Year 3 Summer: Part 1 Leadership

It is likely that some of the attributes that you identified as a leader included: honesty, effective communication skills, confident, positive attitude, proactive, flexible, adaptable, respectful, enthusiastic, open-minded, resourceful, interested in feedback, evaluative, organized, consistent, and initiative.

Now think about this: Consider yourself as that leader. What is your influence, whose lives have you transformed, and how have you, through your everyday leadership, transformed the world? Take a minute to watch this short clip of Drew Dudley talk about everyday leadership and about our immeasurable power of impact on the lives we touch.


Reflect on your lollipop moments. Describe a situation in which you transformed the lives of another. Discuss how you might capitalize on a mentorship relationship to strengthen your leadership capacity and your reach of influence?


Proceed to Part 2

9 thoughts on “Year 3 Summer: Part 1 Leadership

  1. I grew up, and still am, a pretty introverted person. I used to think that it took an extrovert to be a leader, but over time I have realized that is not the case. Because I did not always seek out leadership positions, they were occasionally thrust upon me. For example, when I was teaching in the Marshall Islands, I was asked to be the director of the English department at the high school I was teaching at. I felt entirely unqualified for the position, but culturally I knew it would be rude to decline, so I accepted. In their eyes, I was American therefore I was an expert, and in my eyes I was still learning the culture, did not know the local language, and had never taught before. This was one of my first experiences that I felt imposter syndrome. Over the course of the year, I collaborated with my fellow teachers (much more than I would have if I was not in a position of leadership) and I learned so much from these conversations. I also surprised myself because, while I felt I lacked qualifications/experience, I was still able to offer ideas. Because we lived on a rural island, most of the students lived without electricity. I established a tutoring program two times a week where students could receive support or simply work in the lit cafeteria with basic school supplies provided. We also developed a movie night where we projected American movies for students to increase their fluency in a fun way. Looking back there are things that I would have done differently, but I do think I made an impact (and am always delighted when I receive Facebook messages from my past students). There were also many lessons I learned that I have taken with me.

    I think I will feel a similar sense of imposter syndrome next year I as try to navigate a leadership role in the school system. I will have to remind myself that I have the tools and resources and that the most effective way to lead and grow is through collaboration. I am looking forward to having mentorship next year to help me navigate challenges, adapt collaboration techniques, and to challenge me to seek out leadership possibilities.

  2. I am thankful for my graduate experience, as I was encouraged to step up and be a leader in an abundance of opportunities (i.epresentations, clinic work, homework/projects, etc.). Prior to graduate school I was more of an independent/work alone type of person. Thus, when considering my “lollipop” moment(s), I had to really sit down and think and then it finally hit me, something that happened just this week.

    My best friend of 10+ years graduated school and is now a Physician Assistant in Boston, MA. However due to Covid-19 her position was terminated leaving her jobless. For weeks she has struggled to find a job in the Boston area – applying for jobs she knew she would be unhappy with. After countless hours on the phone and talking in person (me encouraging her to reach beyond Boston and apply to other places she wants to go); she finally admitted to me that she is going to take my advice. She said she commends me for making a move to a new area, where I know nobody, for work and if I could do it she could too. Though, this may not be an example of a lollipop moment in the professional realm I do believe this will change her life (and her future patient’s lives); hopefully for the better.

    I am excited for my clinical fellow (CF) year; I have two CF mentors this year that I hope to build a strong professional relationship with. The one mentor I have been in contact with is (in her words) a “retired but rehired” mentor – she has told me a little about her career and by the sounds of it she will be an excellent source of education and guidance. I plan to utilize my mentors for feedback and suggestions (i.e., leadership courses to utilize) to build on my strengths of being a leader. I know going into the school year is going to be a big transition, thus, I am going to need that feedback.

