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3 ways to become a great leader: Cassie Appleton, sophomore

Posted: Sep 04, 2017

2017-09-04CassieAppleton

Sophomore Cassie Appleton is learning public relations by working with real-world clients through Inspired Strategies Agency at Olivet Nazarene University.

This is a blog post by Cassie Appleton — a sophomore at Olivet Nazarene University — of West Chicago, Illinois. She is majoring in public relations (PR) and strategic communication. She is also a junior account executive with Inspired Strategies Agency (ISA), Olivet’s student run public relations agency, serving real world clients in the local community.

I recently attended a networking event at Olivet Nazarene University where a leadership panel was hosted. Many topics pertaining to effective leadership were discussed, but my largest takeaway was this: to leave a place better than when you found it.

This familiar concept took on a new meaning to me that evening, as one of the panelists emphasized the importance of treating wherever you are like home. There’s a difference in how you act when you are visiting a place and when that place is your home. In the first instance, you typically have no lasting connection to the place you’re visiting, and therefore little personal investment. On the other hand, if you are acting as if that place is your home, you are invested in that place and the future of its inhabitants.

When you treat a place as your home, even if you know you will not remain there indefinitely, you are better enabled to leave that place better than when you arrived on account of your passion and investment. Great leaders care about community, and I have three tips that will hopefully encourage you to become a leader who makes a difference by engaging in your community.

Make connections

In my opinion, the best way to understand and participate in a community is to know the people already in it. Gaining insight from people from a plethora of backgrounds is critical to maintaining a broad and open view of the world. In the world of PR, engaging and networking with members of the target audience you are trying to reach is an invaluable way to tailor the content of your messages in a way that is highly effective.

Get involved

What better way to make a place feel like home than to get involved? Showing active participation in a community sends the message that you care, and that you want a better future for that place. The Exploration Station in Bourbonnais is one such place where one can get involved and make a positive impact on the community. On February 20, 2017, ISA and The Exploration Station collaborated to host College Night at the Station. Fifteen students attended this event, which was held in order to make students aware of the volunteer opportunities available at the Station. The Exploration Station is a children’s museum full of fun and educational exhibits that provide boundless opportunities to explore, imagine, and create. Everyone has their niche, and you don’t have to look far to find an opportunity that will fit yours.

Get others on board

After you’ve gotten involved yourself, the next step is to bring others alongside you. Sometimes, the community you envision isn’t a reality, so you have to be the one to bring it to life. By taking initiative, meeting new people, and getting involved, you are setting a precedent that others will notice and likely want to follow. A home isn’t a home without the people in it, and a crucial part of being a quality leader is cultivating a community of people who care.

The world needs more leaders who are invested in their communities and who are dedicated to making each place they inhabit better than when they first arrived. They say that “home is where the heart is,” and if you are passionate about making a difference in the place that you’re in, I would say that you’ve found a home.


To learn more about Olivet’s areas of study in communication, contact the Office of Admissions at admissions@olivet.edu or 800-648-1463.
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Acres that comprise Olivet's beautiful, park-like campus in Bourbonnais, Illinois