Missouri State University
Leadership Development Blog

Leader Bear: Liz Mayer

This week’s #LeaderBear is doing many things to be involved on campus and is not letting her involvement stop there.

Liz Mayer is a Junior studying Public Relations.  Sheliz has been involved in Distinction in Public Affairs and Centennial Leaders (where she will soon begin her role as a facilitator).  Liz served as the president of Freddy
Hall Council and the programming committee of Xi Omicron Iota. She became the events intern at Big Brothers Big Sisters where she played a part in raising over $600,000 for the local nonprofit.

When asked how this program has impacted Liz, her response included…

“I remember going to a Centennial Leaders session my first day of classes my freshman year; it was really nice being able to meet other freshman leaders and have an instant support group on campus. There is something really special about these programs and the opportunities they provide to students. Distinction in Public Affairs is something I would recommend to all students. While I was a part of the program, I worked closely with The Fairbanks (an up in coming non-profit located in a impoverished area of Springfield). Often times we get caught up in our own little world, so being able to step out of my comfort zone and really help the community for a whole semester was really awesome.”

Her advice to younger students includes…

“Join the club. I know this is thrown at freshman from the very first time they walk onto campus, but it is so important to get involved with something. Whether it is a sports team, fraternity or sorority life, or a religious group, the people you will meet and connect with in these organizations will be there for you during your whole journey on campus. Ten years from now you won’
t remember the silly argument you had with your roommate, but you will remember the experiences you gained from being involved on campus.”

Liz is going to make a wonderful impact on the incoming freshmen as a Centennial Leaders this fall.  Thanks for all you do, Liz!

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LeaderBear Spotlight: Caitlin Schaefer

This weeks Leader Bear has only been a bear for 8 months, but has filled her time with participation in many organizations and areas.

Caitlin Schaefer is currently studying Administrative Management and about to cap off her freshman year at Missouri State next week.  Her top five strengths are positivity, includer, communication, WOO, and futuristic.  She holds a position in our Centennial Leaders program where she contributes mucaitlinch insight to discussion from all of her experiences that are listed below.

Caitlin serves as the Executive Vice President of Alpha Delta Pi where she gets to serve a sisterhood of 240 women and work as a channel of communication to the national office.  She also serves as the Director of Student Affairs-Programming and Services for SGA.  With this position she holds, she gets to work very closely with nine other departments to ensure that their voices are heard as well as oversee the progress and completion of the new Taylor Health and Wellness facility.  Along with these roles, she is an active member on eight different committees as well as a member of a business organization called Phi Beta Lambda.  She continues to stay connected to Missouri State by working in the Office of Student Affairs as a Student Assistant and will serve as a SOAR Leader this summer!

Caitlin has recently passed a question on the spring ballot that has created a $100,000   fund that will be used solely on proposals submitted by students.  Lastly, Caitlin was just named FSL’s Outstanding Sorority Woman of the Year!

When asked what about Centennial Leaders has impacted Caitlin the most, her response included….

“What impacted me the most from the Centennial Leaders Program was the amount of support I received from the other participants, our facilitators, and our advisors. They were my first friends on campus, stood by my side as I was learning about myself, and pushed me to pursue further with involvement opportunities on campus. Beyond the people, the program alone impacted me by teaching me what it takes to be a successful leader. It gave me the opportunity to learn more about my leadership style, my strengths, and myself in one semester than I had learned in my entire life. I was able to gain a better understanding of how I communicate with others, the importance of upholding responsibility, and necessary traits of successful leaders. With that being said, the program impacted me in indescribable ways. It ultimately gave me the confidence to tackle college, and because of that, I am where I am today.”

When asked what advice she would give to incoming freshmen, her response included…

“My personal motto is ‘With every stress comes the opportunity for success.’ Don’t be afraid to accept new opportunities disguised as challenges because with every difficult situation comes the chance to learn a valuable lesson, apply it to yourself, and grow as a person.

Oh, and wake up every day like it’s your birthday and you’ll never have a bad day!”

Caitlin is a joy to be around and truly practices servant leadership with all that she immerses herself in.  She continues to grow as a leader with all that she does and we can not wait to see where she goes with the rest of her three years on campus!  Way to go, Caitlin!!!


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LeaderBear Spotlight: Ali Feris

Our Leader Bear for this week played a huge role in planning the STAR Awards that took place this Monday, April 25th!

Ali Feris is a senior who is studying graphic design and will be graduating in a short two and a half weeks!  Her top five strengths include strategic, responsibility, maximizer, futuristic, and focus.

