Leadership is one of the most heavily encouraged skills for students at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business to develop before applying for new positions. In addition to leading clubs or organizations on campus, students can participate in a program that focuses on challenging themselves to expand their leadership skills and “disregard the impossible.” This program is LeaderShape.
This annual six-day institute held at the YMCA Camp Letts on the Chesapeake Bay helps undergraduate students develop invaluable leadership skills. During the program, students are challenged to step out of their comfort zone and envision, create, support, and develop a vision to change the world for the better. This unique and productive environment encourages students to both learn from and teach their peers.
On Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, first-time LeaderShape participants celebrated their accomplishments and came together to dive back into old memories at a LeaderShape reunion. Former participants from 2014-17 gathered in TerpZone, and shared their memories of their past experiences. “I walked in with 60 students and left with 60 family members,” explained Ammar Qureshi, senior finance and accounting double major. “It’s crazy, but the six days I spent there changed my life.” Freshman finance and information systems double major Ashley Feng explained, “LeaderShape inspired new ways of thinking, and is a great program to form new, unexpected friendships.”
Jason DeSanto Jones, director of the LeaderShape Institute, has helped transition students into lifelong leaders for five years now. Through watching the program grow, Jason has truly seen how transformative of an experience it is, and encourages all to apply. “It will change the way you think about yourself, each other, and the world around us,” Jason explained. “It models the infallible strategy of creating supportive environments that nurture new ideas and are unafraid of failure.”
For more information on LeaderShape visit www.rhsmith.umd.edu/leadershape.