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Leadership Summit: Even leaders have mentors

By: Sloane Barlow

Honors College clubs at Michigan State range anywhere from helping recruit new Honors students to promoting diversity in the community. To lead these missions, each club has an executive board to plan out events, meetings, and activities. With a lot on their shoulders, these leaders have the help of the Honors College faculty and staff to mentor them in their leadership skills.  

Honors Leadership Summit  

On March 27, Student Affairs Graduate Assistant Kinsley McNulty and Assistant Dean Bess German served as these mentors for Honors College club e-boards at the Honors College bi-annual Leadership Summit. After starting with an ice cream social to catch-up and meet other clubs, McNulty helped the clubs dive into a self-evaluation. From there, the clubs discussed the challenges that they faced this semester, as well as the accomplishments that they were most proud of.  

Academic Scholars Program Advisory Council (ASPAC) concluded that the most consistent challenge was scheduling. “It was hard finding meeting times that work for everyone,” said Adam Slaby, e-board member. This was later discussed by McNulty in how part of being a club leader is taking the time to plan out the semester.  

“What do exam schedules look like? Do plans conflict with project deadlines?” McNulty said. “Make the time to reevaluate your club schedule. The best solution can be the most practical solution; just change times and dates.” 

On the other hand, ASPAC noted that the accomplishment they were most proud of was building a safe space to grow. “We accomplished strengthening the ASPAC community, trying to help students grow together,” said Francisco Hernandez, also an e-board member. 

 ‘Giving people space for both celebration and vulnerability’  

McNulty expanded on this idea of actively seeking the flourishing of a team. “Seek to understand everyone,” he said. “Even though I might not see the same thing as you, I should be actively trying to understand you.” 

A significant part of the mentoring process reflected on the recent shooting on MSU campus. “Ask yourself how you are doing and how your team is doing after something happens,” McNulty added. “It’s not always going to be normal. As a leader you must be the one to check-in when something unexpected happens.” 

He continued to explain the importance of giving people space for both celebration and vulnerability, and how it all starts with a simple question: How is everyone doing? This creates a space for people to share at their own leisure and to adjust differently from there.  

A final significant highlight was the importance of both asking and giving help. “Even in my own job interview for the Honors College, I mentioned that I don’t always ask for help. So, I appreciate it when someone checks in on me.” McNulty said with a laugh.  

To conclude the meeting, assistant dean Bess German touched on a few key points in looking forward as e-board members. “The most important thing is that you take care of yourself, and to finish strong mentally and academically,” she said. 

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