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Testimonials

Want to know more about the importance of the Emerging Leaders program and its many benefits? Check out what some EL alumni and current EL members have to say about how the program has impacted them in their personal and professional lives!

Jordan Smith, Class of 2015

Associate’s Degree in Individual Studies
Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology
Master’s Degree in Organizational Performance & Technology
Career Interest: Career Counselor, Career Coach

What motivated you to apply for Emerging Leaders, and why did you want to join the group?
“When I first transferred here in Fall 2013, I was notified about the Emerging Leaders program through a recommendation letter I received in the mail. My Resident Assistant had suggested I would be a great member for this program and having that kind of support encouraged me to go to the Info Session to learn more about it. I was immediately hooked after watching a presentation that gave an overview of the types of things they do in the program. Some of the pictures that really stood out to me were watching the members do a bunch of high ropes courses, including zip lining and jumping off a high platform (while in a secure harness). I remember thinking that this program has a unique set of experiences to offer me as I submitted my application.”

What have you gained from the Emerging Leaders program, and how has Emerging Leaders helped you with your leadership skills?
“This program gave me many of my first experiences with work that I would be doing as a professional. Through my membership, I got to be a part of several committees, including co-chairing the member expectation committee where I learned how to create an accountability policy. I also got to expand my public speaking skills by providing outreach services at tabling, hosting events, and facilitating workshops to members. These opportunities developed my leadership skills, which helped me tremendously when it came to market myself on my résumé and in interviews. Lastly, this program gave me so many opportunities to build connections among the members and professionals at the school. This was so beneficial to me as a new student to the college in 2013. Even now, as I am about the graduate and enter the workforce, I know a big part of my network that could help me with my transition are ELs that have already graduated.”

What is the best part about being an Emerging Leader?
“The best part of being an Emerging Leader was being able to grow my leadership abilities with the members of the group. Everyone in the group was so supportive of each other’s growth and it was very motivating having that many people rooting for you. I would be on my way to an EL meeting and know that I am about to share some laughs, try something I haven’t done before
with confidence knowing I have the support of the group behind me, and continue to build my connections both professionally and personally. I am truly grateful for the program!”

Molly Tishberg, Class of 2019

Major: Creative Writing, Theatre
Minor: Literature, Acting
Career Interest: Acting, Theatre Production

What motivated you to apply for Emerging Leaders, and why did you want to join the group?
“What initially motivated me to join Emerging Leaders was that it reminded me of HOBY (Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership)—a leadership organization I’ve been working with since my sophomore year of high school. But, when I went to the Emerging Leaders info session, I saw what an amazing, loving family I could be a part of, and that’s the main reason why I applied!
Everyone is so supportive of one another, I feel so blessed to be a part of this organization.”

What have you gained from the Emerging Leaders program, and how has Emerging Leaders helped you with your leadership skills?
“Emerging Leaders has helped me to understand what my strengths are as a leader, and I’ve been able to form my own kind of leadership skill set through that. Emerging Leaders also taught me that the things that make me unique are the things that make me strong, and that I should be proud of those quirks. One of the most important things EL has taught me though, is that I can make a difference right here, right now. I always thought that you had to be older and more financially secure before you could really start helping others and making the kinds of changes you want to see in the world. Through EL, I’ve actually been able to see the physical results of all of the work I put into fundraising and spreading the love of Potsdam. It’s just so amazing to see that I can make a difference for the better, and it gives me even more motivation to continue my work with Emerging Leaders.”

What is the best part about being an Emerging Leader?
“The best part of being an Emerging Leader is 100% the wonderful family I’ve made throughout the years, and the atmosphere that is created when you put all of these people in one room that have similar goals to you. Everyone is incredibly loving and kind, and we all want to see each other succeed. It’s so great to have that kind of support system behind you, and you know that if you ever need help along the way, you have this fantastic group of people who will jump at the chance to help. I’ve made some lifelong friendships through this organization, and I can’t thank SUNY Potsdam enough for giving me this opportunity to give back and giving me the tools I need to incite the kind of change I want to see in the world.”

Becca Fletcher, Class of 2017

Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration
Career Interest: Healthcare Administration, Higher Education

What motivated you to apply for Emerging Leaders, and why did you want to join the group?
“I applied to be an EL because it sounded like a great opportunity for me to get involved on campus. After one interaction with its enthusiastic members I knew the program was a great fit for me.”

What have you gained from the Emerging Leaders program, and how has Emerging Leaders helped you with your leadership skills?
“EL taught me to engage with people and network. I developed relationships with members, students and Campus Life staff. EL brought to light skills I didn't know I had and garnered new ones. In my four years as a member, I got to know so many people on campus because Emerging Leaders were everywhere and participated in all aspects of campus life. EL afforded me the opportunity to use the professional resources that SUNY Potsdam has to offer and though this is just one aspect of the program, it was the most beneficial to me and I will forever be grateful for that.”