  3. Identifying a lollipop moment has been difficult for me. As I thought through people I may have impacted I moved from family to friends to acquaintances and was surprised when I realized the amount of impact I have made on an acquaintance. My little sister’s friend started college and the same university I was attending and her mom asked me to “watch out for her.” I didn’t think much of it, but I introduced her to a group in which she spent the majority of the next for years with. I also took the time to share my academic experiences with her and listened to her ideas and concerns for a major and career path. At my recommendation, she took a class with my favorite professor and is now applying PT schools. Looking back, I realize that expressing some initial kindness and making myself available to listen may have dramatically impacted her life.
    I hope my mentors will be willing to share their experiences with me and listen as I work through this first year as a professional. I hope to capitalize on this relationship by remaining confident in my abilities and skills, but not afraid to ask for advice and always remaining open to a new perspective.

  4. Thinking of a lollipop moment for me has definitely been difficult. I don’t like to feel like I’m bragging or boasting about myself, so that made it all the more difficult. However, I have remembered a time from my senior year of college that may serve as a lollipop moment. In college, I cheered and was in a sorority. My senior year, I was a cheerleading captain and also held a leadership role in my sorority. During tryouts at the end of my junior year, an incoming freshman was injured and had to watch during tryouts. I talked to her the whole time because I knew she felt excluded. She later messaged me on Facebook to ask questions about school, sororities, and cheerleading. During preseason training, I looked after her and always reached out to her to make sure she was okay. During sorority recruitment, I “pref’ed” her, meaning I basically tried to convince her to rush my sorority. She cried; I cried; and she joined. Fast forward to the end of my senior year, and it was senior recognition in my sorority. Every senior gets a video with little messages from girls in the sorority. This girl was in my video, and she talked about how she wanted to be a DZ when she was an incoming freshman because she wanted to be just like me. I was shocked because I never thought I had that great of an impact on her.

    I know my mentor for this upcoming year is the lead PT. I am hoping to learn more about her experiences and use that knowledge to become a better PT. Hopefully, the knowledge I gain from my mentor will allow for me to transform the lives of the children that I work with.

  5. Like others, it also took me a while to think of a lollipop moment I’ve had. I think what jogged my memory was thinking back to a time where I received somewhat unexpected thanks and learned that I wasn’t fully aware of the impact I had made on a friend and mentee. In college, I was the president of my club volleyball team for 3 years. Towards the end of senior year, I passed the baton to a younger player who had become a good friend of mine. Unlike me (possibly even a bit too outspoken at times), this friend had a tendency to be shy and irrationally uncertain of her own capabilities to lead. Nevertheless, I helped walk her through the ins and out of the job and make sure she was prepared to keep the team running when I left at the end of senior year. I checked in with her from time to time after graduation and things seemed to be going well. No major news. But then flash forward roughly a year later (I’m now in my 3rd semester of OT school), I receive the sweetest care package from my friend out of the blue, containing that year’s team sweatshirt and one of the nicest messages. I was both surprised and very touched to know that I made such a meaningful impact on her.

    In terms of mentorship for this coming year, I am very confident that I will have adequate support. I of course have Patty and Carole through ITIP. But within my school district, I will be one of 9 OTs. My home school was previously serviced by the new OT/PT/AdPE lead, I’m sharing the other elementary school on my caseload with an OT who used to service the high school I will be responsible for. AND an OT from the cohort above me at VCU also works within the county and has already provided me helpful information and tips. So while I’ll be sorting through uncharted territory (working with middle and high schoolers) and having lots of new experiences, I am confident that I will receive great support along the way. One specific way I would like to capitalize on mentorship is to develop a good working relationship with our department lead when I begin work next week and meet with her. She has a wealth of experience in school base practice and is also a member of the larger multidisciplinary AT team. It’s nice that we are connected through the fact that I am taking over her previous home school. I think she will serve as a great resource and help me expand what I can learn as well as my reach of influence by helping me find ways to contribute to the OT/PT/AdPE and AT departments in a larger capacity, i.e. going beyond just doing the work set out for me at the schools on my caseload.

