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How to Lead Like Your Favorite Leaders

Leadership is a skill that most recruiters will look for and expect on your resume. Going to a big school like Virginia Tech, it can seem scary to put yourself out there and apply for leadership positions; however, when you start to build up your leadership experience you will find it’s really not all that scary! Especially within CWIB, there are many opportunities to gain leadership experience, each with various levels of commitment.

CWIB’s Leadership Structure

As you may know, CWIB’s leadership team is composed of an executive board, or “C suite” team, that is made up of 6 members. Two of these members serve as the Co-CEOs of CWIB and the other four oversee certain areas within the organization including marketing, operations, development, and finance. These positions tend to require more time commitment and experience. Below the executive board CWIB has ten leadership chairs that when combined with the executive board makes up the full leadership team. The leadership team positions are great if you want to specialize in a certain area such as philanthropy or treks. Each executive board member has 2-3 leadership chairmen below them.The executive board and leadership chairs all work together to make CWIB run smoothly. When asked what their favorite part about being on the leadership team, all members had the same response: getting to bond with the other leadership team members. Especially this year, it can be hard to make friends in a highly virtual environment. Being on the leadership team allowed members to spend more one on one time with their team so that they were able to get to know each other better.

CWIB also has a mentorship program, which is a fantastic way to start your leadership journey. Serving as a mentor can allow you to build your leadership skills in a smaller group setting. Committees are another great way to build your leadership experience. CWIB has four committees: events committee, treks committee, marketing committee, and the staff writers committee. Many of the current leadership team said they started their CWIB leadership journey by first serving on a committee. This allowed them to get a feel for the club and the people before jumping into a major leadership role.

How does CWIB do it?

Part of the reason CWIB is so successful is because CWIB’s leadership team is made up of such strong women. I had the pleasure of interviewing some of CWIB’S leadership team and part of the reason I believe that they’re successful is because each leader has a different leadership style, which brings various perspectives into play when making decisions and selecting the best directions for their respective teams. Although they may handle things differently, they all share the same passion and drive to make CWIB the best organization it can be.

Another reason CWIB’s leadership team is very efficient is because they know when to delegate tasks to others. Being able to work in a team is a very important leadership skill to possess because you won’t be able to get everything done efficiently on your own. By delegating tasks to your team, everyone is able to focus on what they do best. CWIB’s current Editor-in-Chief notes it’s crucial that you don’t micromanage when you are delegating tasks. It’s important to let your team know what standards you expect of them, but you should allow them the creative freedom to decide how they’re going to meet your expectations.

Advice From the Current Leadership Team

One of my personal favorite things about CWIB is how everyone is so welcoming and willing to help each other. The current CWIB leadership team wanted to pass along some of their best tips for being an effective leader.

Emma Harwood’s Advice: CWIB’s current Editor-in-Chief, Emma, shared her advice for new leaders would be to act confident, never be afraid to ask questions, and always come prepared. Some people might be afraid to ask questions out of fear it will make them seem like they don’t know what they’re doing, but Emma shares “wanting to know more by putting yourself out there is a great sign of an informed leader.” Emma also said she believes that the most important leadership traits every leader should have are a positive attitude and strong communication skills. She shared, “Having a positive attitude never goes unnoticed and I think the main way to get your team on board with your mission and goals is to show them that they matter.” You can do this by expressing your passion for the organization when carrying out your responsibilities.

Emma Robby’s Advice: Emma Robby, CWIB’s Chief Development Officer, said her best leadership tip for the new leadership team would be to take advantage of your network. Everyone in CWIB is here to help each other, no matter what department or role you’re in. She also believes that dedication is the most important leadership quality you should possess. To be an effective leader you need to actually care about the organization and want to attend all the events and see it grow.

Kate Taylor’s Advice: Kate Taylor, CWIB’s current VP of Mentorship and incoming CO-CEO, shared her advice for the incoming leadership team would be to take the time to really get to know your fellow members on the leadership team and to not be afraid to challenge yourself in your position. Serving on the leadership team has allowed Kate to meet so many new people she now considers good friends. Kate also believes that strong communication skills are the most important trait to have to be an effective leader. Having strong communication skills allows you to collaborate on projects, set goals, and problem solve efficiently. No matter what your position is you will be expected to maintain correspondence with clients/team members; it’s important to keep them in the loop on what you’re doing to make sure everything is still on track.

I would like to thank the leadership team for all their leadership advice and dedication to CWIB. Being a leader is one of the most rewarding jobs you can have. You’ll not only be helping others, but you will also be improving your own communication and collaboration skills.

By: Allison Gray

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