In my senior year in college, I assumed leadership of the Human Race Fraternity. Through my years as a member, I saw the fraternity achieve a lot and sometimes, though I hate to admit it, operate at a low level of mediocrity. I sat down with other officials to chart a course for our fraternity for the academic year. There were some things I wanted the fraternity to do differently and this was my chance to push my agenda. Most importantly, I wanted the fraternity to increase its charitable activities.
I proposed that we [fraternity] organize a charity drive—a weeklong event full of activities geared towards giving to the less privileged members of the society. Unsurprisingly, I ran into some resistance from senior members of the fraternity. They were satisfied with the status quo and did not want to put in the extra work needed to organize the charity drive. After a lengthy debate, I convinced them on the positive impact of the charity drive and the need to give back to the society. We went ahead and organized a weeklong charity drive on campus that featured a seminar, fund raising events, collecting donations and spending a day helping at the local ‘motherless babies home’. We raised over N55,000 (roughly $2,500) that went towards buying diapers, food and renovating the home. We received accolades for our effort from the university administration and members of the community. This boosted our name recognition and image, both on campus and the immediate community.
I felt tremendous satisfaction seeing all we accomplished. From this experience, I learned to value teamwork and what a team can accomplish when its members buy into the team’s vision. I, also, learned how to rally people towards a common goal. This experience taught me how to delegate authority and set priorities. The speeches I gave at the seminar and dinner, enabled me overcome my fear of public speaking. My experience marketing the idea to members of my fraternity, university administration (to get permits) and local businesses (sponsors) taught me a lot about articulating my ideas in a convincing manner and packaging the idea to different audiences. Finally and most importantly, I learned that being a leader is not simply assuming a leadership position, but being able to inspire others to follow and believe in your vision.