Maximizing Potential

For the third consecutive year, Jamestown Business College is offering its own curriculum to area high school seniors at no cost.

On Thursday, JBC welcomed 32 students representing 14 school districts in Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Warren counties to kick off its third annual Leadership Launch event.

Since it began in 2011, the event has expanded each consecutive year to include more students from more districts. The five-session program is intended to offer professional development training to students who have exhibited leadership potential within their schools.

According to David Conklin, JBC president, the program has been praised as a great success in its previous incarnations, and he expects that tradition to continue this year.

“This is the largest group we’ve had and, obviously, we hope that continues because it’s a sign that we’re serving a benefit,” Conklin said. “I know having the students here creates a good energy within the college because we feel good about providing some knowledge and activities and experience related to leadership. These are students that have shown promise in the realm of leadership, and to be able to assist them is great. They’re going to go on to their lives after high school, whatever that may be, and they’re going to be better prepared.”

The program will help each of its participating students to build upon their innate leadership abilities by offering five separate sessions with a different focus.

Thursday’s session served as a networking opportunity for students in the form of a meet-and-greet with each other and with state Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, who was present as guest speaker for the program’s commencement.

Goodell shared some of his own experiences and advice to students as he told them personal stories and posed thought-provoking questions.

“All of you are here because you’ve been recognized by someone in your school as having potential,” Goodell said as he addressed students. “What you’re going to learn over the next few weeks is how to take the potential you have, and maximize it. Leaders need to know where they’re going. Because, if you don’t know where you’re going, who’s going to follow you? Leaders have to have an edge.”

Other sessions will focus on: an interactive training designed to address the requirements of effective communication for leadership; leadership effectiveness; accountability; creating a great first impression; and a discussion of the “Fred Factor” in exceeding expectations and providing distinguished service and value.

The 2013 Leadership Launch program will conclude with an awards ceremony on Oct. 30.