More than 500 colleges and organizations across the continent have grown to have one thing in common- “Lead with integrity.”
The saying describes the mission of LeaderShape, a program that partners with 90 colleges in the U.S. and Canada to encourage student leaders to maximize potential. Hundreds of corporations have used the program as well to promote work efficiency and team morale.
The LeaderShape Institute at Texas A&M is held a week after spring graduation. Each year, 60 students are selected to attend the six-day program, which includes a series of lecture panels and team-building exercises to create an intensive leadership atmosphere.
Students are encouraged to create a vision of something they would like to see changed or improved on campus or in the community, and then work to make their visions realities. “LeaderShape shows individuals what it means to lead with integrity,” said Program
Coordinator Tia Crawford ’06. “There’s a bit of untapped leadership in all of us, so it’s important for students to think about who they are as leaders.”
Crawford received a master’s degree in education administration and now serves as a student development specialist within the Department of Student Activities.
She had the opportunity to serve as a cluster facilitator- or group leader- before becoming program coordinator and recalled the program had just as much impact on her as it did on the students.
“Leadershape provides an inclusive experience for all,” Crawford said. “I feel like I’ve learned as much as the students.”
The program has had lasting effects on both participants and staff members. In recent years, Crawford saw one of her own student-participants move on to a program coordinating position for LeaderShape at another school. “It’s very influential to see how LeaderShape
can change a student’s perspective on leadership,” Crawford said. And with help from The Association of Former Students, The Leadershape Institute at Texas A&M was able to host their 10th annual LeaderShape.
This year, the program was held at Camp Tejas in Giddings, Texas. LeaderShape was able to cover facilitator cost and lodging, thanks in part to donor dollars to The Association’s Annual Fund.
It’s easy to say the LeaderShape slogan has always hit home with Aggies. “Those who’ve graduated LeaderShape consistently have great things to say,” Crawford said. “And our students truly know what it means to lead with integrity.”