Mortar Board Leadership Conference encourages an authentic path

Each year, the Barbara Cook Chapter of Mortar Board presents the Mortar Board Leadership Conference. It was developed to equip emerging leaders with the resources and knowledge to understand their strengths, develop their vision, and gain inspiration for an authentic path to success. During the conference, students attend breakout sessions led by distinguished professionals and interact with Mortar Board members. Trenton Howard, Zeb Davis, Cole Pearson, and Olivia West were able to attend this event in late January due nominations from peers, faculty, or staff.

They started off the day networking with fellow peers and alumni. Trenton (Sophomore; Agribusiness Management; Logansport, IN), had the honor of meeting Martin Jischke while at this conference. “The chance to hold a conversation with him was phenomenal and something that does not happen every day, making it the highlight of my day.” Later in the day, Purdue alumni shared their success stories along with insight to help the group succeed in the future. Trenton said he chose to attend this event due to his “desire to grow personally and professionally as well meet new people.”

Zeb Davis (right) pictured with Marcos Fernandez (center) and Jim Baird (left)

Zeb Davis' (Junior; Agribusiness Management; Reynolds, IN) favorite session was the "Dale Carnegie Training Course." Mr. Carnegie wrote the book "How to Win Friends and Influence People.” This 2-hour training course shed a great deal of light on seeking intentional relationships with others in the workplace and in friendships. “I gained a ton of helpful tips on how to have better conversations and how to really connect with people.” The biggest thing he learned from the conference was that you can make your life go wherever you want; it really comes down to getting to work, seeking genuine relationships with others, and defining what your purpose is. “For me, that purpose is helping feed the world.”

Cole (Freshman; Agribusiness Management; Delphi, IN) was impressed by the speakers and the students who were looking to improve themselves. He especially enjoyed the session on personal branding that was presented by Kendra Bracken-Fergueson. “In college it seems we need a statement of who we are, and that statement should be regularly reviewed and updated as our goals change.” This conference challenged him to set goals for himself and a plan to reach those goals.

Olivia (Sophomore; Sales and Marketing; LaPorte, IN) notes that her experience was a wakeup call because she realized the need to be doing more to expand her personal brand in order to better serve her community. She was inspired at this conference to chase greatness every day. “Often times, I get tired of the day in and day out part time job and class routine. This conference helped put the small struggles I face as a student into a broader perspective in which these obstacles shape who I am as a leader.” 

These students devoted their day to learning how to better themselves and to engage others. This is just another example of how there are multiple opportunities for student to continue to grow as young professionals outside of the classroom. Other AGEC students who attended were Claire Baney, Morgan Churchill, Katarina Emerich, Kayla Fogg, Blake Hinch, Thomas Letsinger, Harlee Sullivan, Emma Swain, and Natalie Taylor.

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