On Thursday, Sept. 15, the Centennial Center for Leadership (CCL) hosted its first Leadership Café, an event held on the second Thursday of every month that invites campus leaders to share their leadership path and experiences.
The next Leadership Café will be held on Thursday, Oct. 13 and will feature Instructor of Philosophy Rodman King. On Nov. 10, Professor of Economics Tom Drennen will give his perspective on leadership.
“We are interested in bringing a wide range of perspectives, experiences and voices from the Hobart and William Smith community in order to feature a spectrum of leadership insight,” explains Associate Director of CCL Amy Forbes. “The Cafe provides a forum for these leaders to share their stories and also talk shop about leadership techniques, practices and the decisions that they have encountered during their careers. They are meant to be small gathering so that students, staff and faculty have an opportunity to learn from one another.”
Speaking at the first Leadership Café, Head William Smith Soccer Coach Aliceann Wilber spoke of beginning her coaching career prior to Title IX, the legislation that requires schools to provide equal access to sports between women and men. Determined to prove herself within a male-dominated field, Wilber was candid about her early struggles and the lessons she learned. She spoke of her efforts to develop young leaders who have character. She then concluded by offering her thoughts on many of the issues that face college athletics today. For the future, Wilber is hopeful that the Colleges will develop more leaders who get off of the fence and stand behind values.
The event created a casual atmosphere that allowed for conversation between the audience and speaker. “This was a great opportunity to hear from a long-time leader on the campus in a very interactive setting,” says Associate Director of Admissions Suzanne Willard ’99. “Because of the informal setting and organization of the program, all of us interacted with Aliceann before, during and after the event. She was very accessible and interested in hearing our thoughts on leadership.”
Weston Traub ’14, a runner on the Hobart cross country team, agrees. “The atmosphere was conversational, and allowed for a relaxed night.”
Designed to be unrehearsed and uncensored, the Leadership Café is intended to teach the campus that leadership is not effortless or innate, but is, instead, a learning process worth examining. Head Hobart Hockey Coach Mark Taylor, who attended the event, commented on how the story of Wilber’s struggle could benefit students. “Aliceann’s message – ‘her story’ – is a great story for students, especially at the start of the academic year.”
Willard agreed with this sentiment, saying, “Leadership, and what it means to be a leader, is a constantly evolving topic. I truly believe that you need to be open to new thoughts and insights to be a good leader and this is one very interactive avenue to do this.”
For more dates and upcoming leaders coming to Leadership Cafe speakers, please check our website at www.hws.edu/leadership.