leader and understand the PA role. They all supported me and we worked as a team to make sure that our site/ the program was running smoothly. Jordan and Billy (even though we started as PA’s together) both mentored me in this role. Once recruitment started Kelly and I started working more together and I was able to learn so much from her. At first, I was very nervous to do interviews but she would walk me through it and the first few we did together. Once the recruitment season was over, I had the questions memorized because of how many we did to recruit such a great class!
This year, it’s definitely been weird being a senior and being a senior PA. I have been trying to do less and give Jamie and Draya more responsibility since I’ll be leaving soon, but its also been hard because I am at the more house for more hours this semester. I also want to make sure I am giving them as much support as they need because they will be the senior PA’s next and will be training the new PA’s. That being said, they both have grown so much and I cannot wait to watch them take on that role because I know they will be great!
Finally, Tom and Emerald (my fellow senior PA’s 🙁 ) “welcomed” me on to the team as a junior last year and I couldn’t be more grateful for all their support. They both helped to show me the ropes of being a PA and the ins and outs of the more house. We had definitely had our fair share of stressful and fun moments at the more house. I am sad that the three of us will be leaving but I know that we are leaving the program in the best hands possible, Katie, Jamie, Draya and the future PA’s.
I’m so glad you joined the PA team Alyssa! You’re a great addition to the team, and a great role model for the rest of the team and program!
Thanks for being a constant support for me! It’s going to be weird next year without you and the rest of the senior PA’s!
At TRIP, we are lucky to work with many staff members who are always helping grow our strengths. I have been fortunate enough to work with Karisa these last three years and she has taught me so much! One of the things she has taught me is how capable I am. She allows me to do a lot of work independently and she even has me take charge on things. For example, in the past when we’ve done inspections she will have me explain everything and answer their questions. Not only has she helped me grow at TRIP, but she has also helped me grow as a person. By working with Karisa, I have become more confident in myself and my abilities. She keeps me accountable by staying on task, but also knowing when we need to take a break or work on something different.
The individual at my site, TRIP, that comes to mind after reading this question in Noah Baum, the comptroller/financial analyst running the accounting division. Noah has been at TRIP for some time now working with the Bonners and with the rest of the staff. He has become very accustom to the procedures and roles. He is even considered an administrator.
Right from the start I noticed that Noah really cared about me and listened to me as a person, student and volunteer all together. He strived to create a relationship between us. This made me feel well respected and truly a part of the team at the office, not just someone who donates a handful of hours a week.
Noah keeps me accountable in a variety of ways, but the main way is definitely by setting the standards high for me. Due to what I accomplish outside of the office and what he has seen me accomplish in the office, he knows that I am capable of much. Although this is flattering, he refuses to let me let myself slack off. He purposely assigns me tasks that will challenge me and teach me. Luckily he doesn’t throw me out there though, he makes sure that I am aware I can always access him for assistance and advice.
At Castle Island, the site supervisor Diane has had the biggest influence on my development as a leader. Since our nonprofit school is so small, I have been able to have the unique experience of seeing how a nonprofit organization is run on a day-to-day basis. Getting to work directly with Diane, the founder of the school, has helped me to develop a greater understanding of Montessori education and nonprofit work.
Diane helps me by providing insight on how I can improve my work in outreach for the school. She holds me accountable by checking on my progress and holding meetings with me that lay out a plan for our future work. Recently, we developed a schedule for the Spring that includes creating a large-scale outreach program that will attract the attention of potential families and investors to our school. I am very appreciative that Diane has given me such great opportunities to grow as a leader!
As a Program Associate, the Bonners in our program are who have pushed me to become a leader. I have numerous responsibilities that the Bonners trust me with in order to help ensure the program runs effectively. My mentees count on me to set up meetings, to reach out, and to be a reliable person to come to in times of need which holds me accountable to that role. I am also held accountable by our training schedule, as if I am tasked with facilitating the training cannot run without my preparation. My team and supervisor also hold me accountable in our weekly meetings and have helped me grow through more than just constructive criticism, but in help finding solutions as to what works best for me and my style of work and leadership.
Sr. Betsy has been my biggest supporter at my site. She has given me the opportunity to help in all real projects for Catholic Charities. She always makes sure I am being challenges, while also learning the whole time. Without Sr. Betsy, I might not have had the experience that I have now. I have gained plenty of skills, and improved in several ways because of her. She helps keep me accountable by always meeting with at least once a week, checking up on me through text/email, and setting deadlines for projects. Overall, Sr. Betsy has allowed me to grow and learn more about everything. I am more than grateful to her for everything that she has done for me.
My first day at Capital Roots, I met two people who have really helped me to grow as a leader; Bekah and Hannah. They are both strong young women who are always there for me if I need them, both personally and professionally. They have given me two great examples of the kind of person and professional that I want to be. They are always willing to give me advice or constructive criticism in order to help me grow and develop as a leader. Their help as a part of my journey is invaluable. They always make sure that I am comfortable with the tasks being asked of me, and the continuously check in to make sure that I am on track while also allowing me to experience some autonomy in my work. Though Bekah has moved on to another job, I still consider both of them to be mentors and friends.
