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TABLE OF CONTENTS Welcome 3 Staff 4 Staff 5 Alumni 6 Faculty 9 Year at a Glance - 10 Leadership 12 Workshops..... 13 Thank You!....................... 14


WELCOME Greetings from the Illinois LeadershipÂŽ Center (ILC)! We had a tremendous fall semester with major accomplishments on several fronts. We have seen a spike in our programmatic efforts (featured on Page 10), and continue to enhance our academic footprint with increased research efforts, faculty initiatives (see Page 9), and collaboration with our academic colleagues. In the following pages you will read about our collaborative efforts, hear the story of a student who has benefited greatly from the ILC, learn about some Illinois alumni and their opinions on leadership, get an update on our Leadership Certificate Program, and get a glimpse into our Leadership Workshop Series and its newest offerings. We would like to offer a heartfelt thanks to all the alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of the ILC who have helped to make our programs successful by volunteering or financially contributing. Volunteer opportunities include facilitating at our programs or serving as a Leadership Certificate Coach. Financial support comes in the form of annual giving, endowment of a program, estate planning, or one time contributions. Your support allows the ILC to offer transformational leadership education to Illinois students at no additional cost to them. To learn more about volunteer opportunities or making a financial contribution, visit We hope you will enjoy reading about our successes as much as we have enjoyed accomplishing them! 3

STAFF INITIATIVE “WALK THE WALK” By: Passang Gonrong This summer, the ILC professional staff took an active approach in fostering relationships across campus. Each staff became a liaison for the six different cultural and resource centers ranging from the Asian American Cultural Center to the Women’s Resources Center to the Native American House. These partnerships allowed the ILC to dialogue at the different centers.

The Illinois Leadership® Center was also prominent at the Global Career Network Leadership Forum hosted by the Career Center and International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) in October. The fifty plus students who participated in the forum were able to take StrengthsQuest™ and participated in two breakout sessions led by the ILC staff.

Partnerships were also created with the James Scholars department in each college. The collaboration with the College of Business James Scholar has resulted in an increase in business students attending our I-programs this fall semester. James Scholar students in the College of Liberal Arts and Science and the Division of General Studies had the opportunity to take StrengthsQuest™ to learn their top five strengths and maximize their potential. The ILC is looking forward to expanding more collaborative efforts with the many different departments at Illinois.

These are some of the initiatives taken on by the professional staff. As one of the prominent leadership centers across the United States, we want to not only talk the talk but walk the walk.


STAFF HIGHLIGHT PASSANG GONRONG By: Joshua Mathew Passang Gonrong is currently a senior majoring in Interdisciplinary Health Sciences. She originally hails from the Chicagoland area, but hopes to pursue graduate school on the east coast. When she’s not educating fellow Illini on leadership, Passang can be found reading, taking up rock climbing, running, or jamming out to Chance The Rapper’s music. As a freshman, Passang had a skewed perception of leadership. To her, a leader was someone who was brazen and unreserved. However, after going through the Leadership Certificate program, she quickly realized that leadership isn’t subjected to just one style. Now, as a senior, Passang has found her voice as a leader. No, she isn’t someone who is unabashedly loud, but rather someone who commands through quiet resilience. Regardless of how long it may take, she advises all Illini to find their own distinct style of leadership.


ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT WILLARD BROOM By: Olivia Schifferer Willard Broom, former Associate Dean of Students for the University of Illinois, has been a huge supporter and advocate of the Illinois Leadership Center over the years. When asked why he believes leadership education is important, Willard explained how leadership is crucial in being able to “make a difference,” and that’s exactly what Illinois’ grads are going to do. Willard sees the Leadership Center as playing a role in helping these students gain the personal skills that are necessary in developing future leaders.

an increase in the international student population. This allows for a “richer environment” that helps “broaden perspectives” and “challenge perceptions” for our students. Willard had the opportunity to speak with students at the Institute™ by LeaderShape® in January of 2016. Speaking on his experience there, Willard expressed satisfaction in seeing the students’ emphasis on networking, as well as creating trusting and dynamic relationships. His advice for the Illinois Leadership Center going forward is to “keep up the good work” and to continue adapting to student needs by creating diverse opportunities.

Over the years, Willard has noticed a lot of change within the ILC as well as the students it serves. The Leadership Center is more “sophisticated” now than it has ever been, both in the programs and the curricula it offers. He is glad to see something that was once just a new idea now an integrated part of campus. Willard has also noted the increase in diversity of the students attending i-Programs, particularly 6

BHIBHA DAS By: Kathleen Cai As a 2003 and 2011 graduate from the U of I, also assistant professor of kinesiology at East Carolina University, Dr. Bhibha Das always bleeds orange and blue and refers to serving as an Imprint Alumni Coach at the Illinois Leadership® Center as “the most influential thing I have done in my life.” Today, we’re fortunate to have Bhibha on board to share her story of leadership development and her work with the ILC. how you become a great leader.” In fact, if Bhibha lists one thing she can do for life, it will be volunteering. Her love for volunteering started young and continues now. When asked her reason, Bhibha said that it’s always good to “get back to the community you live and work in,” volunteering is “a great opportunity to network” as well. Bhibha met people who helped her in career development that she would not know otherwise. Moreover, this philosophy leads to her process of becoming a leader. “You meet people, you give back, you jump out of your comfort zone, that’s 7

