"The unique challenges that young leaders face today are heavily due to the digital age era. As problems arise in our day-to-day lives, for the first time we can connect with people all over our world through social media. Whether those issues are institutional racism and bigotry, discrimination on the basis of sexuality, understanding how to balance traditionalism and progressivism, or even women in leadership, all of us deal with these issues head-on, arguably more than the adult leaders of our establishments, because we are more active on social media. By the time our adult leaders have heard about something that’s happened, it’s old to us. In a way, this positions student and young adult leaders at the front lines of all that goes on in our world. How we respond not only impacts those around us and our institutions, but all of our connections on social media. Our problems are viral, more so than ever before.
My experience leading at Southern over the past year has been an incredible journey. Deciding to tackle issues head-on has been a patient process and a growing endeavor. Too often, people who get into these positions can easily become complacent, but I decided to challenge myself, my institutions, and my constituents to learn how to tangibly foster unification on my campus. It wasn’t easy and it’s still a growing movement, but I know that this year we have been able to lay a foundation and inspire others to continue to have such conversations. That’s what leadership and mentorship is about."