New Female Leadership Program at Benedictine University

February 23, 2022
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Female Leadership Program

“For me, what I hope they walk out of here with such a strong sense of themselves, that they can do anything they want without question and do so really proudly and authentically,” said Nicki Anderson, director of the L.E.A.D.S program.

Benedictine University has a new program dedicated to developing young, female leaders and helping them to grow. L.E.A.D.S, which stands for Leadership, Empowerment, Action, Development, and Service, is a four-year co-curricular program led by director Nicki Anderson, who was the former president and CEO of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce.

How Does it Work?

“I didn’t want ok, here are the seven things that mean leadership. I wanted it to be different,” said Anderson. And to make it different meant enlisting the help of Nancy Sayer, who developed the curriculum. That revolves around four key components – leading with benevolence, leading with vital engagement, leading with soul-filled purpose, and leading with truth.

“Not only will they have a toolkit of things to take into the world. But more importantly, they’ll have the character development and confidence to take into the world and take what’s needed for a solid leader in our world today,” said Sayer. L.E.A.D.S involves a combination of workshops, speakers, activities, and service-oriented work to help grow the future leaders. The first cohort started this past fall semester with a total of 19 young women.

“I just love seeing the passion of these students. They come in and they are so excited to – I want to be a leader,” said Anderson. But I think we have an opportunity [to show them] that leadership might not be quite what you think. And so we have an opportunity to redefine it in a way that empowers them and gives them the opportunity to do some self-exploration and again go out and be all that they can be. I wish I would have had something like that, that just would have been awesome.”

Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.