“At the end of the day, people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” ~ Maya Angelou
This quote highlights the overall theme of the Opportunity Scholars Annual Leadership Retreat. Held virtually earlier this month, the event brought in speakers and alumni Annie Leither, VP Sponsorships, Zions Bank, and Erumis Ureña, Executive Officer, U.S. Foreign Services.
“You all have incredible stories that brought you here today. The world needs to hear your unique insights,” said Leither, as she emphasized the concept of leadership as stewardship. “You all can be truly human leaders and have a profound impact on others.”
She measures her success on how she has touched others’ lives, always hoping to send her employees home fulfilled.
Her message connected with senior Tommy Trinh.
“I learned about truly human leadership. It’s more than leading a team or group. It’s about building relationships and caring about the people you are leading,” Trinh said.
Ureña, Executive Office for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Regional Development Mission for Asia, joined the event from Bangkok, Thailand. He credited his volunteer work as a student, including the experiences he had in the Opportunity Scholars program, with finding his passion in public service. For him, a good leader is one who trusts and empowers their staff, encourages collaboration, “walks the walk,” utilizes two-way communication, and prepares their staff for success.
He also highlighted that you don’t need a position of power to be a leader. He advised students to “find a path you enjoy, discover your strengths, and use them to help others develop their own skill sets.”
This resonated with Freshman Taryn Sahagian, who learned that “Leadership isn’t one thing, it isn’t a single structure … you can be a leader whenever and wherever.”
Ureña also encouraged students to examine how they are perceived by others, reminding them that employers most often look for someone who is humble, empathetic, and willing to learn.
Both speakers spoke passionately and with gratitude for their time in the Opportunity Scholars program and their desire to empower, encourage, and support current students.
The goal of the Opportunity Scholars Program at the Eccles School is to support and enhance the educational experience of first-generation business students as they progress toward graduation. For more information, visit Eccles.Link/opportunity-scholars.