In September, I had the pleasure and the privilege to attend the Colorado Leadership Alliance’s Leadership Exchange Program (LEX) in Salt Lake City, Utah. As one of two students in attendance, it was an amazing privilege and honor to be representing the Pioneer Leadership Program, along with the University of Denver, during our three-day visit to Salt Lake City.
As a student leader who is constantly striving toward both personal growth and community change, it was an absolute dream to attend the LEX trip. Day in and day out, I was able to interact and develop close relationships with incredible leaders, many of whom are now my role models. All hand-selected by LEX, these individuals are truly wonderful stewards that are dedicated to their personal communities and leadership journeys. Although many of us worked in different sectors, were different ages and had different backgrounds, we all united over a shared vision: creating a better Denver and a better tomorrow.
As a student, I never imagined that I would be in the same room, let alone on the same airplane, with prominent local leaders like Governor John Hickenlooper, Mayor Michel Hancock, and even former PLPer and DU alumn Erik Mitisek. Somehow though, with support from PLP and my university, I was suddenly immersed into an incredible weekend filled with learning, leadership, friendship, and fun.
During excursions and events, I made it a priority to dive into stimulating and important conversations with various individuals who have enacted incredible change and leadership practices within their own cities, companies and communities. There were 165 delegates (including myself) on the trip, which made it hard to meet and socialize with everyone, but I absolutely loved meeting a new person during our jam-packed days, as every interaction was eye-opening and inspiring for myself as a developing leader.
Reflecting on LEX, I can happily say with immense gratitude that my leadership perspective and my leadership practices have forever changed for the better. The relationships I developed over the weekend in Salt Lake City, along with the lessons learned and experiences gained, are all things that will inspire me to be both a better leader and a better person in the future. It’s been a great pleasure sharing my once-in-a-lifetime experience with my peers and fellow leaders on campus, along with those in my workplace, and I can happily say that my experience with LEX and the Colorado Leadership Alliance will be something that I always positively reflect on as a continue to develop myself as a leader.
In the words of Salt Lake City’s mayor, Jackie Biskupski, “let’s forge a better future.”
Blog post written by: Jillan Queri