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51 // The Legacies of Elon’s Leaders

Mallory Anderson PHOTO BY JUSTINE SCHULERUD


LEADING THE HAND THAT FED YOU

PHOTO BY ASHLEY BARNAS

From her years in college to her time working at Elon, leadership has always been a significant part of Mallory Anderson’s life. Before becoming the Director for the Center of Leadership at Elon University, Anderson studied business management at Appalachian State University, and then she worked as an events planner. Anderson quickly realized her passion was working with college students and decided to work on a college campus. After studying college student affairs administration at the University of Georgia, Anderson came to Elon to serve as the Director of Orientation and Organization Development. Two years later, she took over the Center for Leadership. As director of the center, she oversaw the Isabella Cannon Leadership Program, Adventures in Leadership and the experiential learning requirement. “I believe that leadership is something that can be taught, it’s not just innate in who you are,” Anderson said. “It’s been awesome to have had the opportunity to be a part of so many moments of learning.” Since she took the position, Anderson said she has worked hard to define learning outcomes and objectives for leadership workshops and infuse relevant literature into the program. “Something I am proud of is the intentionality behind the things we do, think and plan,” she said. She has also spent time working on Elon’s strategic plan. “It encompasses a lot of different facets of leadership, and it’s something I’ll be proud to leave because people can follow it and work toward the included goals,” she said. These facets of leadership include cultural leadership, a focus on study abroad and the inclusion of diversity within group dynamics. “As we move into the future, I would like to see more learning about leadership from a cultural perspective,” Anderson said. “Leadership isn’t just the four-year program, it’s an opportunity for students to be involved and developed in their roles, too.” Anderson said that even on a bad day she still loves her job and what she does, particularly the interaction with students. “I think I learn just as much from them as they are hopefully learning from me,” she said. She explained that she is often motivated by the positive relationships she has cultivated with both students and faculty at Elon. “I get excited about creating opportunities, whether it’s one

The Legacies of Elon’s Leaders // 52

where there might be a failure and we learn from it, or a success that we celebrate,” Anderson said. “There really is an energy created by working with students.” Despite the success she has had in the position, Anderson has experienced some setbacks. With so many different parties involved in decision making, she said her priorities aren’t always on the forefront, which can be disheartening. “It’s just picking yourself back up, dusting yourself off and plugging along,” she said. “You realize that in time, maybe it will come around and you have to keep working toward the goals that you believe in.” As a part of Elon’s campus, she said she has had opportunities that might not have been possible elsewhere, such as co-instructing a study abroad course. “I have really been able to see the bigger picture and develop student leaders both in academics and extra-curricular programs,” she said. “I have also become better at creating a sense of balance for myself and seeing certain things as opportunities rather than just more work.” For Anderson, college is the formative years in which to develop strong leadership skills, which she believes can change society for the better. “There is so much poor leadership everywhere,” she said. “If we can develop skill sets now, I can only imagine what our world will look like with stronger leaders.” Anderson was chosen for the Outstanding Service to Students award at last year’s Organization Awards and Inaugural Ceremony, “because of her hard work and dedication to the student lives that she impacts everyday,” SGA Special Events Committee Chair Cedric Pulliam said. “She devotes after office hours to the advancement with students of Elon University. She also goes beyond leadership and helps out with other facets of the university to aid students or faculty advisors whenever needed.” Though Anderson left Elon’s campus in June to earn her Ph.D. in recreation and leisure with a focus on using the outdoors as a medium for leadership training, she said she will always remember how her time at Elon has impacted her. “When I interviewed, there was such a spirit of community between faculty, staff and students,” she said. “Elon is like a family. You must have a system of community, and that is something I will look for everywhere I go.”

Story By Caitlin O’Donnell

GET TO KNOW Mallory Anderson Arrived at Elon in 2005 Elon Legacy: “When I think about all of the things I have done or worked toward, I think it would be a legacy of strengthening the intentionality behind why we do what we do.”


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