Article by Jose Villalpando ’23

Since its start in spring 2022, Doane’s Emerging Leaders workshop has empowered student leaders by unlocking and fostering leadership potential one step at a time. The workshop was launched to promote leadership development in students outside of the Hansen Leadership Program (HLP).

“The Hansen Leadership Program realized in working with students in some of our student organizations, there are a lot of students on campus who are exceptionally talented leaders and have a ton of leadership potential,” said Nick Knopik, assistant director of leadership and service.

The spring 2022 workshop had 12 students. Ten students completed it during fall 2022. But word has since gotten out. This semester, the workshop has doubled to 24 students.

There’s only one requirement for participants to join the Emerging Leaders workshop: a nomination by faculty and staff who recognize a student’s leadership potential.

A group of five students — the Doane Leadership Educators (DLE), which falls under the HLP umbrella — initially helped facilitate the Emerging Leaders workshop. Now, the six-week-long workshop is entirely peer-led by DLE.

Knopik said around two-thirds of the students who participated in Emerging Leaders have gone on to apply for other campus leadership positions.

“After a student has gone through six weeks of leadership development experience they, hopefully, can see themselves leading on campus in some way,” Knopik said. “What’s neat about [this] is that students are actualizing their leadership development in ways that make a difference on campus.”

Take for example Lindsey Udell ’25, who completed the Emerging Leaders workshop last spring.

“When coming to Doane I thought that being in the Hansen Leadership Program was the only way to get connected to the leadership positions on campus,” Udell said. “However, the Emerging Leaders program opened up an avenue that I didn't think I had access to before. I still remember receiving the email saying that my math professor [Dr.] Tracee Fairbanks had nominated me, she really opened up my eyes to the place that I truly wanted to be in.”

One of the most memorable moments for Udell happened towards the end of the program. Guest speaker and Doane alumn AJ Waters ’05 spoke to Emerging Leaders and recommended options for leadership development.

“The value that he brought to our session really tied in all of the concepts that we had,” Udell said. “He recommended certain books and podcasts that could kickstart our leadership journeys as well, which was just what I needed.”

Completing the workshop gave Udell new skills and confidence – so much so that she’s now helping other students participating in Emerging Leaders as a member of DLE.

Udell cites her one-on-one leadership coaching through Emerging Leaders as the greatest motivator for this. Coaching sessions provided information about positions around campus where students could expand their leadership roles.

“That is how I got connected with Quint [Geis] for DLE and I do not regret this decision,” Udell said. “I am very grateful that I can be on the other side of things now and apply what I learned in the program to teach it to the new cohorts that come in.”

“For us, as staff members, it’s really exciting to see students take the lead and use their leadership skills from [Emerging Leaders] and apply them in other areas around campus, especially through helping lead the program they were just in,” Knopik said.