The National Society of Leadership and Success
Building leaders who make a better world

The NSLS Featured in the News

NSLS members across the country are actively working in being leaders who make a better world. You can find some of their stories covered in the news below.

   NSLS Adds Steve Madden to its Spring Broadcast Speakers Lineup
Posted on: Mar/05/2020
   Press Release

Photo Credit: Courtesy Image | Footwear News

The National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS), the nation’s largest leadership honor society, is pleased to announce that Steve Madden, founder of Steven Madden, LTD, will be joining The NSLS’s Spring 2020 Broadcast Speakers Lineup for a presentation on March 10th, 2020.

Steve Madden is a designer, visionary, and businessman best known for building a multi-billion dollar company that he started from the trunk of his car in 1990. Today, Madden dedicates part of his time to educating young people on entrepreneurship, growing a successful business, and avoiding common pitfalls. During the broadcast, Madden will share with NSLS members the importance of never selling yourself short, avoiding shortcuts, and how your past doesn’t have to define your future.

The presentation is scheduled to be held at St. Peter’s University on Tuesday, March 10th, at 7:02 pm EST. Interactive broadcasts of the talk will be available to all students of the hosting universities that have The National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) chapters.

Click Here to read more.

   Teresa Balestreri receives Excellence in Service Award
Posted on: Feb/03/2020
   Press Release

Judging by Career Services’ location in a nook on the second floor of the Millennium Student Center, it would be easy to assume not much happens there. But that couldn’t be more wrong.

What has been termed “a small but mighty staff” is tasked with guiding nearly 10,000 University of Missouri—St. Louis students toward achieving their career goals.

Director Teresa Balestreri stands at the department’s helm. Through her 22 years at UMSL, she’s focused on doing all she can to help students succeed. On Dec. 6, that dedication earned her an Excellence in Service to Students Award from The National Society of Leadership and Success.

Balestreri’s job encompasses a lot of roles – all designed to connect students with potential employers. Career Services offers job and internship search strategies, resume writing assistance and interview tips. Even before students reach the job-hunting stage, the department provides guidance on possible career paths within each major.

Click here to read more.

   Toys for Tots Drive
Posted on: Jan/03/2020
   News Article

Island University - a part of TexasA&M University in Corpus Christi, held its 14th annual Toys For Tots event in association with The National Society of Leadership and Success. The school is the only university in the nation located on its own island, at the heart of the Texas Gulf Coast. Their campus organization “Islander Lights’ sold tickets to the public to raise money for the event which welcomed Santa, a tree lighting ceremony, food, arts and crafts, and toy donations that surprised and delighted the children. 

Click here to learn more.

   Community Service is a way to give back - Alcorn State University NSLS
Posted on: Dec/05/2019
   News Article

The National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) is a community service and scholarship organization on the campus of Alcorn State University (ASU). The organization was founded at ASU on February 7, 2012 and its main goal is to not only assist the faculty, staff and students of Alcorn but to step outside of the campus and reach those in the surrounding community.

In October, the NSLS attended a leadership conference in Houston, Texas where they learned how to develop better leadership skills upon which they brought back to the campus and discussed with existing members on how to use them. President Alyssa Vessel, a Junior Political Science major from Baton Rouge, Louisiana received a scholarship while attending the event.

Throughout the Fall semester the NSLS has been actively contributing to the community. According to Vice President Shanique Strickland, a Sophomore Criminal Justice and Social Work major from Memphis, Tennessee, “Some of the events that we’ve done thus far have been a parking lot cleanup called ‘Shake the Yard Back’ which happened the morning after Homecoming, the ‘Shake Back Drive’ where kits were prepared with Saltine Crackers, Gatorade and water bottles and sat at the front desk of every dorm to assist students after the Southern University home game, a Lollipop Roulette which was held in the Dr. Clinton Bristow Jr. Dining facility and we visited the Jefferson County Nursing Home in Fayette, Mississippi where we spent time with the elderly.”

Read more here.

   NSLS Inductee Receives Educational Opportunity Program Honor
Posted on: Nov/07/2019
   News Article

Talk to Kathleen Altamirano for just a few minutes and you’ll hear her use the same word over and over.


