Wartburg helped me find ways to lead

NAME: Haley Meyer 
CLASS YEAR: 2021
HOMETOWN: Fayette, Iowa
MAJOR: Business

INVOLVEMENT ON CAMPUS: Pathways Peer, igKnight Mentor, Dance Marathon, Students UKnight, NSLS, PRSSA, Phi Beta Lamda, Homecoming Committee

Haley was one of four Wartburg students chosen to attend the National Character & Leadership Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colo., Feb. 21-22, 2019, at the U.S. Air Force Academy, as part of Wartburg’s Baldwin Leadership Fellows Program.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE WARTBURG: I wanted something small that felt like a home. When I got on campus, it just kind of felt right. I didn’t know what my major was going to be, but there’s a really great program for exploring majors.

WHY DID YOU PURSUE A LEADERSHIP MINOR: I knew that it would lead me to more opportunities. I’m from a small town, so I looked at everything that I could be involved with if I did leadership and it felt like a good thing.

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE BALDWIN LEADERSHIP FELLOWS PROGRAM: I was in LS 115: Exploring Elements of Leadership when I got an email that said I was nominated for it. I hadn’t heard of it and was questioning whether or not I should apply but decided that of course I should.  I didn’t think I was going to get it because I was a first-year and felt like I wasn’t accomplished. I wish that more people could be part of this program. I came back inspired and ready to lead. It was a great opportunity and great experience, and I’m very grateful that I was chosen.

Haley Meyer

WHAT PROGRAM ARE YOU DEVELOPING FOR YOUR FELLOWSHIP: I’ve decided to plan a big campus event centered around women’s leadership for emerging professionals. I’m in the planning stages currently, but the end goal is to provide a conference or workshop event that our Wartburg students can come to during my fourth year, with a keynote speaker and maybe even some panelist speakers. Personal development in general is something I have always been passionate about, and I’m so excited to get the ball rolling!

WHAT WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE AT THE AIR FORCE ACADEMY LIKE: That was the coolest thing ever. We stayed with cadets and I knew nothing about the military. Once you get there it’s a surreal experience because you’re surrounded by people in uniform. You have to understand that they’re people too, and I really saw that when I was with my cadet.

WHAT WERE YOUR TAKEAWAYS FROM THE CONFERENCE: We had three speakers who stood out to me. The first was Rodney Bullard, the executive director of Chick-fil-A Foundations and vice president of corporate social responsibility, so basically the most business guy there. He was all about business and leadership and his main point was that significance eats strategy for breakfast, so you have to have a meaning behind what you want to do and then strategy follows that. Brené Brown talked about vulnerability in leadership and how important it is, which was cool because she was talking to military leaders. The Chief Master Sargent of the Air Force was all about attitude. You have to set high standards for yourself and others and make sure you follow through with them. And then with attitude, if you walk in positive every single day, things will happen. I liked that a lot. Staying with Lydia (my cadet) is one of the coolest parts of the whole experience and probably one of the things I’ll remember most. Her experience has been completely different from mine. We talked about our college experiences so far and how we both found community where we are. It was cool to see how professional she was with the uniform on and when it was off, she was just like me.

HOW DID THE CONFERENCE CONNECT TO YOUR PERSONAL LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT: Brené Brown talked about taking responsibility, and I think I’ve done that, but I can be even better. When you make a mistake, take ownership about it. I’ve thought about doing that in little things like during group projects or being on time. Also finding that positive attitude and finding meaning in what you do. You have to love what you do. That’s something I’ve known but not been told, and I’m trying to find opportunities to love what I do on campus. 

HOW HAS YOUR LEADERSHIP JOURNEY CHANGED OVER TIME: I was never the one to offer to be the leader or step up – I’ve always been the helper and the great follower that everyone wants. I’m finding my confidence in becoming a leader. Being in this program has given me confidence to become a leader too, and just knowing that everyone can be a leader in different ways. You can be quiet and still be a great leader – it’s actions more than words for me.

WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO DO AFTER GRADUATION: I want to make people happy. It’s so cheesy, but it’s really what I want to do. I want to possibly own a business where I truly can control what goes on and have a positive environment. I want to work somewhere where I feel like I’m making a positive impact and just working with positive people.

WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU NEVER THOUGHT YOU COULD DO BEFORE COMING TO WARTBURG: Be in a leadership position. I just didn’t have the courage and I always thought I was that great helper who was always there. I’m finding more ways to become a better leader and I never thought that was who I was.

HOW DO YOU FEEL YOU ARE LIVING OUT THE WARTBURG MISSION: The professors and one-on-one connections make me feel like I’m getting a completely different experience than my peers at other colleges. If we have questions, we can ask them – the professors are always going to put in the work to make sure you can succeed. Outside of putting in all that work into learning as a college student for me, has been getting involved with organizations. It makes me feel like I’m contributing in other ways than just being a college student, which is a job as it is. That’s the service part for me, and my project will focus on the service aspect, too. I’ve gone to some faith groups and I’m exploring my faith with people who are the same age as me. My faith in myself and in what I want I want to do have grown a lot. I’m still not exactly sure what I want to do, but I know the direction I’m going.

WHY WAS WARTBURG WORTH IT: It’s brought me lifelong friendships and travel opportunities and gave me the opportunity to grow in every single way.