ESSAY PROMPT: Please compose a 500-600 word essay that addresses each of the following questions: Reflecting on your participation in the 20/20 Leadership program, how have you grown as a leader? How will you use what you’ve learned in the future? What does “leaving a legacy” mean to you?

Alumni 11

        Growing up, I’ve often contemplated the essence of leadership. Is it merely stepping up to tasks others avoid, or does it hinge on possessing authority and a notable profile (business owners, police chiefs, ect)? Through personal growth, reflections, and experiences, I’ve concluded that leadership is entirely subjective. My personal belief when it comes to leadership, is that leadership is rooted in one’s ability to inspire and guide others, especially in moments of uncertainty and even chaos. Despite being recognized for leadership traits from an early age, I’ve always aimed to embody true leadership. This aspiration would later on gain momentum after my participation in the 20/20 leadership program, which significantly toned my leadership abilities.

        An illuminating example of this transformation unfolded when I was appointed captain of the soccer varsity team. Despite not being the most technically skilled player, my coach saw something in me—perhaps an innate ability to motivate and unite the team—that warranted my selection as captain. This pattern would later continue into wrestling, where I led by example, pushing my teammates to surpass their perceived limitations. Aside from high school, the leadership abilities that I acquired from the 20/20 leadership program would start to affect my regular day to day life, particularly in the busy South Plaza area where I juggled two jobs. One particularly memorable instance stands out—the 2024 New Years day. 

        It was a seemingly never ending day, and it was not one of, but it was the busiest day ever recorded in the restaurant’s history, and as luck would have it I found myself working the curbside shift that night, and working it alone at that. The line seemed endless, and panic threatened to disrupt the restaurant’s operations. Sensing the urgency of the situation, I stepped in to reassure and organize the team, ensuring smooth operations throughout the shift whilst also keeping up with my curbside. Post-shift, my manager’s gratitude was evident, expressed through a heartfelt thank you and a gift card to a very fancy steakhouse.That evening, I felt a profound sense of accomplishment. 

        Not only had I navigated the chaos with composure, but I had also set a record for the highest tips generated from the curbside service, a tangible testament to my effective leadership; I had left a legacy that night. To me, leaving a legacy involves making a lasting impact, and my manager’s acknowledgment of my unique approach further solidified this belief. Looking ahead, I am confident that the leadership skills cultivated through the 20/20 leadership program will continue to serve me well in future endeavors. By inspiring and guiding those around me, I aim to foster an environment of collaboration and success. In essence, leadership is not just about taking charge; it’s about empowering others and fostering a sense of unity in the pursuit of common goals. As I reflect on my journey thus far, I am reminded of the transformative power of effective leadership, and I remain committed to making a positive difference wherever I go.