This past year, I served as the President of Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity (AKPsi). Throughout the course of my leadership experience, I learned a great deal about my leadership style and myself as a person. I was able to foster personal and professional growth while also building lasting connections with members of AKPsi, University of Iowa faculty, and other student organization leaders.
At the beginning of this experience, COVID-19 limited many of the events and interactions I would have normally had. Many events that would have normally been held in person were conducted virtually. While these events were held virtually, I was still able to connect with students from other Alpha Kappa Psi chapters and members of Alpha Kappa Psi at the University of Iowa. However, in the Fall of 2021, many COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, and it became less challenging to connect with people that I had only met virtually in the Spring of 2021.
It is hard to narrow the scope of everything I did during my term. To start, in the Spring of 2021, nearly all events were restricted to being conducted virtually. I, along with the rest of the AKPsi executive board, worked to offer engaging events via Zoom, while also contributing to the development of our members. We focused on increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion, maintaining and building alumni connections, and furthering the organization’s professional development. Because of these events, AKPsi won the “Outstanding Professional Development” and “Professional/Service Organization of the Year Award” at the Student Leadership Awards Reception in the Spring of 2021. In the Fall of 2021, the AKPsi executive board and I focused on offering activities to help our members build connections and meet one another, while also furthering our promotion of diversity, equity, and inclusion and professional development. We were able to offer social events with other organizations, work with the Student Organization Business Office to gain funding for events, and work with faculty on campus to promote and advance the individual welfare of the members of AKPsi.
Some highlights of my experience include leading weekly meetings, working directly with University of Iowa faculty, and taking part in social events with other student organizations within the Tippie College of Business. Each week presented a new challenge, however, working with members of AKPsi made it an enjoyable experience. There were many different highlights over the year of 2021, but the biggest highlight was growing closer to each member of AKPsi while leading the organization. I am honored to have been in this position for the last year.
This experience fostered self-discovery and personal growth in many different ways, including learning about my leadership style, managing my time effectively, and becoming a better decision-maker Throughout my experience, I learned from other students that I consider mentors, which helped foster discovery about the leader I was and wanted to grow towards. I was able to discover that I am a leader who takes pride in respecting the people I work with. I enjoy building connections with other leaders and enjoy furthering relationships rather than simply leading a group. As a student organization leader taking classes and participating in other student organizations, it was necessary that I managed my time effectively. I learned that completing one task at a time rather than trying to do many tasks at once allowed me to give my full effort. At the same time, however, I learned how to prioritize my activities to maximize my effort in each task.
Through this leadership role, I was able to become a better decision-maker with the help of the AKPsi executive board. Rather than rushing into a decision, I learned that taking the time to communicate and come to an informed decision benefited the majority of the organization. Lastly, I learned while being in a leadership position, failure is inevitable. There will always be times of uncertainty that arise over the course of leadership. However, in order to learn and grow as an individual and a leader, one must fail. I believe this experience greatly contributed to fostering self-discovery and personal growth.
My name is Cole Martin, and I am a senior studying Accounting and Business Analytics & Information Systems. I am from Marion, IA and am planning on graduating in May of 2022. I am looking forward to the remainder of my final semester at the University of Iowa!
Edited by: Delaney McDowell, Honors Admin