Competitive leadership committee recruits student entrepreneurs

Sophia Johnson | Staff Writer

In their search for new members, The MADE (Mason Deerfield) for Authentic Leadership team sought out students based on their drive to lead, not their experience..

The group came to be after a coalition of student leaders merged with The Mason Deerfield Chamber of Commerce and rebranded themselves as the MADE for Authentic leadership group, where they had the opportunity to work with local business leaders. Advisor Debbie Gentene aims to help students develop their professional skills applicable in workplace settings while still in school. 

The leadership group is in the process of building their team for the 2018-19 school year. Senior Sophia Haller said the students are highly involved in the application process, as it is another way for them to work on leadership skills together.

“We had a leadership symposium, where we had business leaders in Mason come into the auditorium,” Haller said. “We got to send them our own questions about leadership and have them answer, having students that go to generate more interest. After that, we got in a number of new applications, and we made questions based off of all the qualities that we looked for. We are now meeting to decide who we think would be the best fit in our group.”

While most are familiar with what a common interview consists of, Gentene said the selection process is not done in a typical manner. Students aren’t necessarily picked for their experience, but their drive to become a real leader.

“They’re (students) looking for people who are truly interested in growing as a leader, not necessarily the captain of the team or the president of StuGo,” Gentene said. “They may not already be leaders. This is a different kind of interview and a different kind of resume. We don’t want to know what all you have already done with leadership, but what are you going to do with what you learned about leadership.”



The MADE for Authentic Leadership Team recently met with new recruits, as seven of the current eight members will be replaced.


Representing all of Mason Deerfield, they are able to complete a yearly project to benefit the community. The project the group organized last year was the Music in Mason series summer concerts held in downtown Mason. Haller said the group also differs in its structure with every member maintaining the same position.

“When we worked for the city of Mason for the Music in Mason series, my role was to contact the bands,” Haller said.  We don’t really have set roles, it’s just trying to learn as much about leadership as possible, and then filling whatever role they need.”

Senior member Fiona Xie said having a team full of students with a variety of passions are what make their student-led projects so impactful to them, which they hope is reflected into the community.

“Working with other students at Mason is a great opportunity,” Xie said. “Even though we are all interested in leadership, the way we apply it and our interests in general vary. each one of us brings a different perspective and makes all of our projects more detailed and impactful because of our different interests and experiences.”

The combination of students differences is what Gentene said the MADE for Authentic Leadership group looks for when considering who would be a good addition to the group. 

“We ask what unique characteristics can they bring to the group because you don’t want a group that thinks the same,” Gentene said. “You want everyone to bring their own traits in. So there are a lot of different things, depending on the year and what they are looking for to add value to that group.”

Junior Tanvi Sumit, who has been recruited as a new member for the coming school year, said she’s looking forward to making connections and exchanging knowledge in the professional world.

“I wanted to improve my networking skills through school, and to college, and then work since it’s a huge transition everytime,” Sumit said. “Being part of this is such a good way for all of us to learn the change from a student in high school to a person in college looking for a new job, internship, or research opportunity. No matter what you go into, networking helps you with everything.

The definition of a leader has many interpretations according to Haller. She said students joining the group should focus more on the different ways to lead, and less on what position you end up in.

“I feel a lot of people have this misconception that leadership only comes with the title or the position, which is not true at all,” Haller said. “There are a lot of ways to be a leader, whether it’s a CEO position, or it’s a student in their everyday life, and I think that people forget about that. Focus on how you can grow into that leadership position and not worrying about if you have the title. It doesn’t matter if you weren’t made the team leader, there are still ways you can lead.”


Photo by Sophia Johnson.