Insights from a Burgeoning Leader

From time to time our X-Factor Solutions blog allows us to hear from new voices!  Seeking input, advice, and counsel from others is a staple of my continuous personal leadership journey.

I recently had the opportunity to celebrate the college graduation of my son, Kellen, who received a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Texas A&M University.  While there, he also received a minor in Leadership and a professional certificate in Agricultural Leadership Education and Development.  That study, along with his various positions as a student leader on campus, gives him a fresh perspective on how leadership skills can be acquired, developed and applied.

So, this month, I asked Kellen to contribute to our blog by sharing his insights and perspectives on leadership.  I’ve been looking forward to his input but needed to wait until after all final exams had been completed and walked across the graduation stage.  Again, congrats.

Please welcome Kellen Moore to the blog…

Hi! I am Kellen Moore, a recent graduate of the Texas A&M class of 2024! Throughout my time as a college undergraduate, I took on a variety of different leadership positions and completed a minor in Leadership Education and Development. I’d like to talk about what I learned during my college leadership opportunities and how I plan to use my leadership skills in the future.

I have a passion for the environment and sustainability, so I became involved with the Aggie Eco-Reps, Texas A&M’s largest sustainability student organization. Their mission is to educate and promote sustainability on campus and within the residence halls. I held two leadership positions within the Aggie Eco-Reps: the Campus Events chair and the President, each coming with their own challenges and approaches.

As the Campus Events chair, I led a committee of mostly first-year students to plan service events and socials. This position helped me to identify and develop my unique leadership style, which involves harmonizing and modeling the way for others. As President, I lead an executive board rather than a committee, and I used what I learned as the Campus Events chair to serve the needs of my fellow officers, and as an extension, serve the needs of the organization.

During my senior year, I became a peer mentor for first-year Posse Scholars from Atlanta, my hometown. The Posse Foundation, a leadership and scholarship organization, gave me everything from mentorship to funds for college, and I wanted to give back by preparing more students for their lives in college. This included finding resources, advising on leadership development, providing a financial sustainability presentation, and navigating a predominantly white institution as a group of Black students.

Leadership Opportunities

Also during my senior year of college, I took five courses for my Leadership minor, each aiming to educate and develop students in different facets of leadership. These classes taught me the academic and ethical theories of leadership. I also took a personal leadership growth class to develop my preferred skills and strengths in leadership, such as inspiring others and being able to test them in real-world applications.

From these classes, I learned that I best lead through a situational approach, which identifies with the dedication and competence of the followers. I also appreciate these classes for focusing on the followership aspects of leaders, as a leader is only as effective as the followers they work with. I identified many of my leadership values through these classes, such as service to the community and developing future leaders. My classes were a great balance of the practical application of leadership I learned through my leadership positions and the academic foundation of leadership.

Through these leadership opportunities, I’ve learned a lot about myself, leadership, and my role within my communities. I lead through example by modeling the way for others to follow. I commonly tell others that I never expect my followers to do something I wouldn’t do myself. As a harmonizer, I lead best when building a personal connection with my followers. Finally, my leadership values serve my community and give back to those around me.

What’s Next

Using what I learned these last four years in college, I am prepared to continue serving my community at the Yale University School of the Environment. There I will be completing my Masters of Environmental Sciences. Environmental management is a team effort and I can contribute to my team through harmonizing and exemplifying the effort I want to see from others. My academic goals align with my leadership values of serving my community by conserving and soon restoring our natural ecosystems. I’m excited for my leadership journey and to see where it takes me at Yale, my career, and my life.