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My definition of leadership means that one possesses the ability to motivate others to want to be better. I believe that a leader should inspire change in individuals while fostering the growth of a leader within those people that he or she works with. A leader should be strong minded and strong willed but still demonstrate the fact that it is okay to ask for help because no one person is able to accomplish any and everything they set out to do. I don’t necessarily believe that a leader should have followers. A leader should instead inspire those that look up to them to find a cause that they are most passionate about and try and become a leader and advocate in the same manner that they have witnessed if not more uniquely.
There are many things that make me a leader here at UCLA. Though I am a third year, I have only recently begun getting involved in extracurricular activities outside of my job, which coincides with my Wasserman Scholarship since I am a VIP Scholar. During my first two years here I heard great things about the Afrikan Women’s Collective, which is a sector of ASU that gives young women of Afrikan decent on campus an opportunity to come together and discuss issues relevant to us. I may have gone to a few events as a freshman and sophomore but entering my junior year I felt a strong need to become an active part of it. I spent Fall quarter waiting to hear about AWC events and never did. Toward the end of the quarter I began to ask around to see what was going on with the organization and no one had an answer. I took it upon myself to contact the ASU President and ask if I could head the organization myself. A few peers of mine assisted in my request by letting her know that I would be an excellent person to head this organization and she gave me an enthusiastic yes and left me with no further advice. At that moment I took it upon myself to be named chair and I began to seek out help from the previous year’s chair to ask what I should and should not be doing within this organization as well as the best ways to go about everything. While this young lady was of great assistance to me, it still was not enough. I took it upon myself to put together a staff of phenomenal young Black women that had a passion for Women’s Issues as I did and began facilitating meetings amongst ourselves and then the Black women of UCLA too.
I know that I am an intelligent Black woman and I know that I have insightful things to say, but nothing has left me with more joy than hearing the buzz of young Afrikan Women around UCLA’s campus discussing the organization that I have revamped Winter quarter. Everywhere I go and see a familiar face, a hello is followed by, “I loved the last event, I left feeling empowered. When will there be another?” It pushes me to work harder to continue to inspire these young women to be the best they can be while encouraging myself to be a better individual. Since I have chosen to take on the task of being AWC chair, I understand that a lot of responsibility comes with it. Not only do I have myself to care for, I have to keep in mind that the women that I service look to me for encouragement and support while they discover their specific niches. Some women have already approached me and discussed various big ideas that they have, they often ask for advice but I turn the questions back on them because I encourage confidence and I want them to be sure of themselves before pursuing any endeavors.
Overall, I think a leader should be inspirational. Without the power to inspire, one cannot be a leader. I think I possess this quality plus many more. Though I believe that being a leader is both subjective and multi-faceted, I believe that the ability to inspire should be unanimous across all definitions.
Post Submitted By Our 2014 Scholarship Winner: Ameinah Thomas