By Kelsi Peace, Features Editor
Be like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. That was a challenge Brenda Bertrand presented to student leaders at the Student Association’s Invision 2007 on Sunday at the Williams Performing Arts Center.
Bertrand, who serves in the U.S. Office of Personnel management in Washington, D.C., and speaks at universities around the nation, told students that to be like Dorothy, a leader must find the courage in the Cowardly Lion, the brain in the Scarecrow and the heart in the Tin Man and invest the time and energy necessary to leave behind a legacy.
“I think she really spoke to everyone,” said Jordan Williams, junior accounting major from Longview and SA Executive Vice President.
Williams estimated that around 90 students attended the program.
In addition to emphasizing investing in future leaders, Bertrand told students that authenticity is important, comparing the images leaders often project to the distorted images people see in funhouse mirrors.
“Are you projecting something that you are not due to your leadership position?” Bertrand asked.
In an interactive session, Bertrand asked a representative from each classification to answer a question. She challenged leaders to consider how they honor, receive and welcome freshman, if they perpetuate bad impressions of ACU and Abilene, what “funhouse images” student leaders at ACU project and what legacy they want to leave behind.
“My thing is, you all have a lot [of] head knowledge,” Bertrand said. “I want to hit your heart.”
Above all, Bertrand said, the most important thing for leaders is to live authentic lives.
“If you [already] did that, you wouldn’t need me to come,” she said.
Students agreed that grace is not always offered on campus, and that students sometimes project a “holier-than-thou” image to avoid accountability.
After hearing Bertrand speak, Weekend Campaigns representative Amanda Taylor, sophomore marketing major from Arlington, said the idea of legacy hit home.
“We need to not focus on the activities we do but on the people who do them,” Taylor said.
Students who attended were impressed with Bertrand’s message; several remained after the conference to thank her for speaking and discuss prominent issues on campus. Now they just have to find the Cowardly Lion in their own lives and make it to Oz.