BETHANY, W.Va. – The fourth annual Kalon Leadership Academy at Bethany was convened on Saturday. The theme of the day-long event was “Tools for Your Leadership Toolbox.” Attending were student leaders from across the campus who wished to enhance their skills as present and future effective leaders.
“As today’s Academy suggests, it is the individual tools, the special and unique leadership qualities relative to each person, that make the difference in effective leadership,” Dr. Scott D. Miller, President of the College, said, welcoming the attendees. He recommended three primary principles of effective leadership: to be attracted to influential leaders who share, or can support, one’s individual vision of success; flexibility and adaptability to today’s “complex times in which we live and work,” and the capacity to understand what not to do in difficult decision-making.
Referencing the third point, he cited the famous example of Bethany College Trustees confronted with the decision during the American Civil War to keep the College open, or, faced with dwindling numbers of students and faculty, to close it.
Recalling that the Trustees bravely voted to keep the College operating, Dr. Miller concluded, “We survived, we moved on, and that is why you are here today. In all of our nearly 175-year history, perhaps no single decision, no single expression of effective leadership, has mattered as much as that choice made by the Trustees of Bethany College in the summer of 1863.”
Other speakers and presenters at the Academy, held at Mountainside Conference Center, included the keynote speaker Jessica Spencer Benedict, Class of 2007, Law Clerk to Judge Karl in West Virginia's Second Judical Circuit. She spoke on various leadership skills she felt were necessary for students’ career development and provided her “Toolbox for Success.”
Breakout sessions were conducted by the Hon. Joyce Dumbaugh Chernenko, Class of 1978, who serves as Family Court Judge for the First Judicial Circuit of West Virginia and is a past president of the West Virginia Family Court Association; Patrick Ford, Executive Director of the Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle, and Alecia Sirk Ford, Class of 1991,Vice President of the Sirk/Ford Initiative, the couple’s consulting business, both presenting at the Kalon Leadership Academy for the third consecutive year, and Kelli Jo McNemar of West Virginia Campus Compact, which builds communities and educates citizens by developing relationships, sharing research and resources, and moving the field of civic engagement forward.
The Academy’s planning committee included students Tess Parry, Matthew Sipos, Sarah London, Allison Snyder, Alaina Roberts, and Michelle Paugh.