The senior early childhood/childhood education major from the Bronx is a student in the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) at SUNY Cortland, which provides access and support to students with academic and personal potential.

Altamirano is grateful for the assistance she’s received from EOP, from financial aid to tutoring to the personal connections she’s forged with her fellow EOP classmates. That support has helped her reach her potential both in and out of the classroom and led her to become Cortland’s first recipient of the Norman R. McConney, Jr. Award for EOP Student Excellence.

“EOP gave me so many opportunities,” Altamirano said. “I was an EOP counselor this past summer for incoming EOP freshmen and I am so grateful that they saw something in me to become a leader for others. I’m proud of being an EOP student from SUNY Cortland. It’s definitely a family. Aside from the academic and financial, I can definitely say I can go to EOP for anything, no matter what. EOP definitely holds it down.”

During her first semester on campus, Altamirano struggled in class and landed on academic probation. It wasn’t so much the intellectual challenge of coursework that bothered her. It was her attempts to focus, organize and manage her time that gave her the most trouble.

Overwhelmed by college life, she considered dropping out of school entirely.

Tutoring and one-on-one mentoring from EOP staff, including Academic Counselor Judy Stoddard, helped get Altamirano back on track. Over the ensuing semesters, her GPA rose and Altamirano became active in a variety of clubs and organizations including Women of Color, Spanish Club and the National Society of Leadership and Success. She is the co-founder of a Latin ballroom dance club, Ritmo Latino, and is working toward establishing it as an official club sport before she graduates.

“I’ve just seen her blossom,” Stoddard said. “She can still grow in confidence in herself, but she knows what things she needs to work on now. She’s such a hard worker, I think she realizes that if she puts the hard work in, she’s capable of anything. That’s been wonderful to see. She reaches out for help when she needs to and that’s been key for her.”

By her sophomore year, Altamirano was accepted into Cortland’s Urban Recruitment of Educators (C.U.R.E.) scholarship program, which strives to meet the need for highly qualified teachers in city schools around New York state.

She became a role model and leader for other students during her junior year when she served as a resident assistant.

The notion of caring for others is in Altamirano’s DNA and it’s a major reason why she wants to become a kindergarten teacher and perhaps someday work in special education or counseling. But it starts with her family, parents Alejandro and Martha, and brother Oliver. Her parents have also adopted three siblings from foster care: Allison, Justin and Oscar.

“Ever since I saw my mom helping out for people with needs, especially from the foster care system, I always saw myself as so grateful to have a home with parents who care for children who don’t always get that love and affection,” she said.

Altamirano was beaming during the ceremony at the SUNY Global Center in Manhattan when she received her award. Not only did she get to meet other exceptional EOP students from around the SUNY system, she chatted with SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson and her state assemblywoman, Karines Reyes, who presented Altamirano with an additional citation.

So did her parents, who were amazed by their daughter’s achievements.

“They were crying. They were happy. They were excited,” she said. “I know they were very proud and it was emotional at the same time.”

Since news of her award has spread over social media, her family now responds to her calls and text messages with “Hello, famous Kat from the Bronx!”

The inaugural McConney Award for EOP Excellence was given to 42 students from SUNY campuses across the state. The late Norman McConney, who passed away in 2016, was one of the architects of the Educational Opportunity Program and was a champion for addressing inequities faced by economically disadvantaged and underrepresented populations. The award recognizes students who exhibit academic success, perseverance and leadership qualities.

“We are enormously proud of the students receiving these awards today,” Johnson said at the ceremony. “Many of them have overcome enormous obstacles to fulfill goals that once may have seemed unattainable. I applaud every one of them for demonstrating perseverance and determination.”

In the few months she has left in Cortland, Altamirano aims to remain engaged in campus life and be there in support for her EOP classmates and other students. She’s living proof that it’s never too late for a second chance, as long those individuals who need help are willing to put in the work.

“I’m a proud Latina from the Bronx and I’m proud to be the first of my family to go to college,” she said. “I know I have two supporting parents who came to America to chase for a better future for my siblings and I.