During her past four years at Missouri State University, Ali has taken several leadership roles with

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Homecoming, Greek Week, co-curricular involvement, and planning the STAR Awards.  Specifically, she was elected the Parade Chair for the 2014 Homecoming (with a counterpart) and the Homecoming Committee Director for the 2015 year.  She was on Greek Week Committee in 2015 as well, in which she created the new, now being used, Greek Week logo, promotional flyer with sponsorship, and assisted in the t-shirt process (with a counterpart).

Ali has worked for the Office of Student Engagement as the Co-Curricular Involvement Student Specialist for the past three years where she works on entering travel paperwork, organization annual registration, and planning the tedious details of STAR Awards.  Those details include color scheme, flowers, linens, presenters, creating the introduction video, logos, invitations, tickets, programs, among many other things.

When asked what advice she would give to younger students, her response included…

“I know that this is something that you hear all of the time, but seriously get involved. But don’t just join something to put it on your resume, make the most of it. Out of the 360+ organizations on campus, there is one out there for you. From there, it is like a snowball effect and you won’t be able to/won’t want to stop. I came from a really small school where I was involved in anything and everything I could be and when I came to college, I thought that it didn’t matter anymore or that there was no way that I would be able to actually get in anything because there are so many students. Although, you have to make that leap and you won’t regret the friendships, memories and leadership skills that you will gain.”

Ali is a delight to be around and puts 110% into anything she does.  She has certainly created an impact on this campus and she will continue to do just that in all that she does with her future.


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LeaderBear Spotlight: Connor Aller

This weeks Leader Bear is an individual with a lot of heart for the FSL community.

Connor Aller is a sophomore pursuing a major in Accounting and a minor in Chinese.  His top five strengths are competitive, analytical, restorative, futuristic, and achiever.  Connor has many past, current, and future accomplishments to be proud of.  His leadership roles in his fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi, include secretary (2014-2015) and president (2015-2016).  He has earned outstanding accomplishments through his fraternity including Brother of the Year for two years in a row as well as the David D Morgan “Extra Mile” National Scholarship ConnorRecipient.  He plays an important role in SGA with being the current Director of Research and Development.  The position duties include creating surveys for over 3,000 Missouri State students to take.  He is a member of the Improv Team where he has learned to be a more confident speaker and performer.  Connor also works as the Fraternity and Sorority Life Student Specialist.

When asked what has impacted Connor the most, his response included..

“Working in the Office of Student Engagement has given me a behind the scenes look into Missouri State’s amazing leadership programs. Students who go through the Commerce Bank Emerging Leaders programs learn leadership lessons, life skills, and how to interact with peers. I have always had a passion for leadership development and it is nice to work in an environment that fosters that same success.”

When asked what advice he would give to younger students, his response included..

Don’t be afraid to admit when you are wrong. Owning up to your mistakes as a leaders is one of the most challenging and rewarding things you can do. It isn’t easy, but you will learn a lot about yourself in those moments, I know I have.”

Thank you Connor for all that you do within each area that you place your passions.  Your work does not go unnoticed!


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Leader Bear Spotlight: Zach Stout

Our LeaderBear for this week has been a wonderful addition to our Emerging Leaders and Centennial Leaders program!

Zach Stout is a sophomore planning to graduate in Spring 2018!  He is pursuing a major in Psychology with a minor in Child and Family Development.  Zach is cu
rrently the LEAD chairman for his fraternity and holds an exec position.  Before that he was the Public Relations and Brotherhood chairman.  He participated as a Greek God in last years Greek Week and sang during his performance!  Zach was a part of our Emerging Leaders program last year and then went on to become a Centennial Leaders facilitator.

When asked what has impacted Zach the most about our Leadership programs, his response included…

“What impacted me the most was how differently I view situations. In the Emerging Leaders program, I learned so many interesting things and got to understand just how different yet similar everyone is on campus.”

When asked what advice he would give to younger students, his response included…

“My advice to younger students is to GET INVOLVED! Whether it be through clubs, charity, greek life, etc. Getting involved on campus not only makes your college experience a thousand times better, but it also allows you to network and make new connections to better your future.”

If you are interested in becoming a Centennial Leaders facilitator like Zach, keep an eye out for applications coming out soon!

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Leader Bear Spotlight: Tyler Jones

TyThis weeks Leader Bear is down-to-earth, motivational, and has a whole lot of passion for anything he involves himself in.

