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Student-Athletes at Leadership Summit

Student-Athletes at Leadership Summit
Student-athletes from Neumann, Penn, St. Joseph’s, and Drexel participate in a leadership exercise at the Sports Leadership Summit.


On January 19, more than two dozen Neumann student-athletes participated in a leadership summit at Drexel University. The summit brought together student-athlete leaders from St. Joseph’s, Penn, Drexel, and Neumann to teach them vital sports leadership skills and strategies necessary to be strong and effective leaders on and off the playing field.


The 90-minute program was facilitated by Jeff Janssen, founder and president of the Janssen Sports Leadership Center. His team's work on sports leadership development with student-athletes and coaches has led to the creation of Leadership Academies at North Carolina, Michigan, Illinois, Arkansas, Notre Dame, Yale, Georgetown, Stanford, and many other colleges. Janssen is the author of several books, including The Team Captain’s Leadership Manuel and The Seven Secrets of Successful Coaches.


“One thing that really stuck with me was the ending poem – Do It Anyway – and I plan to share that with my team,” said Julia Malseed, a sport and entertainment management major who plays volleyball. “I also loved the story Jeff Janssen told in the beginning, of Josh Pastner, a walk-on at Arizona, pushing his teammates to be their best, which ultimately led to a national championship; it really shows what leadership does for a team.”


According to Dustin Shepler, an accounting and business administration major who runs cross country and track, “The program was interesting, and I loved how we were always doing something to keep us going.  Instead of just hearing about how to be a leader, we were active while learning who the leader is inside of us.” 


“We are so grateful to Drexel University and Jeff Janssen for hosting and including us in the Philly Leadership Summit,” said Clare Devine, director of programming for Neumann’s Institute for Sport, Spirituality and Character Development. “It was a fantastic opportunity for our student-athletes to engage with their peers. They came away with the desire to bring the lessons learned to their teammates, and many have already answered Jeff’s challenge to reach out to their coaches to initiate a conversation of their strengths and areas of improvement in leading their team.” 


The registration fees for the summit will be used to restore and revitalize Bartram Field at Penrose Middle School in Southwest Philadelphia this summer. Improvements at the field, which is used by three schools, is a community service project, spearheaded by Student-Athletes Leading Social Change (SALSC), a non-profit organization. College students from across the country will gather at the field on June 22-26 and help transform the site so that Philadelphia youngsters can play soccer, football, track, and baseball.


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