Someone at my Site that has helped me grow as a leader is my old supervisor Ms Cintron. When I switched over to Green Tech, she was able to help me learn the staff and get to know the students and how they operate better when it comes to senior year activities. She was also able to show me how constructive criticism looks like and how to use the resources around me properly. She was also able to help me speak out when something was not looking the right way and find some positive feedback or advice when i went to state something. She has helped me keep accountable by checking in with me and also checking in about my mental health.
Supervisors that get us as people are so important in our growth. Glad you got to develop this kind of relationship with someone at your site.
My site supervisor Sonya has helped me grow as a leader. I think as of right now I still need some more growing to do, but I came a long way from my first day at The Boys and Girls Club. Sonya has helped me make the transition easier for me. She also allows me to take some leadership positions in order to help me become confident. Sonya holds me accountable for the children and their activities. This allows me to become more independent at my site. I think that having Sonya as a supervisor is going to continue to make me a better counselor for the kids and help me to become more comfortable with having more leadership positions
My site supervisor, Mrs. Hughes, has helped me grow as a leader in my position at Green Tech. Working with high school students and mainly seniors who are only a year younger than I am can pose a challenge when it comes to having a leadership position. Mrs. Hughes has helped me transition into a mentor and a confidant for the students, rather than someone who they see as a peer. She helps keep me accountable by always providing me with tasks and opportunities to deepen my involvement at the school.
My supervisor Becky has helped me to grow as a leader both at my site and in general. She has done this by encouraging me to make independent decisions regarding my role at Capital Roots. She always asks for my input and opinions rather than simply assigning me to a task. She leaves it to me to take initiative and come up with ways in which my time at Capital Roots can be more beneficial for both me and the site. She keeps me accountable by having weekly check-ins with me to monitor my progress on my larger project, but she leaves it to me to work at my own pace and decide how I want to go about completing the the project. Becky’s role at my site has helped me to develop leadership characteristics that I can use both at my site and in other areas of my life.
Someone who really taught me to be a leader at my site was my former site team leader Gabby. Gabby was such an fantastic leader who taught me so much about not only how to me to run Girl Scouts but she also taught me how to be a good Bonner. Gabby was a great role model and a friend. Gabby did a great job of showing me how to handle responsibility but also taught me when it was time to step back and when it was time to say no. I only got to work with Gabby for a semester but she was such a good leader that even 2 years later I still think of her as one of my biggest Bonner role models.
Sometimes the Bonners that come before us are our best mentors. This is awesome!
Someone who has helped me to grow as a leader is Diane, my site supervisor. From my first day at Unity House to now she has always pushed me to new ideas and projects that I never imagined myself doing. Although this can be overwhelming at times, I am grateful for her persistence in the long run. Diane has also helped me to become a more efficient leader in how I prepare and plan out meetings, events, and projects in order to be successful. She herself is constantly altering her styles of work to become increasingly efficient, many of these tools I have been able to apply through her example.Diane holds me accountable by holding herself to an even a higher standard than she holds me to. This inadvertently holds me accountable as I am more willing to do my best work for a supervisor who is constantly working hard as well. Furthermore, Alexis aids me to be a leader by encouraging me to advocate for myself when I am having a problem at my site, and is always supporting me when it comes to projects and prepping for events such as the pop up shop. She holds me accountable by calling me out when I am procrastinating or asks how she can help when she sees that I am overwhelmed by a project or task.
Someone at my Site that has helped me grow to be a leader is Diane, my Site Supervisor. She is constantly pushing me to think of new ideas and work on projects that will benefit the school. She holds me accountable by constantly checking in with each other about progress and sending emails if new information is available when we are not together. For example, when I worked on the Health and Safety Protocol, she allowed me to be autonomous and trusted me to be productive in completing it. Then, once it was finished, we both extensively went over the details and improved it.
Diane is a great site supervisor. Go Castle Island!
Someone at my site that has helped me grow into a leader is my supervisor Ms. Campbell. Ms. Campbell is constantly affording me opportunities to take on projects and hold leadership roles. She manages to allow me these opportunities while still being there to support me through any questions I may have. I am held accountable at my site through an expectation of me producing. I am expected to have the task completed by the deadline and have a quality product. I’m sure if I did not meet expectations I would be given less responsibility. The ability to take point on projects demonstrates the trust my site has put in me. I have been able to see this attitude reflected through all the Bonners at my site. We are able to take point on tasks and refer to our site for questions and support.
Someone at my site that has helped me grow to be a leader is one of my supervisors, Amy. She has helped me through teaching me how to manage the food pantry and community meal programs so that I can successfully serve in these areas on my own and lead volunteers in their roles. She has also tasked me with different assignments to help improve sustainability for our programs. Through this, I am held responsible to get the work done properly and use my skills to make a meaningful impact. Amy helps to keep me accountable at my site as I must always check in with her after first fulfilling my duties in the development office. This keeps me on task because I have to ensure that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing and that I am doing it effectively. My site team (Abby) has also served to help me grow as a leader. She has pushed me to advocate for myself within my site and step up to assist with different tasks throughout the office. I like to think that we hold one another accountable for the work that we do here together, and also count on each other to act as a support system to fall back on when needed.
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