The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Adventures in Leadership

By: Miriam Rutzen

Every once in awhile a song lyric, verse, or quote from a movie will really stick in my memory and create a theme for my next season in life.

Just recently I had the pleasure of watching the movie, We Bought a Zoo, and ever since the theme of "adventure" has played a major role in my summer and future plans.

Having finished my junior year as a Division I student-athlete at Harvard University, I am looking toward my senior year as an elected co-captain on the basketball team and the many responsibilities and opportunities that title brings with it.

This summer as I begin preparation for the adventure of my senior year, one of my goals is to glean as much knowledge, wisdom, and guidance from those who have already blazed a trail and established leadership within their own spheres.

Throughout this summer my goal is to find just a few of the many leaders within our own community and bring to light some of their tips, advice, and strategies for making Henderson County a better place through their leadership.

My areas of passion, teamwork, leadership, and organizational psychology, are the main subjects I have pursued as I have put together my degree in psychology with a secondary in sociology. How do people influence one another? How do leaders motivate their followers? What does it mean to be a good servant-leader? Throughout this past season, many of these questions had a major influence on how I dealt with various ups and downs throughout the season.

The transition three years ago from rural Blandinsville, Illinois, to Boston, Massachusetts, had me in tears many nights during freshmen fall.

Sophomore year my goal was to never cry-which for the most part, I accomplished that goal (a few tears after breaking my hand with six weeks left in the season was self-deemed rather reasonable). This past year brought me full circle: sometimes it is perfectly okay to cry, even when it is not reasonable.

Because emotions are real and pressing into those emotions can create some of the most unbelievable moments of relationship and community, despite the sadness or frustration involved. And it is within those moments of being entirely real that we find the root of all leadership: sometimes just being there can be the best form of leadership available in that given moment.

But often times, there is much more to leadership than showing up and much of the preparatory work must be done before the actual meeting, game or event.

Heading into this grand finale year, I realize it will be a heavy responsibility to give the best leadership that I can provide to my team, and I would like you to join me on my journey as I work to prepare for the year ahead.

Every week I will seek out, observe, and interview one of the many potential candidates for leadership within Henderson County. My hope is that seeing hands-on leadership at work will provide the best possible teaching tool and I look forward to sharing with you the stories that I discover. And with that, let the Adventures in Leadership begin!