“I just want to be the example for other students who come from the Bronx that they can do whatever they set their minds to. Yeah, you can struggle, but you’re the only one stopping yourself if you don’t push yourself.”

   Waubonsee’s Chapter achieves President’s Circle Status
Posted on: Oct/01/2019
   Press Release

The Waubonsee Chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) achieved President’s Circle status for the 2018-19 academic year. The students completed nine of ten chapter pillars to achieve this status.

Advisors for 2018-19 were Spencer Brayton, Library Manager; Teri Fuller, Professor of English Developmental Education; Randall Hines, Assistant Professor of Computer Aided Design and Drafting; Anita Moore-Bohannon, Dean for Academic Support; and Dr. Mary Tosch, Student Life Manager.

   NSLS Member Featured by Brookdale CC
Posted on: Sep/01/2019
   Press Release

After 21 years as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), Thomas Polak IV decided to return to school to become a Registered Nurse (RN). Polak choose to attend Brookdale Community College’s nursing program because of the stellar reputation of the program. “I had heard so many positive experiences from friends, I realized there was no other choice than Brookdale,” he said.

Since Polak was already an LPN, he was able to apply for the advanced placement LPN to RN challenge. To be accepted into the program, students must attend an orientation, pass a math test, validate their nursing skills, participate in simulations and complete other requirements. If accepted, students can earn credit for three required courses or 11 credits, towards their AAS degree in Nursing.
Picture of Beth Stryker.

“From the moment I stepped foot on the campus of Brookdale, I have had the privilege of meeting phenomenal staff members during my process in registration, including everyone at One Stop, especially Beth Stryker,” said Polak. Stryker, enrollment specialist in admissions and registration, helps guide nursing students through the admissions process, and Polak said she was extremely helpful.

Polak said the decision to return to school wasn’t easy, but he knew if he wanted to obtain his goal of becoming a director of nursing, furthering his education was key.

“It had been a very long time since I had been in school, and I was aware that this will be a challenge,” he said.

Brookdale faculty members helped in the transition back to school for Polak. “The faculty at Brookdale are second to no one,” he said. “No one could have prepared me for this journey better than each one of my professors with their excellent instruction.” He particularly noted Joan Santa Croce as an inspiration who played a major role in his success.Picture of Tricia Daloia Gandolfo.

Polak also cited Tricia D’Aloia Gandolfo, nursing instructor, as being extremely helpful. “Her inspirational words, kindness and understanding have been the nurturing I needed to get through this transition phase in school, and I owe my success to her,” said Polak.


“I have truly been blessed with an experience that has surpassed all of my expectations as a student at Brookdale.”
-Thomas Polak
Polak said the small class sizes were also key to his success “The ability to learn is so much more intensive here and personal because of the ratio of teachers to students,” said Polak, who is a member of Brookdale’s chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success.

Not only is Polak succeeding academically, but he is also forging new relationships while at Brookdale. “It is difficult to explain, but every person that I’ve met on this campus has become a part of me,” he said. “When I see people from two years ago come up to me and say hello, this is not something you experience in a large school where people come and go,” said Polak. “I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to know all of these wonderful individuals,” he said.

“There are so many programs available to you on the Brookdale campus, regardless of which campus, there is no reason to get your degree at another college,” Polak said. “I have truly been blessed with an experience that has surpassed all of my expectations as a student at Brookdale,” Polak said.

Polak recommended students in the health science majors take the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) as soon as possible. This test can be taken once all foundational studies classes are completed. “When students wait, they don’t get put on the waitlist until the test is taken, and then students complain about the waitlist,” Polak said.

Polak’s advice to all students, returning students as well as traditional students, is to keep going. “If you focus on the prize, it will be attainable, and never put off your education for experience,” he said. “Although it is never too late, it is an awful lot easier when you are young.”

   Chapter President: "It's a life-changing society."
Posted on: Aug/01/2019
   News Article

(Kaitlyn Tambasco is an inducted member from Utica College and the chapter's Co-President. This article was originally published here.)