What is the best part about being an Emerging Leader?
“The best part of being an Emerging Leader was being recognized as a leader on campus by students, staff, and professors. It motivated me to be an upstanding member of the campus community.”

Victoria Hocking, Class of 2020

Major: Business Administration
Career Interest: Management

What motivated you to apply for Emerging Leaders, and why did you want to join the group?
“As a freshman I wanted to get involved immediately. At the carnival I saw the Emerging Leaders t-shirts, which said, ‘Get Involved. Make a Difference. Give Back.’ When I approached the group I felt immediately welcomed and was therefore further encouraged to join. I was told about the friendships that are built and the opportunity for personal growth.”

What have you gained from the Emerging Leaders program, and how has Emerging Leaders helped you with your leadership skills?
“My confidence in myself has improved greatly since joining EL. Leadership workshops and experiences of performing leadership tasks have challenged my thought process and actions. I
know that each success, no matter how small, can result in a bigger, positive impact.”

What is the best part about being an Emerging Leader?
“It is hard to identify one thing about being an Emerging Leader that is best because there are so many benefits! However, the friendships I've developed have made every other part of EL the reason it is so amazing. I have a constant support system in them and they also push me to try new things. Ruth Policella does this as well, and I am thankful to have met her through this program.”

Chelsey Pitcher, Class of 2016

Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Speech Communication
Master’s Degree in Student Affairs and Higher Education Administration
Career Interest: Student Affairs

What motivated you to apply for Emerging Leaders, and why did you want to join the group?
“When I attended Potsdam orientation (with my mother), there was a parent panel and a student panel. My mom took notes on everything in her session and encouraged me to get involved. She said that my experience was going to be what I made of it, which meant I had to work at it. Being an introvert, I wasn’t too keen on the idea of jumping into something all alone. I went to the first meeting to see what it was about and hesitantly decided to give it a try. The moment I was accepted into the program was the exact moment that I acknowledged the leader potential within me. Later I realized that this was going to be a major turning point in my life; a stepping stone to significance. Joining this program was initially overwhelming for a shy girl like me who never stepped passed those thin lines that construct a comfort zone. I definitely wouldn’t have pushed myself if it weren’t for my support system back home.”

What have you gained from the Emerging Leaders program, and how has Emerging Leaders helped you with your leadership skills?
“I have gained a lot from my experience in the Emerging Leaders program. Having stepped away from it for two years now, I reflect on all of the growth and learning, essentially discovering who I am and what I am meant to do in this world. The countless hours of preparation, meetings, and events magnified the achiever in me while coinciding with the moments that I questioned my strength and purpose, all serving as a foundation for my being. I met some extremely inspirational people who shaped me into the person that I am. I wasn’t just a number at this school anymore; I mattered. I was given the opportunity to experiment with my voice and become more comfortable and confident in my own skin. I led meetings, planned workshops/events, and even orchestrated a brand new initiative. I discovered the creativity and passion that developed inside and influenced those around me. I learned what it means to be adaptable and embrace change from instances when I was forced test the limits. Today, I utilize my skills from this program to impact others at a different institution. Binghamton University has gained a strong, self-aware individual that is always curious to learn; and I have Potsdam’s Emerging Leaders to thank for that.”

What is the best part about being an Emerging Leader?
“The best part about being an Emerging Leader is the wide variety of opportunities that I was fortunate enough to be involved in and am able to practice. From decorating to reading bedtime stories to fundraising, I now possess such a diverse array of experience and competences that will initiate my future success. I have reflected and learned more about myself in the four years that I spent in EL than I have in my 23 years of life. I strive to continue to learn every day and use my strengths to make a difference in the lives of others all because an inspirational leader once took the time to recognize me and my potential to be a resilient emergent leader.”

Jenely Bautista, Class of 2019

Major: Speech Communication
Minor: Business Administration
Career Interest: Social Media Marketing, Digital Marketing for Magazines

What motivated you to apply for Emerging Leaders, and why did you want to join the group?
“The reason why I applied and wanted to join the group is because I was very lonely my freshman year. I wasn’t an active member in any club and wanted to do something more than just go to class every day. I wanted to make the most out of my college experience.”

What have you gained from the Emerging Leaders program, and how has Emerging Leaders helped you with your leadership skills?
“I have gained great communication skills from being an Emerging Leader! Prior to joining EL I was always very shy and never had much conversation with anyone, now I am an outgoing/outspoken person. Emerging Leaders has helped me realize and understand that everyone’s leadership skills are different. What one person may lack the other may have. EL has helped me become more creative in the way I think, a better communicator, and definitely more responsible.”

What is the best part about being an Emerging Leader?
“The best part of being an Emerging Leader is that I am now part of a family. I am able to learn from my fellow leaders and see things in a different light. Being able to have the sense of community and knowing that I am helping out in some way, even if it’s a small way, makes me love being an Emerging Leader.”