HWS Leadership Institute in the News – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
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HWS Leadership Institute in the News

The HWS Leadership Institute held its second annual conference on Saturday, hosting for the first time local high school students alongside HWS students. An article in the Finger Lakes Times quotes Associate Director of the Centennial Center for Leadership Amy Forbes, “It’s been really great to watch our students come back excited and then to have the high school students join them. I think we were hoping that they would create this really unique energy.”

Keynote speakers were Bill and Lisa Mathis, parents of Callan Mathis ’13. The article noted Bill Mathis told the students, “As I look out across this room, I see the promise of what is to be, and that is the promise that you are going to be leaders. We want to help you to be great leaders, because that is what this country needs, that is what this world needs.”

Lisa Mathis, the article explained, “then led them on an exercise of ‘understanding self,’ asking them to finish phrases like ‘I know I am good at … At school, someone I admire taught me … I regret …'”

The full article follows.


The Finger Lakes Times
“The Promise of What is to Be…”
High schoolers join HWS Leadership Institute for first time

Heather Swanson • January 16, 2012

GENEVA – For a high school student, walking into a college for the first time can be a little intimidating.

That’s why Hobart and William Smith Colleges students were immediately prepared to take their young peers under wing at this weekend’s Leadership Institute.

The Institute opened for its second annual conference Saturday, with this year marking the first time high school students were invited to participate.

The Institute brings participants together for a two-and-ahalf day professional conference experience, aiming to build leadership potential and enable students to lead lives of consequence.

Students from Geneva and DeSales high schools were scattered among the participants, hardly discernible from their slightly older counterparts.

“They are already integrated, because we have some wonderful home group leaders who are HWS students, who we asked to mix and mingle,” said Amy Forbes, associate director of the Colleges’ Centennial Center for Leadership. “Clearly they were a little bit nervous about walking into a college facility,” she said, but noted things were progressing well.

“It’s been really great to watch our students come back excited and then to have the high school students join them. I think we were hoping that they would create this really unique energy.”

That seemed to be the case, she added.

Keynote speakers Bill and Lisa Mathis welcomed the 80-some students Saturday afternoon. The former is a retired executive vice president of MasterCard Worldwide, the latter principal and executive coach at Parker Consulting LLC.

Their daughter is a William Smith junior currently studying in London.

“As I look out across this room, I see the promise of what is to be, and that is the promise that you are going to be leaders,” Bill Mathis told the students. “We want to help you to be great leaders, because that is what this country needs, that is what this world needs.”

Encouraging them to be committed leaders, rather than simply involved, he elicited surprised chuckles from the students when he compared those characteristics to breakfast foods.

“Whenever I think about the difference between involvement and commitment, I’m reminded of a ham and egg breakfast in that the chicken is involved, right? But the pig is committed. And you guys, if you’re going to be great leaders, you have to commit.”

Taking the conversation from food to technology, Lisa Mathis reminded the students that they are members of Generation Y, born between 1982 and 2000.

“You’re always armed with weapons – iPhone, Blackberry, computer, you love Facebook, Skype, you tweet, you text. Did I leave anything out?”

Lisa Mathis then led them on an exercise of “understanding self,” asking them to finish phrases like “I know I am good at … At school, someone I admire taught me … I regret …”

The remainder of the students’ Saturday schedule was filled with an assortment of workshop choices delving into different aspects of leadership, with today’s schedule following a similar pattern.

“It’s meant to be a professional conference,” said Forbes.

Acceptance to the Institute is competitive. The Institute winds up today, with honors being paid to Martin Luther King Jr. Day.