Tyler Jones is a Marketing major and has an emphasis in Sales and Sales Management.  He plans on graduating in May 2016.  He was a part of the Commerce Bank Emerging Leaders program in which he found out his top 5 strengths which are Individualization, Achiever, Relator, Learner, and Belief.

His past accomplishments and involvements include being the social chair, public relations chair, and recruitment officer for his fraternity (Pi Kappa Alpha).  He served as the 2014 PR coordinator and the 2015 External Greek Week Director.  He was the a past Relay for Life Team Captain and a Ronald McDonald House Volunteer.  Tyler also held a summer internship at Centene Corporation for the past three summers.  Tyler currently holds the position of president for Pi Kappa Alpha.

When asked how our leadership programs has impacted Tyler the most, his response included:

“I could not be more thankful for the Emerging Leaders program. As a younger student, Emerging Leaders was the first step I took to truly know myself. The program challenged me to identify my strengths and weaknesses and pursue value-guided leadership.”

When asked what advice he could give to younger students, his response included:

“There is no greater value than knowing yourself. Be hungry to learn, live your values, serve others, seize opportunities, and reflect often. Most importantly, take it as obligation to lift others up along the way.”


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LeaderBear Spotlight: Brett Turner

Our #LeaderBear for this week is Brett Turner!  Brett is a junior majoring in Public Relations and brettminoring in Mass Media.  His top 5 strengths are restorative, belief, responsibility, harmony, and connectedness.

Brett was a Commerce Bank Emerging Leader and currently serves as a Emerging Leader facilitator.  Brett served as a SOAR leader for two summers and had the opportunity to serve as the Student Panel Moderator for the program.   He was the past president and vice president of his fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha.  During his presidency, the fraternity placed 3rd in the “Yell Like Hell” competition, named The Standard’s  “Trending Fraternity on Campus”, as well as having a charter approved to allow Lambda Chi Alpha become an official chapter on campus.  He currently serves as the fraternity educator as well as the executive committee member for his fraternity.  Brett is also a student leader for Cru and was selected to go on a summer mission trip to Côte d’Ivoire, Africa.

When asked how our leadership programs have impacted Brett, he responded:

“The Commerce Bank Emerging Leaders program taught me the potential that I have as a leader. I was able to learn about specific topics such as time management, and communication. Learning about these things allowed me to become a better leader and taught me to lead by example. I made valuable friendships and connections with my fellow participants that have lasted throughout my time in college and will last far beyond it as well.”

Brett’s advice for younger students includes:

“Don’t be afraid to get involved in what you love, but don’t spread yourself too thin. I have had semesters where I simply tried to do too much, and it is never worth it. Get involved with what you love, and focus your efforts on that.”

Brett is a phenomenal student leader with a lot of passion for what he involves himself in.  Congrats on all of your achievements, Brett!

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LeaderBear Spotlight: Shelby Greninger

This weeks #LeaderBear has taken on many roles at Missouri State!  Shelby Greninger is a senior expecting to graduate this May!  She will be recieving a degree in Marketing with an emphasis in Advertising and Promotions.  Her top five strengths include positivity, communication, motivation, WOO, and strategic.  shelb

Shelby played a vital role in our Commerce Bank Emerging Leaders Program.  She has also been a member of Student Government Association for 3 years where she served as the Executive Cabinet as Secretary of Senate and currently serves as Chief Communications Officer.  Shelby has held leadership roles through Fraternity and Sorority Life as the FSL Student Specialist in the OSE, a Panhellenic Counselor, Greek Week Committee Coordinator, and various other leadership positions in her sorority, Alpha Delta Pi.  She has been a Peer Leader for this fall in a GEP classroom. She is currently working as the Marketing Coordinator for Revel Advertising and a part of the Advertising Team. Shelby was selected as the 2015 Missouri State University Homecoming Queen!

When asked about our leadership programs has impacted her the most, her response included…

“The Emerging Leaders program set me up for success in my leadership roles here on campus. Learning about my leadership strengths made me aware of where I excelled and where I was lacking. I was able to use this information to interact with a team of people who also brought various strengths and weaknesses to the table. Knowing how to successfully collaborate, and being given opportunities to do so through the Emerging Leader’s Program, provided me with life-long skills that have helped me be successful and will continue to aid me in my future endeavors.”

Shelby’s advice to younger students includes…

“Advice I would give to younger students is don’t be afraid to get involved and get involved NOW. Don’t overwhelm yourself, but don’t hesitate to take steps to become a part of an organization. Find something you are passionate about and start making moves. This will bring you learning experiences, connections, life lessons and lifelong friendships. Take advantage of what Missouri State has to offer and embrace new opportunities to get out of your comfort zone to grow as a person and positively impact others.”