According to Bhibha, leadership is “a quality that people have to improve the lives of people around them.” There are different kinds of leadership, quiet and loud. When we tend to talk about loud leaders, Bhibha believes that “we need quiet leaders in the background, they are important because they get organizations’ efficient goals accomplished.” Aside from volunteering, one thing that Bhibha has done her entire life is “jumping out of her

comfort zone.” In fact, her current job as an assistant professor is a result of this personal philosophy. Before Bhibha went back to get her doctorate in 2011, she had worked in the field of public health as a public health practitioner. “I really thought I would go back to government work at a local health department, academia was not on my radar.”

this, I grow every day.” Because of these experiences and skills, as a junior faculty member, Bhibha has been asked to serve in leadership positions. She is organized, logical, and is also a good communicator. All these experiences changed her life. Last but not least, when relating back to the ILC, Bhibha still thinks that her two years as an Alumni Coach with the ILC was the most rewarding experience. “It’s so nice for me to come back and share my experience each year with hundreds of students; it’s really impactful and influential. I’m glad I can help.” Bhibha also mentioned that students should utilize these campus opportunities, never be afraid to go out of your comfort zone, and join the ILC!

All of this changed because of a conference in February 2013. Because of the conference, Bhibha ended up going to a dinner and discovered that the staff from ECU was looking for a third candidate. Bhibha’s advisor encouraged her to apply and later she got the job. “I ended up applying for a job I really didn’t want. I came to this University, and I fell in love with this job.” With no formal training and the need to start her own research and be a professor Bhibha was challanged. But everything turned out to be perfect, and now, she can’t think of anything better. Relating back to this experience, Bhibha said, “if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. I get challenged every day, because of

Bhibha will be coming back to campus February 2017 for Imprint for a third time. We look forward to her sharing her wisdom with fellow Illini leaders yet again!


FACULTY CONNECTION By: Beth Hoag Pictured: 2015-2016 Faculty Fellows

In 2015, the Illinois LeadershipÂŽ Center established the Faculty Fellows Program. The program encourages leadership scholarship and interdisciplinary collaboration at University of Illinois. Each year, tenuretrack faculty are selected based on their scholarly interest in the field of leadership, and provided a grant to support their leadership research. This year the Fellows wanted to expand the conversation regarding leadership research, scholarship, and teaching to include more faculty throughout campus. The Fellows created the first Faculty Connection event, an open-dialogue and networking event that brought together faculty from a variety of disciplines to discuss leadership research and the future of leadership scholarship on campus. Thirteen faculty attended from six academic colleges. In the spring semester, the Fellows are planning a second Faculty Connection event centered on teaching leadership to collegiate students. 9


This past fall, the ILC has seen a dramatic surge in nearly all programmatic efforts. Take a minute to review the infographic to the right to see more information about our reach & impact.




LEADERSHIP CERTIFICATE By: Lauren Gress At the Illinois Leadership Center, our philosophy is centered on the belief that anyone can be a leader, and that leadership can be learned and practiced through academic coursework and out of classroom activities. With the Leadership Certificate Program, students are provided a customized experience to help develop leadership skills in a way that integrates leadership education, reflection, and experience over multiple semesters. Some unique facets of the program are that students are matched with a Leadership Coach to act as a mentor along their leadership journey; and, the 3-4 semester program culminates with the creation of an online Leadership E-Portfolio that documents a student’s leadership growth. Currently, there are over 360 undergraduate and graduate students participating in the program. This past fall semester alone, 136 students joined the program! To learn more about the Certificate Program or to sign-up to serve as Leadership Certificate Coach, please visit: leadership-certificate-program/about-certificate. The ILC is always looking for alumni volunteers to serve as Leadership Certificate Coaches. If you have any questions or would like additional information, please e-mail Lauren Gress, Assistant Director of the Illinois Leadership Center, at 12


Communication: Recognize different WORKSHOPS communication styl By: Hannah Teske communicate to gro This semester, we expanded our workshop series, adding sessions on lastingWeimpressions. strategic planning, motivation, and conflict management. now offer a total of six workshops, and these sessions include: communication, teamwork, strategic planning, motivation, conflict management, and StrengthsQuest™. Unsure of the reaction we would have to these new topic areas, we were excited to have a large interest in the workshop series.

Conflict Manageme Develop techniques and understand you Over the course of the semester, the leadership education team consisting of one Graf Intern, four Leadership Paraprofessionals, and positively manage c one professional staff member led 100 workshops, each approximately an hour in length, reaching 2,894 students, faculty, and staff across campus. We were able to reach a diverse population presenting to classes across multiple disciplines, at the cultural houses, to registered student organizations, as well as campus staff. We look forward to continuing this initiative in the spring. There are also plans to cultivate new workshop topics moving forward. The Leadership Education team began the fall semester with the lofty goal of presenting 200 workshops throughout the course of the year, and we are excited to say that we are well on our way to reaching that goal!

Strategic Planning: Create long-term or workshop through g and visioning.


Did you know? While all of our programs & services are free for Illinois students, your financial contribution can help more Illinois students experience world class leadership education. Here’s what your contribution could do: · · · · · ·

$10 would support one student to complete the StrengthsFinder assesment $100 would support one student to attend an i-Program $300 would support a class of 30 to participate in a leadership workshop $500 would allow a student to complete the Leadership Certificate Program $1000 would allow one student to attend The Institute™ by LeaderShape® $5000 would support an entire i-Program

If you’d like to learn more about making a contribution visit http://leadership. or you can contact us at

Thanks for Reading!

(217) 333-0604 Illinois Leadership Center 290 Illini Union 1401 W Green St Urbana IL, 61801

Alumni Newsletter - Fall 2016 Update  
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