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Part of Booth's Lead team
Booth's LEAD team includes (from top left): Max Eckman, Celia Paris, Mary Reid Ervin, Margaret Douglas, Brittany Royce, Sydney Alderson.

The Chicago Approach to leadership is woven into every aspect of the LEAD course. By developing insight and action skills in class, students conduct leadership experiments at work, in the Booth classroom, or in their communities. What does it mean to conduct a leadership experiment? For example, you might be motivated to try a new feedback process with a team at work or a new collaboration framework during a Booth group project. 

In the words of Evening student Dina Peck, “The most valuable experience for me during LEAD was taking the concepts we learned about in preparation for and during class and applying them to my life through the weekly experiments. Every experiment I tried taught me something, and I'm continuing to practice some of them to this day. The focus on how to apply what we were learning made the class extremely and immediately relevant.” 

Community Connections Build Your Booth Network in LEAD

Even in the remote learning environment LEAD is designed to make sure students connect. In every class session, Zoom breakout rooms are used to provide time to engage one-on-one and in small groups. All LEAD students are new to Booth, so the virtual classroom provides the opportunity for students to meet, network, and build community over the quarter. 

When asked about his favorite part of LEAD, Evening student Gandhi Bhakthavachalam spoke of the community building: “We formed strong relationships that allowed us to bounce ideas off each other, and support each other as we follow our commitments to our own leadership development, and stay connected as we go through the MBA program.”

Weekend student Ponmile Oloyede, adds “LEAD exposed me to a great slate of people I otherwise might not have met. At least two have become good friends of mine, and one is someone whose strengths I respect so much that he's now on my informal board of directors -people I reach out to on how to make the best of my time at Booth. I anticipate the relationship will outlast my stint in the MBA program.”

Additionally, LEAD utilizes peer coaching and accountability partnerships to establish an environment where students work together to explore leadership concepts, set goals, identify derailers, and build accountability for their own growth and development. Peer coaching and accountability partnering creates a safe space for working professionals to share their leadership aspirations, practice new leadership skills, and receive immediate feedback. 

“The most valuable part of LEAD for me was the ability to have empowering conversations with ambitious like-minded people and the overall environment that it created made it comfortable to share struggles and successes,” shares Evening student Patricia Bonaguro.

Part of Booth's Lead team
Booth's LEAD team also includes (from top left): Amy Smith-Horton, Katie O'Malley, Julia Peaslee, Betsy Sobiech, Chris Collins and Kate Bonk.

LEAD Brings You Relevant Leadership Topics

The LEAD curriculum is designed to give students a chance to explore current leadership questions and concepts. Topics have included: Values-Driven Leadership, Presence and Influence, Diversity, Inclusion & Bias, Stress Management & Well-Being, and Relationship Building & Collaboration. Each class session is designed based on an experiential learning (rather than lecture-based) approach. The course features opportunities for students to share resources and insights with one another via our course discussion board in Canvas , and any student who wishes to take a deeper dive can choose to expand their knowledge through additional readings and other research materials. 

Evening student Conrad Liu explains, “LEAD encouraged me to be more mindful about my leadership development. The encouragement to be more aware, to learn continuously, to conduct small leadership experiments and inspect and adapt, is probably more valuable than any particular insight that it taught.” 

After completing LEAD, Evening and Weekend students are encouraged to explore the other Leadership Development offerings including credit courses, workshops, and retreats. Read more about other Leadership Development offerings here

What Students Are Saying About LEAD

We leave you with more student perspectives on their virtual LEAD experience. When asked what they found most valuable, here’s what they said: 

“LEAD gave me extremely practical tips to improve not only my leadership qualities but also my general state of mind. Using these, I slowly started to feel a lot more focused yet relaxed at work, which helped boost my productivity and lowered my stress.” -- Sharoon Srivastava, Software Engineer, Microsoft 

“I thoroughly enjoyed the exercise where we were forced to think about different ways to express the same message. It not only allowed me to realize how people reacted to my messages, but also how I react to theirs.” -- Andres Arambel, Sr. Mechanical Engineer, Medical Device Manufacturing

“My favorite part of the lead experience was synthesizing my leadership snapshot. Each of the lead sessions influenced and illuminated my perspective on leadership and provided me with a far more coherent and nuanced understanding of my own leadership priorities.” -- Douglas Hamilton, Supply Chain Director, Manufacturing Industry

“LEAD gave me confidence to attempt things outside my comfort zone, build and improve relationships at Booth & work in a virtual environment.” -- Kiran Balakrishnan, Mechanical Engineer, FCA

“The most valuable part of LEAD? Knowing that I'm not alone! We are all from different backgrounds, working in different industries, yet we have very similar thoughts, fears, and/or concerns, and it’s good to know you are not alone.” -- Mahmoud Ibrahim, Business Development Manager, Panduit

Julia Peaslee

Assistant Director, Leadership Development

Assistant Director, Leadership Development

Julia Peaslee