Shelby has been a great addition to many organizations at Missouri State and will continue making an impact during her future endeavors!

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LeaderBear Spotlight: Mackenzie Eisel

This week’s LeaderBear is taking initiative and using her leadership skills to serve in many areas of the community!

Mackenzie Eisel is a Health Communication major with a Spanish minor looking to graduate in May of 2018!  Her top five strengths are communication, activator, competition, woo, and futuristic.  She has been a great addition to our Emerging Leaders program!  Mackenzie has also served as the 2015 Homecoming Philanthropy coordinator.  Her greatest accomplishment since Emerging Leaders is her participation in bringing St. Jude’s Up ’til Dawn back to Missouri State’s campus.  She served as the 2015 Recruitment Director for this organization.  She now serves as the Executive Director  for 2016!!ME3 (2)

With being a member of traditions council, Mackenzie serves as the Publications Chair, to update and strengthen Missouri State’s traditions book as well as incentive program.  This has a lasting affect for student’s looking to invest in Missouri State’s traditions.

“The relationships I created during Emerging Leaders have fostered my successes since then. Emerging Leaders was an opportunity to work hand in hand with Missouri State’s greatest go-getters. Each person I had the pleasure of going through the program with inspired me in some way to get involved and work hard during my time here.”

Mackenzie has some words of advice for younger students!

“The advice that I would give to younger students is to jump right in! There’s no sense in wasting time getting accustomed to your schedule, or a lifestyle at college. These opportunities come and they go, but they are what will create the best life possible while you’re here at Missouri State!”

We are so proud of Mackenzie for putting her leadership skills into action and taking initiative to get involved at Missouri State!

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Leader Bear: Landon Swearngin

This weeks #LeaderBear is hoping to make a meaningful impact on Missouri State’s Campus as well as the Springfield FullSizeRender(6)community in our Distinction in Public Affairs program!

Landon Swearngin is a Criminology and Criminal Justice major and is expected to graduate in 2018.  He has been a great addition to our Commerce Bank Emerging Leaders program as well as Distinction in Public Affairs.  His strengths include competition, achiever, analytical, focus, and futuristic.

During his freshman year, Landon was initiated into Theta Chi fraternity and was elected to serve on the executive board as Secretary.  He then began participating in Phi Sigma Upsilon, and Emerging Leaders.  Landon was elected as the IFC Liason for Traditions Council and serves as a delegate for SGA and IFC.  His volunteering takes place with Big Brothers Big Sisters where he spends 2-3 hours each week spending time with an underprivileged 8 year old from northwest Springfield.  Landon serves as an intern for Oak Star Bank and Eric Greitens who is running for the governor of Missouri.  He was recently elected as the Theta Chi president!  He is currently working towards a project in Distinction in Public Affairs that will be presented at the Public Affairs conference.

Landon is looking forward to beginning the Accelarated Master’s program in Criminology and Criminal Justice next year!

When asked what about our programs has impacted him the most, his response included…

“Emerging Leaders taught me invaluable skills and allowed me to develop connections with many influential leaders on campus.  Through interactive and thought-provoking sessions, my peers and I refined our skill sets in order to be equipped with the ability to impact our campus and our community.  Now, as a participant in the Distinction in Public Affairs program, I have the opportunity to apply the abilities I have developed and see the impact of implementing the Public Affairs Mission within the Springfield community.  The leadership development opportunities that these programs provide have impacted me the most and, without them, I would not be the leader I am today.”

His advice for younger students is…

“Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.  Don’t be afraid to fail or make a fool of yourself.  I do both on a daily basis.  Be ambitious, be bold and be different.  Being normal is far overrated and very little can be accomplished in life if you refuse to step out of your comfort zone.  When I first arrived at Missouri State, I did not know many of my peers, I had no intention of getting involved on campus and I had no clue what it was like to be a leader.  Through joining Theta Chi Fraternity and capitalizing on opportunities through other leadership programs, I have been able to develop a ton of new skills, discover what I am passionate about and set myself up for a more successful future.”

Thank you Landon, for contributing your leadership skills on and off campus!  He is a great example of putting his quality leadership skills to action and working in the community.  Thank you for all you do!

If you are interested in applying your leadership skills, keep an eye out for applications coming out for Distinction in Public Affairs in the next few months!



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