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Founding Chapter President Shares Her Leadership Journey

Starting a chapter of The National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) isn't easy. As the only accredited leadership honor society in the US, our program is built to deliver the real-world skills that will set students up to be leaders in their lives and careers.

The NSLS Internship program allows students to start a new chapter on their campus, create an Executive Board, and bring in new members to experience our leadership development training. Natalia Sloma did just that at Northeastern University, generating incredible buzz and an impressive number of E-Board applications.  

She knew it would be a large undertaking, but like any great leader, she embraces new opportunities and understands that hard work is the first step to achieving your goals. 

"I’ve been told by my friends that I’m always so busy. I am busy, but I don’t let myself get overwhelmed. I do what makes me happy and I give it my all."

Seeing the Light at the End of the Tunnel

Natalia cites the pandemic as a driving force for her go-getter attitude. When the world shut down, it negatively impacted many young students and there was a sense of catching up for many of them.  

"I think this drive came from never having a proper high school graduation. I worked so hard all those years as millions of other graduates did. Reflecting on it now, I was so devastated when this happened but it really pushed me to be even more driven to succeed and lead."

Her positive outlook is reminiscent of a former Speaker Broadcast guest, Matthew McConaughey, whose life philosophy rests on the belief that even “red lights” (negative circumstances) can turn into “green lights” if you give them time or spin them in a positive way. He elaborates in his book Greenlights, which is an NSLS Leadership Library selection. 

Natalia turned the pandemic into a green light and tackled all she could. She’s the class representative for the School of Pharmacy, is enrolled in the accelerated Doctor of Pharmacy program, and holds several leadership roles in many different clubs.

She also joined the Northeastern Alliance of Civically Engaged Students (ACES), has been consistently volunteering at a food kitchen, and signed up for the Bouvé Student Ambassadors organization, mentoring incoming first-year students. 

On top of that, she is always working at least one job, is a brand representative with several companies, and is a student-athlete on the Division I Northeastern dance team. 

"As soon as I got to college, I thought, 'I am not letting this get to me.' I didn’t let Covid be an excuse for not doing things, joining clubs, or getting settled into my new school. I continued to be the hardest working person in the room, even when the world stopped." 

Starting an NSLS chapter was an easy decision for the ambitious student leader, even if she knew she had her work cut out for her. 

How the NSLS Builds Effective Leaders

Unlike the other leadership roles she holds on campus, the NSLS is the only one in which she can say she started herself. In just the first few months, she says the process of bringing a chapter to her school has had a positive impact on her development as a leader.

"I’ve learned more than ever before about my leadership skills and how to encourage others to be confident in their own skills. I’ve received an overwhelming amount of support in this role, not only from my incredible Chapter Director Renee Connelly, but from my Faculty Advisor Mike, my vice president, and my friends and family."

Through social media and other outreach techniques, she received over 80 Executive Board applications. "My chapter is off to such a strong start that the social media accounts I’ve created have notable followings and I could not possibly feel more encouraged by my peers to continue this journey full-stride."

The NSLS takes a multifaceted approach to leadership development, providing students with opportunities to develop important skills they might be missing in their regular course work.

"I’ve developed my leadership skills and helped others do the same. I’ve encouraged my friends and social media followers to put themselves out there by applying for my E-Board even if they were on the fence. I’ve been inspired by Speaker Broadcasts and NSLS Leadership Library books, talks, and lessons the NSLS features on their website."

She's already learned a valuable lesson about the power of leadership, and its importance to the people around you.

"I’ve learned that leadership is not about yourself. It’s about how you connect with others.

Watch Natalia Talk About Bringing the NSLS to Northeastern

Natalia's Advice for Future Leaders

Relationship building and teamwork are the kinds of soft skills hiring managers seek, because they are the fuel that can inspire people to succeed and help grow an organization.

Natalia realized that creating her E-Board and developing relationships has been the key to success. She's already reformulated what leadership means to her, but it still all starts with hard work

"I grew up in a family of hard-working parents and relatives who continue to inspire me every day. Success is not always guaranteed right off the bat. One must push themselves out of their comfort zone first, and that’s where growth happens."

She also reiterates the importance of taking on the unknown. You may have specific goals in life, but you shouldn't shy away from new opportunities. Ultimately, she hinges on the importance of servant leadership, especially after her experience forming her E-Board. 

"Knowing you’re a leader is one thing; knowing the importance of teaching others how to lead is another. When you share your abilities with others and help them be as good as you, it makes you that much better."

She hits on our mission at the NSLS. Having leadership skills is one thing; using them for the greater good completes the cycle.  

"The ability to teach fellow leaders rather than giving orders makes you someone to connect with on a human level and allows people to know you’re there for them rather than telling them to do things. Encouraging personal and professional growth as you teach others to succeed is important in a true leader. Be positive, friendly, true to yourself, and connect on an emotional level."

Her long term goals have our mission built into them as well, as she hopes to use her degree to help others. 

"I want to connect with those who are at their lowest on a deep level, be a positive and helpful hand for those in need, and help other people feel better through medicine."

We look forward to seeing the positive impact Natalia will make for herself and those around her as she continues to hit her goals. 

Goal-setting is so important to achieving success. But many have a hard time getting started so we've broken the process down for you.