local leaders share their experiences with students

Evelina Gaivoronskaia | Staff Writer

Della Johnson | Staff Writer

Local leaders ignited purpose and passion in students.

On October 9, six leaders talked to students at Mason High School and gave them advice on how to become a better leader in their community. The speakers were Shakila Ahmed, Nick Bogan, Rachel Pitman, Barbara Berry-Spaeth, Nicole Walker, and Gavin O’Neill.

The presentation began with a speech from Shakila Ahmed, the first female Board President of the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati. She spoke on the importance of furthering the value that students place on leadership.

“I really felt that the work of the leadership council and the students who wanted to be here are ones that I have a lot of respect for because they’re putting themselves out there,” Ahmed said. “They’re wanting to take responsibility and they’re wanting to serve. If there’s anything that I can do to further that love of serving and servant leadership, then I would definitely want to take advantage of that.”

After the speech as over, the panel answered questions posed by students.  Rachel Pitman, co-founder of the company Modern Tiny Living, provided advice on how to become a stronger leader.

“Listen, and be open to finding new people that have achieved what it is that you’re looking to achieve,” Pitman said. “We sometimes, especially when we are young, can think we know everything. We think that we’ve already figured something out. I think at times I got a little bit prideful. We’re all imperfect. So, be open and really take time to listen to other people and take feedback.”

Ahmed hopes students understand that making assumptions and jumping to conclusions is what can ruin leadership. She said that it’s the relationships that you have that make you a good leader.

“I think there is a lot that they can take away from this symposium,” Ahmed said. “The panel was amazing and the questions were excellent. What I hope that they take away is that we need to stop making assumptions about one another,  including assumptions about ourselves. Sometimes the connections, the relationships we make with other people allow us to be so much better and than we are.”


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Pictures by Della Johnson.