That is the advice Indiana University Kokomo Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke gave nearly 20 potential entrepreneurs, as the Kokomo CEO class visited campus.
Sciame-Giesecke talked about her leadership experiences, and how what a person says can start change, during a breakfast meeting January 28 (Thursday) that also included a tour of the newly renovated Main Building.
“These students are the potential business leaders of our community in the future,” she said. “We offer education to prepare them, and resources that can help them succeed, so it is a natural fit for their class to meet on our campus.”
Eighteen students, from Eastern, Kokomo, Lewis Cass, Northwestern, Tri-Central, and Western high schools participate in the program, which is open to juniors and seniors from nine north central Indiana schools. The class meets 90 minutes each school day, visiting 50-60 local businesses, creating business plans, and culminating with starting their own businesses.
Morgan Young, Kokomo CEO facilitator, said they received world class and applicable coaching from the campus leaders.
“This is what the program is all about, connecting these young people with wisdom and relational community connections,” he said. “Adding this level of relational connection to young men and women at this stage of life is invaluable.”
By “lead where you are,” Sciame-Giesecke means that anyone can take charge when they see a problem or challenge, and lead efforts to resolve it.
“In order to be successful in anything you do in life, you must become a leader,” she said. “Take hold of your challenge, figure it out, solve it, and move on. You have all kinds of opportunities to lead where you are.”
Successful leadership requires effective communication skills, she noted.
“Leaders shape discourse,” she said, adding that when they find a problem, rather than complaining about it, they can start conversations, leading to resolution. She gave the example of the Kokomo Family YMCA, which needed to replace its 100-year old building. Community leaders started talking about it, which led to action, and a new building opens in February.
“People came together and did something about it,” she said. “Good talk is not going to happen if we don’t invite it, and provide a space to talk about it. You have the right and the responsibility as an educated person to speak up when you see something wrong. It’s not always easy.”
Todd Gambill, vice chancellor for student services and enrollment management, talked about the college admissions process, and gave advice on landing campus jobs. Mark Canada, vice chancellor for academic affairs, and Alan Krabbenhoft, dean of the School of Business, also talked to the students.
The Kokomo CEO program is sponsored in part by IU Kokomo, and funded in part by a grant from the Indiana University Council for Regional Engagement and Economic Development’s Regional Economic Development Fund.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.