The Willis L. Jones Leadership Center bases its programs and philosophy around the idea of authentic leadership. The Authentic Leader of the Month celebrates and rewards student leaders on campus who use an inclusive, relational approach to guide others towards achieving a shared vision.
Favorite Leadership Position/Opportunity: Sam's leadership qualities are no better showcased than by his work with Action 2 Africa. Action 2 Africa is a non-profit Kenyan-based organization that Sam started while living in Kenya. A2A helps provide education and economic empowerment to those who would otherwise be relegated to substandard living conditions. Even while working through his final year of rigorous nursing classes and clinicals, Sam finds the time to help those less fortunate and leads by example.
Favorite Leadership Quote: “The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative
Nicholas Munce, Senior
Role Model: One of my role models is former Starbucks CEO and philanthropist Howard Schultz. Howard grew from humble beginnings to great levels of success, while continuing to honor his roots. He works with inner-city housing projects and job preparation programs to ensure that all young people have a chance to advance themselves.
Favorite Leadership Position/Opportunity: My favorite leadership position is my current Officership at the Wisconsin Union! I love working with other student leaders to plan, produce, and execute community-building events on campus. Working together with my peers to take an event from conception to execution is an incredible experience.
Favorite Leadership Quote: "People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care" — John C. Maxwell
Jacob Hellman, 5th year Ph.D Candidate
Leadership Involvement: Advisory Chair, Beta Theta Chapter of Alpha Phi Omega, the National Co-Ed Community Service Fraternity
Favorite leadership position: I pledged Alpha Phi Omega as an undergraduate, and it has been opening doors for me ever since. For the past four years, I have worked with over 100 UW-Madison students I proudly call my brothers as they serve our campus and our community. I dreamed of merging my two passions - service and theatre - and made that dream a reality by creating a workshop entitled Exploring Your Leadership, Friendship, and Service Through Devised Theatre, which I debuted at our fraternity's biennial National Convention last year in Pittsburgh, PA. Leading brothers from across the country in a workshop that I designed about the possibilities of theatre and how to use those tools to embody their own experiences of our three cardinal principles - leadership, friendship, and service - resulted in a creative and diverse series of performance art pieces exploring why we do what we do
Ben Smith, Sophomore
Leadership Involvement: Vice Chief Justice, ASM Student Judiciary; Member, Student Misconduct Panel; President, The Colony Soccer Student Section
Favorite Leadership Quote: "Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense." - Winston Churchill
Michael Fix, Senior
Leadership Involvement: President of Transcend
Meredith Braza, Junior
Leadership Involvement: President of Students for Families and Children, Chair of Student Leadership Program, Historian and Public Relations Chair for Phi Upsilon Omicron - National Honors Society of Family and Consumer Sciences, Badger Volunteers Team Leader, Undergraduate Teaching Fellow
Favorite Leadership Quote: "The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers." - Ralph Nader
Stuart Deets, Junior
Leadership Involvement: President of the Chazen Ambassadors, Co-President of the Art History Society, #UWSocial Member and a BIG 10 Leadership Network member
Role Model: DeRay Mckesson. Because of his work with education and with Campaign Zero, a campaign to end police brutality, I think he, among others, is one of the next group of leaders in our country. His story tells us that we can all be activists. His story tells us that we can all be leaders. He inspires me to use the platforms I have to stand up for what I believe in.
Maikoau Vang, 5th year Senior
Leadership Involvement: Chair of the Hmong American Student Association; Parliamentarian of alpha Kappa Delta Phi International Sorority, Inc.
Role Model: My father is a leader within himself and is someone who does not give up no matter how hard life may get. My father is a perfect example of someone that grew up with nothing and was able to turn that "nothing" into "something".
Mitchell Forbes, Senior
Leadership Involvement: Co-President of Pre-Physician Assistant Club, University of Wisconsin-Madison Cheerleader, & Leadership Certificate Applicant
Role Model: My mother. She has pushed me to be the best person I can be, whether it be helping others or helping myself succeed in life.
Jillian Leenay, Senior
Actuarial Science and Risk Management & Insurance
Campus Involvement: President of the UW-Madison Actuarial Science Club
Most Memorable Leadership Experience: Leading the Actuarial Club as President. Before I was President, I was the Vice President of Member Relations and Engagement. This background gave me the push and motivation to really get to know as many members as possible. We have a club of 411 members, which makes this pretty hard. However, it is easy to get caught up and lost in a club like this and that is why my goal has been to really interact with everyone. Doing this I have made a countless amount of friendships and have mentored many people. I will never forget all of the joy that doing this brought me and I hope to continue this into my full time career.
Paria Sanaty Zadeh, Grad Student
School of Pharmacy
Campus Involvement: School of Pharmacy Student Ambassador and Student Connections Leader; Founder and current chair of the School of Pharmacy Doctor of Pharmacy and Pharmacology-Toxicology Research Symposium; Founder of the Clinical Pharmacy Pathways and Specialties Video Series
Role Model: Elon Musk, founder of revolutionary companies such as Tesla Motors and SpaceX. He has transformed multiple industries through his innovative, visionary thinking, ability to inspire and lead others toward his vision, propensity for courageous risk-taking, and incredible resilience to adversity. The great sacrifices he has made and the passion he puts into his work to create such forward-thinking industry game-changers inspires me. His achievements motivate me to never settle for the status quo, and to always keep questioning how things are done, pushing the boundaries, and finding ways to make things better. Most importantly, his story has taught me to refuse to ever give up on achieving my vision, even when on the brink of failure. "Don't be afraid of new arenas. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough." –Elon Musk
Favorite Quote: "Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others." –Jack Welch
Rachel Wanat, Senior
Political Science & English Literature
Campus Involvement: 2015-2016 director of WUD Publications
Favorite Quote: Pretty much anything that Leslie Knope, leader extraordinaire, has ever said.
Madison Eckle, Junior
English Language and Literature, with certificates in entrepreneurship and digital studies
Campus Involvement: Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus Wisconsin, an online magazine. Here leadership has led to the expansion of the Her Campus Wisconsin team and increased their chapter standing to Gold level.
"Before joining Her Campus, I had this crazy unreal idea that being a leader wasn't an area in which you could grow in. After hitting my year anniversary being Editor in Chief of Her Campus Wisconsin, I've reflected on the experiences of 2015, like attending HerConference, a women's leadership conference in New York. With the help from skills learned at this conference, I've been able to adjust my forms of leadership for different people, obtain nearly impossible goals with help from an amazing exec board, delegate tasks and (for the first time in my life) happily take constructive criticism. While I have years to go in being a leader like Anna Wintour or Leslie Knope, I am excited to grow with Her Campus and our amazing team at the University of Wisconsin!"