‘Leading From Your Seat’ – Words of wisdom from President Connie Ledoux Book

President Connie Book shared her leadership experience with the Isabella Cannon Leadership Fellows at their first Fellows Forum.

Photo taken by Melanie Bullock
Isabella Cannon Leadership Fellows of the 2023 cohort pose with President Connie Book. Photo taken by Melanie Bullock.

President Connie Ledoux Book shared her ideas about leadership with the Isabella Cannon Leadership Fellows at the first Fellows Forum of the 2019-20 school year.

The Leadership Fellows meet the first Thursday of every month to participate in workshops, listen to speakers, and discuss ideas of leadership that hold relevancy to personal growth and community engagement.

President Book was asked to be the keynote speaker to discuss how leadership and resiliency have complemented each other in her own personal experience. She began her speech with her thoughts on how leadership is taught and passed down.

“Leadership is taught through stories that people have told through their lifetime,” Book said.

She shared her own stories in her speech, referencing her time at The Citadel as well as Elon. The stories she spoke of revolved around four main topics that she values in leadership. These topics included: the ability to lead from one’s seat, knowing the next step to take, addressing points of friction and understanding one’s area of responsibility.

Each topic was elaborated on through a combination of stories and observations. Book connected with the Leadership Fellows through her personal accounts, fostering encouragement in their leadership growth. She expressed how Elon promotes in the growth of its students.

“What we do is develop people,” said President Book. “Elon is your first campus and the world is your second, third, and fourth.”

Book referenced the use of study abroad in this sense, as well as how Elon students can connect their learning experience with the surrounding community.

The Leadership Fellows are encouraged to develop their own leadership style through interactions with the community and the world.

Book called the Leadership Fellows to action in understanding others’ perspectives when in a position of power. “What you see is intuitively yours, and what others see is not necessarily the same,” Book said.

Book explained how she builds groups and committees with diversity in mind. She elaborated on how doing so allows her to see things in different ways, often showing her details she would not have seen on her own.

In sharing some final words of wisdom, Book encouraged the Leadership Fellows to understand their own power in their actions and reactions.

“You have power no matter what your title says, even if you don’t have a title,” Book said. “Bad things are going to happen; good things are going to happen. It’s really how people respond to these opportunities.”

Following her speech, Book answered questions from the Leadership Fellows. Questions ranged from a discussion on transition to how she viewed and dealt with failures. Book answered each question candidly and enthusiastically, connecting even more with the Isabella Canon Leadership Fellows.

All program participants of the Isabella Cannon Leadership Fellows pose for a picture with President Connie Book. Photo taken by Melanie Bullock.

Fellows Forum offers the Leadership Fellows an opportunity to connect with leaders in the Elon community. They are encouraged to engage with the knowledge they gather from each Fellows Forum, and apply it to their leadership development.

With a successful first Fellows Forum, the Leadership Fellows looks forward to a strong year based in growth and engagement.

Visit the Center for Leadership for more information about the Isabella Cannon Leadership Fellows Program.