Rachel and her brother
School and Year: FRCC ’14
Major: Recreational Therapy
Leadership position: Secretary for the National Society of Leadership and Success Westminster Chapter,
Seretary for the Threads Club, and Secretary for the Cru Club. Member of Phi Theta Kappa.
How do you define leadership?
I define leadership as discovering and utilizing your unique way to lead, and being willing to bring out the leader in others. Being a leader does NOT mean that you are always in the forefront. I’m actually an introvert, meaning I am drained by doing extroverted activities constantly. So in a lot of ways I am a quiet leader, doing what needs to be done and leading by example. I was initially surprised when people at school began to call me, “An awesome, inspiring leader,” because at the time, I didn’t realize that being a leader doesn’t mean becoming someone you’re not, it means leading as who you are. For me, this means encouraging individuals, doing the design/organizational side of things, leading small groups, having shorter speaking parts and letting others do the bulk of speeches, and so on. I stretch myself, but am also true to myself.
So I define leadership as discovering the unique, inspiring skills and personality that you have, and also bringing the uniqueness out in others by recognizing it and pointing it out, so that everyone has the opportunity to discover the leader in them.
What first inspired you to become a student leader/get your current position?
I had to speak, for the first time in my life, to a large group of students for the Gateway to College program. I was asked last minute, and had to wing it. Nervous to death, I decided I would just speak straight from my experience and heart. So, straightforward, I told my story, and shared my heart for kids (like me) who ended up in non-traditional education due to difficult life circumstances.
Halfway through, a more dynamic speaker cut me off and took over the rest of the speech. I felt that I must have done terribly.
But afterwards a quiet girl approached me and told me that I’d changed her life! She thanked me for being honest, both about my shyness and struggles. It helped her to see that she wasn’t helpless to turn things around.
After that I accepted every opportunity to speak to students, and became involved in leading clubs on campus that were all about helping others improve their lives.
What is one experience (any kind) you think everyone should have?
Flying across a field on horseback, and having a horse for a friend. One of the reasons I hope to go into recreational therapy is to get involved in equine therapy. Something about horses has power to heal, to draw laughter and smiles out of people with unhappy lives. Horses are a taste of unconditional love, sweet simplicity, and freedom.
What was your number one take-away from DFT?
Well, two huge things actually: First, generating campus involvement is like throwing a great party, and a great party is made by making connections! I really loved this concept, both because it’s so powerful but so simple, and easy to implement. Already, some of us have been putting dance floor theory to work, using a recent fundraiser as an opportunity to connct with individuals, to get people to go from ‘meh’ to ‘hmmmm’ and take notice! Because of this, we have some students planning next semester around attending our club meetings and getting involved with our community work!!
Second, it was great to be reminded that campus involvement equals greater success academically, and thus greater success in work and life!
What is your go-to happy song?
Hmmm… right now, I go to Owl City for pick-me-ups. Both ridiculously fun dance music and always really positive! My favorite song right now is ‘Tidal Wave’, both because its cheery tone reminds me that uncertainty can be seen through a different lens, and because it speaks to the core of my faith, reminding me that there is always hope.
PS: Check out the article she wrote for her school paper about Dance Floor Theory! Thanks, girl!