St. John's University, along with many other chapters, faced a challenge during the pandemic. How do you continue to sustain student engagement? By using leadership skills The National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) teaches, the St. John’s chapter did more than just make it work—they continued to grow as leaders and develop strong bonds.
This didn't come without its challenges. For Danielle Spencer, St. John's Chapter President, the obstacles brought on by the pandemic seemed insurmountable at first, but social media proved to be an outlet that kept members engaged.
"Coming out of the pandemic, I thought it would be impossible to build engagement within our chapter again. Something that I love about our chapter is our social media presence. We do a lot of polls and we are always posting about what is going on. With this, people stayed super engaged and now, we get to hear everyone's voice when making chapter decisions."
We often see surprising wins emerge out of tough situations. By keeping a positive attitude and thinking of ways to continue to engage with members, the chapter leaders at St. John's were able to connect in a way that will carry on post-pandemic as well.
How the NSLS Helps with Job Placement
With the right tools and a strong intent, anyone can become a leader with the skill set to achieve career success.
The NSLS delivers leadership skills through an accredited leadership development program designed to fill the skills gap and provide an outlet to learn key attributes usually missing from one's normal college course work.
Being a strong leader in life—whether that's as a mother, a father, or a mentor—is one aspect of utilizing leadership skills. Another way the NSLS impacts students through leadership development is by helping them land that dream job and equipping them with the skills that will carry them throughout their career. The St. John's University chapter is no exception.
With those skills and the proximity to a major metropolitan job center, St. John's members have seen a direct impact as they seek employment.
"St. John's University is so close to the most amazing city in the world—New York City. The NSLS has helped members get internships and jobs in the city because of their leadership experience and involvement with the NSLS."
Whether a member is a sophomore looking for an internship or a graduating student looking to just get a foot in the door, Danielle has seen the NSLS program benefit everyone.
"For our graduating members, the NSLS has helped them get jobs before graduating. For our underclassmen, the NSLS has helped them get great internships that could set them up for future employment. The NSLS has also made a positive impact on our members' personal brand and networking."
Personal branding continues to be such an important aspect to one's future success, and it's something the NSLS focuses on. In an age of influencers and an ever-present digital landscape, students can sometimes get discouraged when thinking about their personal branding.
We've learned that great personal branding doesn't have to mean acting like someone else or diverging from your values. It's actually the opposite—sticking to your authentic self and successfully displaying what makes you unique.
Giving Members the Edge to Get Ahead
So, what are the leadership skills the NSLS delivers? They are the skills often forgotten about or believed to be inherent. We often see great leaders talking about tangible skills they've developed over the years to become more impactful leaders.
For Danielle, the NSLS delivered many different skills she wasn't receiving in the classroom. "This leadership role taught me a lot about scheduling and communication. There's so much that has to be discussed with others which means that sometimes I have to compromise to help the chapter as a whole. This leadership role has also helped build out my resume. It’s a great topic of discussion during interviews, which helps going into the world of education."
Compromise isn't the first leadership skill that comes to mind, but it's a learned skill that is important for growth, and something Danielle learned through her experience as a chapter leader. Similar to time management, compromise forces you to prioritize, which is important in one's career.
"Leadership isn't just being a leader. It's how you work as a team. Being able to hear people out, compromise, and work together is what's important when it comes to leadership."
That team mindset is key. Having a democratic leadership style puts the focus on everyone involved, giving voice to others and landing on decisions together. And for Danielle, it always comes back to that strong bond.
"I would advise creating a strong bond with your E-Board. I loved our E-Board and trusted them with every decision they made. This bond will trickle down to the rest of the chapter, which creates a really positive environment."
As impactful as their social media strategy has been, they're looking forward to more face-to-face time.
"I hope that our chapter can begin to host more in-person events to get to know each other and build even more connections."
The St. John's chapter is proof that staying engaged virtually has its benefits. Check out this in-depth look into virtual engagement to keep your communication skills sharp and to stay connected with others.