by Aimee Jewell- ELP Guest Blogger

Cynthia Knapek, President of Leadership Louisville, kicked off the first night of the second YPAL Emerging Leaders Program with this intriguing question, causing our cohort to reflect on the terrifying four letter word we all despise: fail. As established professionals in the Louisville community, failing at something isn’t exactly a bullet point on our endless to-do lists. However, Knapek, a long-time local leader, explained in our first seminar that failures shouldn’t always be feared. They should, instead, be evaluated.

 “Sometimes you win and sometimes you learn.”

 Knapek spoke of both her accomplishments and failures, yet one theme was consistent throughout her presentation: she never let failure get in the way of her strategies for success. She asked us each to think about what we care most about, what our purpose was, and what makes us cry. And although the last question came as a surprise, it made perfect sense. Thinking about what makes you cry defines what you care about. For me, children are what get my tear glands going. Thinking of a child, sick with cancer, unable to play with other kids his or her age breaks my heart. And that, Knapek said, was where we should focus our efforts – “empathy will quickly guide you to your purpose.” Whether we transfer to a different job field or simply get involved on a local non-profit board, Knapek explained that it was important for each of us to do what we love.

After Mrs. Knapek spoke, we took a short break and reconvened to discuss the purpose and mission of the program, as well as our own personal purpose and mission statements. Chris Schulz, our Program Facilitator and Learning Manager of Sales Operations and Enablement at Humana, discussed what the next 12 weeks would look like and what steps we will be taking to become goal-oriented leaders. With numerous assignments on the horizon, including taking a leadership and strengths analysis, reading Strengths Based Leadership by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie, and creating a 90-day-goal we each want to fulfill by the end of the program, we will be staying busy throughout the next few months and in-between each session. But I couldn’t be more excited.  

About Aimee Jewell

Aimee is graduate student at Bellarmine University and a participant/guest blogger for the Fall 2013 Emerging Leaders Program. She will be blogging about her experience with the ELP throughout the fall. 

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