  6. In undergrad, I was a peer mentor for an incoming freshman coming from a diverse background through a program called RISE (Resources Inspiring Student Excellence). I was paired with a high-achieving, kind young woman who was nervous to be leaving home and starting a whole new life on her own. Nevertheless, she was eager to make this experience one where she put her talents and skills to work and made a difference by giving back herself. I was so impressed that while she was so anxious about her own experience, she had the courage to establish that she wanted to contribute to the community right from the start. I commended her on this and served as a go-to mentor and friend for advice and anything she had questions about as the school year began. She went on to become class president, a committed volunteer to various causes, and a happy freshman doing great in her coursework. She attributed a lot of that success to having me there to guide her through the tough moments and the unknown. I am both humbled and grateful that I made an impact on the life of someone so driven and compassionate; she changed my life as much as I changed hers. I believe that having my own mentor relationship will impact me in similar ways and lead me to rely on my mentor for things that are nerve-racking or unfamiliar as well; I look forward to that relationship wholeheartedly.

  7. Personally, I do not think I am the type of person who has the ability to transform the lives of others. At least not in my everyday life, but I do believe a have a higher likelihood of having that impact through my job. I was a tour guide at UVA he summer of my second year. Students and families selected their tour guide based on the different schools at UVA they were interested in such as the McIntire School of Commerce, Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, Curry School of Education, etc. At the time, I was decided between Curry and McIntire, so I had students interested in those schools.

    The Deans wanted us to incorporate our stories and why we chose UVA as our school of choice. I basically shared my story of how I applied and was accepted to 9 different schools, which I did not expect UVA to be one of those schools. I basically talked about how they should never sell themselves short. I wanted them to be willing to take the risk and apply. UVA is very competitive in terms of getting into certain schools within the University, so I also mentioned once they’re at UVA to continue fighting and claiming what’s theirs. I didn’t want them to think that they would not succeed simply because of the fear of attending such a large and well known university. There were so many students and families that came up to me that said I was able to convince them to either apply or accept their invitation to the University and it meant a lot because I want people to be able to pursue their dreams to the fullest. So, I guess that could be my lollipop moment!

    I definitely plan on capitalizing on this mentorship year by getting guidance/advice on how to take the lead within my role during this school year. I am also placed at a middle school and I am prepared to provided services at any level, but middle school feels like unchartered territory. I just want to continue developing my leadership skills, so I feel more comfortable in this independent role.

  8. Like others in the cohort, I had difficulty thinking of my lollipop moment. A large reason for this is I would describe myself as having an introverted personality. This has led to me preferring to work by myself as opposed to working in a group. My undergraduate and graduate school experiences have helped me realize the importance of working in groups and being pushed beyond my comfort zone of talking to others outside of my familiar conversational partners. These experiences have also helped realize that a leader does not have to be extroverted, but a person can be a silent leader and still impact.

    To identify my lollipop moment, I had to reflect on past experiences with friends and family. The one moment that came to mind was my relationship with a close friend’s younger sister. The younger sister has a similar personality to myself, which is quiet and reserved. Over time, the sister and I began talking about colleges and future professions. She and I frequently spoke about Longwood and speech therapy. I was quite surprised when she expressed that she will also be applying to an undergraduate program for speech after talking about the profession.

    I plan to capitalize on my mentorship year by getting feedback and suggestions from my mentor on how to lead in my school position. With schools operating differently this year, I will utilize my mentor to discuss how to successfully reach others on the various platforms being used throughout the school year.

  9. After watching this video the lollipop moment that came to mind is personal – it has shaped who I am as an individual and a professional today. In this situation, I was the receiver of the lollipop, not the contributor. Nonetheless, it was this lollipop moment that transformed my perspective and attitude with every child I serve.

    Beginning in first grade my parents noticed that I was not performing as other peers my age. They advocated for better teachers, testing, school changes – of course, I knew all of this. However, it wasn’t until this summer that I understood the extent to which my parents poured their resources, time, and money. My parents were going through old paperwork and handed me a folder as thick as a textbook. It was filled with my testing documents, handwritten notes, bills from testing, IEPs, 504s – everything that we see daily. I teared up ( yes – cheesy I know) and finally realized what they had done for me. Each scrap handwritten note was another time my parents advocated for my wellbeing. If it was not for this folder, for the contents of this folder – I may not have graduated with a master’s degree.

    I hope to take this lollipop and pass it on to each student I serve in the future. Give each student and family the resources needed to be successful and obtain any future they want – even if they don’t know what that may be yet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *