Building Leaders

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By Frank Radosevich II
June 25, 2013

A diverse group of academics, executives, government officials, community organizers and more gathered on campus to discuss the fundamental principles of leadership at the Bradley University Alumni Association’s inaugural Leadership Summit on June 13-15.

The three-day event brought together high profile individuals from a number of sectors to explore multiple perspectives on strong, ethical leadership. Aspiring leaders and those in executive positions alike had the chance to interact with proven decision makers, learn from their real-world experience and develop new skills as a leader.

“The idea is to bring people back on campus and engage them in conversations about leadership and help them pick up some addition skills,” said Mike Davis ’75, one of the summit’s co-chairs. “Leadership is important in all walks of life, whether you are talking about your career or personal life.”

Davis said the summit also served as a chance for alumni to reconnect with Bradley and see the many changes that have taken place on campus.  Breakout sessions were hosted in some of Bradley’s newest facilities, including the Renaissance Coliseum and the recently renovated Westlake Hall.

Though the summit featured many Bradley alumni, the event was open to the public and cultivated leadership skills from all aspects of life.

The Leadership Summit consisted of breakout sessions and renown keynote speakers from a variety of industries such as education, finance, government, technology and nonprofit. The list of speakers included the Honorable Ray LaHood ’71; Delta Air Lines Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Stephen Gorman '78 MBA; New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chief Operating Officer Nuria (White) Fernandez '82 and many more.

Speaking at the summit’s gala dinner, LaHood reminded participants of where many of them experienced their first brush with leadership — on Bradley’s campus. He said the University was integral in steering him toward a life of serving the public.

“This is the place that set us on our course for an opportunity in public service,” he said about his and his wife’s time studying on the Hilltop. “We’ve had leaders here, whether they were our professors or the people that were leading this University. Bradley has a rich tradition of leadership.”

Recent Bradley graduate Charlotte Uteg ’11 MA ’13 said the personal and professional conference helped open her eyes to the possible career paths that lie ahead and inspired her as she enters the professional world.

“This shows me all the success that Bradley alumni have had," she said, "and they started where I am right now. It makes me feel proud to be apart of the Bradley family.”

Although she was nervous about attending the summit alone she said the ease of networking with participants helped engage her throughout the weekend.

“Everyone has been friendly, willing to talk and get to know me,” she said. “I’ve learned about so many other people and their careers, both presenters and participants.”