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Center for Integrative Leadership (CIL) Student Leadership Retreat 9/17/2010

*Abou Amara, Jr.

After reflecting on the Student Leadership Team's retreat, I feel honored and in a unique position to help in creating something that will be organic, influential, and innovative. Meeting all of the Student Leadership members was a great opportunity to learn from others who are in various disciplines around the University of Minnesota, including; Public Health, Educational Administration, Public Policy, Law, Business and many others. As I began to listen to each member speak of their experiences in academia as well as in life, I realized how we all have a common thread. We all have a passion for advancing the common good. We also share a recognition that the method of leadership needed in the 21st Century cannot be the way we have seen it exercised in our lifetime thus far. Nobody exemplifies this notion more than the Center for Integrative Leaderships three Executive Leadership Fellows; Executive Director of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center Dahir Jibreel, Deputy Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Mary Ellison, and Executive Director of the Defense Alliance of Minnesota Chip Laingen.

Listening to Dahir, Mary, and Chip's experiences in life shattered my traditional concept of leadership and has shown me that leadership manifests itself in different capacities and people. I was in awe at their life experiences and how they have evolved as people while always striving and working in the name of the common good. For the purpose of perspective -- I was sitting in a room with a man who was a speechwriter to the United States Secretary of the Navy, a woman who shattered barriers in a male dominated Public Safety profession, and a former Chief of Staff to the President of Somalia and even himself a Presidential Candidate of Somali. WOW

I believe their experiences will be a good moral compass and metric for how we will frame our work as a Leadership Team.


Looking forward to what's in store next.

*Abou Amara is a Master of Public Policy Candidate and CIL Student Leadership Team Member.

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