When I entered college, I knew I wanted to keep my involvement up. I was involved quite a bit in high school and wanted to carry that into college. During my college orientation, a common theme among the orientation mentors was involvement. Some of the students told us that they regretted not getting involved earlier. That really stuck with me and it’s something that I will remember for the rest of my life.

Within the first couple weeks of my first semester, I really took advantage of the involvement fair. At the involvement fair that semester, I signed up for Bible Study, the Newspaper, Music/Poetry club, Art club, Psychology club, History club, English club, Curling(which is a new sport in the Olympics), W.I.N.D, Circle K, Public Relations club, Student Senate and Theatre club.

Out of those clubs, I am an active member of three of them. I realized that signing up for all of those, would really put me behind in my school work. One of the clubs that I kept hearing about was the National Society of Leadership and Success. That was one table that I didn’t stop by that day. I just thought “honor society, I’ll never make it in” and really had no interest.

My second semester of my freshman year, my friend Brittany and I got an email about the National Society of Leadership and Success. We were both invited to join. The first thing I thought, was that it was a scam. The reason I thought it was a scam, was because you had to pay a fee. However, I got the email on my birthday and was feeling lucky. I eventually paid the fee and thought “okay, well I’ll give it a shot.” I attended the orientation with a closed mind. However, I did pay attention because part of me wanted to learn more about the organization. The students running the orientation told us how amazing it was to be in the organization and how many doors it’ll open up for us down the road. That’s when my mind opened up a little bit more. I thought that maybe if I go in with an open mind, I will get more out of it. Well, I certainly did. I did a lot of self discovery during the induction process. I remember one moment at Leadership Training day, we had to write down what we thought our purpose was. That was the one part that I left blank. I had no idea what my purpose was. However, it was good that I realized that now, then later in my life. It was such an eye opening day for me. Another part of the induction process, was to attend three speaker broadcasts. The one I remember the most was Anderson Cooper. I’ve always been a fan of him and thought it was so cool that we could watch him live. A few weeks before induction, I had heard that the NSLS e-board was looking for new members. I decided to apply. I wanted to get involved more that semester, as I was used to college life by that time. I broke out my pant suit and wrote out a resume, as I didn’t know how professional the interview was going to be. I remember being really scared for the interview. I thought, “maybe I’ll just stay for a semester and then quit.” A few days after my interview, I found out that I received Success Networking Team Coordinator. At first I was a little upset, considering that was not my first choice in a position. I thought that the advisor did not see what I was capable of.

After that, I found out that for my induction, I had to sit with the e-board, as I was an up and coming e-board member starting the following semester. I also had to help set up for induction and go to the e-board meeting the night before. I still remember that first e-board meeting. I sat on the end of the table, with my mouth shut. I thought to myself “what did I get myself into?” I was so nervous and so scared. I didn’t want to ask too many questions, even though I didn’t understand what was going on. I only really knew one other person on the e-board, as we were in bible study together. I figured that I could just ask her after the meeting what was going on.

For the induction, we all had to get there around nine that morning to start setting up. We all had different tasks, but I found myself constantly asking “am I doing this right?” I just wanted to make a good impression. That’s all. I didn’t want to get kicked out before I even had to start. I was constantly told that I was doing just fine and that I had nothing to worry about.

Towards the end of the induction, our advisor acknowledged all of the e-board members and thanked us for all of our hard work. At the time, I didn’t think that applied to me. All I did was attend one e-board meeting and then help with induction. However, when our advisor said my name along with “in coming SNT coordinator”, something changed inside of me. I stood up tall and embraced that moment. I smiled at my parents and my grandma who were watching me get that attention. I was finally here. That was the moment that I knew that I would be in this society for the long run.

When I officially started that following semester, I gained some confidence that I never had. I really never had thought of myself as a leader. I was always that girl that listened to everybody else’s ideas and never had the confidence to pitch my own. This time was different. At that first e-board meeting the following semester, I was very vocal and shared my opinion on things. When SNT’s were getting overwhelming, I spoke up. I didn’t leave anything behind. I asked for help when I needed it and I was never ashamed of that. Also, my first actual semester of being on the e-board, myself, two other e-board members and our advisor traveled to Baltimore for the NSLS retreat. There, we met so many other students and chapter leaders that were doing the same things we were. We shared our ideas, thoughts and our overall experience with the society. That was one weekend, that I wanted to relive over and over again. It was such a rewarding experience.

The semester after, I was a little bit more experienced. After having one semester down of being SNT coordinator and attending the NSLS retreat, I knew what I was doing. However, there was one day last semester that I was feeling very overwhelmed. With being SNT coordinator, you deal with a lot of emails. That day, I was getting so many emails from students regarding their SNT groups. I felt extremely overwhelmed at that moment and didn’t really know what to do. That’s when I texted my advisor. I explained my situation and just asked if I could do my work in her office. She told me that I didn’t need to ask and to just come up. I ended up staying in her office for about an hour and a half. I got all of my work done and we chatted after that. I was so grateful that she did that. It just showed me how much she cared for us. That was another moment that I knew I had made the right choice to pay the fee.

Now, as the current president of the Utica College chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success, I can now say that deciding to join really changed my life. I have gained so many life skills and have learned so much about myself, other people and the world around me. I have absolutely no regrets about joining.

The National Society of Leadership and Success is more than just a society. It’s more than just paying a fee and calling it a day. It’s more than just a resume builder.

It’s a life-changing society.

   Houston Mayor Congratulates HCC Students
Posted on: Jul/16/2019
   News Article

More than 260 students from HCC Central, Northeast and Southwest Colleges were inducted into the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS), the nation’s largest leadership honor society, on May 3 at the Central Campus auditorium. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, who served as the event’s keynote speaker, expressed his confidence in the students’ abilities and success.

“I know the future is in good hands,” said Turner, who shared a poignant story of how he recognized the leadership skills in his daughter, Ashley, on their drive to her college in San Antonio. “I congratulate all of you on your future success. I am looking at America right here in front of me. A great city is made of great people and great leaders come from all walks of life. I congratulate all of you on what you have done and will do in this great city.”

About the inductees, HCC Chancellor Cesar Maldonado said, “make no mistake, it’s your hard work that proves you have what it takes to succeed. The HCC family is proud of each and every one of you.”

There are more than a million NSLS members nationwide in 655 chapters. Students are selected for induction based on either their academic standing or leadership potential. Inductees must attend leadership training events, attend speaker broadcasts, submit reports and perform at least five hours of community service.

Since 2013, HCC has created six NSLS chapters and has more than 4,000 student inductees. In the past year, HCC NSLS members participated in such community events as food bank service days, an early childhood education day at House of Tiny Treasures, and as volunteers at several local conferences and governmental ceremonies.

Also honored at the recent NSLS induction ceremony were Joel Levine, Executive Director for Harris County Protective Services for Children and Adults, and Dr. Vernus C. Swisher, the retired CEO of Career and Recovery Resources. Excellence in Teaching recipients are HCC professors Walter Adams, Donald Parker and Arthemise Foley.

   Chapter President Earns Rising Star Award
Posted on: Jul/03/2019
   News Article

Emanuel Walker, Chapter President at the Community College of Denver, recently received the Rising Star award from the Colorado Community College System, honoring students and staff who have made key contributions to the overall success of their colleges and communities. Emanuel was also the recipient of the Outstanding New Student award from the Community College of Denver (CCD). 

“This is a special event that I look forward to each year,” said Colorado Community College Chancellor, Joe Garcia. “We are incredibly proud of our students and in awe of their commitment outside of the classroom, on and off-campus, to champion what they believe in. They will no doubt continue to make us proud as they take on their next academic chapter and career endeavors.”

Emanuel is currently working with the city of Aurora, Colo., to bring awareness to teen gun violence and mental health in the city, and he also recently worked with the city of Denver to create scholarship opportunities for African-American high school students in the Denver Public School District. The scholarships were handed out at an event called the Black Male Summit, where Emanuel had the opportunity to share his story and introduce Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and NFL star Brandon Marshall, who previously played in Denver. 

Congratulations to Emanuel and the enter CCD chapter!