Organization aims to create new leaders

Story by Tuesday Wustrack

With today’s expectations of life, it can be difficult to achieve your goals. But there is now an organization on the UW-Eau Claire campus that can help you get there.

The National Society of Leadership and Success is an organization new to campus aiming to create and grow students to become leaders during their time in college. President Katie Nelson said the group wants want students to feel confident in finding a job and succeeding in life after graduation..

“It’s a really great way to get out there in the community while improving your leadership skills,” she said.

NSLS is a national organization on 291 college campuses in the United States, according to the NSLS website. The head office of NSLS contacted Nelson about bringing a chapter to Eau Claire. After researching the organization and speaking to people at the UW-Madison chapter, Nelson agreed to start the group here in Eau Claire.

Through student and professor contacts, along with social media sites, a large group of students applied to be a part of the executive board and committees. Nelson said those positions involve activities such as fundraising, publicity and community service.

NSLS officially became an Eau Claire organization in the fall of 2011. As of this spring, NSLS expanded its membership to around 550 students, she said.

“I think it’s a lot of different things for a lot of different people,” Society Events Chair Dan Feldhacker said. “For me, the main point of NSLS is a tool.”

Feldhacker likes NSLS because the organization helps set up connections for his future. All members have access to a special job website, a place where employers look for future employees.

Fundraising Chair Michelle Manthey said she joined the organization because she thought it would be a good résumé builder.

“I’ve always liked being in a leadership role but hadn’t been able to really demonstrate it that well yet at the university,” she said. “I thought it would be a good way to have the opportunity to do that.”

NSLS has several requirements members need to fulfill in order to be initiated into the organization. One way is through student networking teams.
Members get into smaller groups every other week to network with each other and share their personal goals, Nelson said.

“We help each other out and figure out what steps have to be taken in order to reach those goals,” she said. “We hold each
other accountable.”

Nelson recently reached one of her goals of finishing five job applications. During the SNTs, Nelson’s group members gave her suggestions for successfully completing the goal, such as looking at online job boards and contacting people that could have connections to the jobs for which she applied.

Another way to build relationships and to help students grow individually is by listening to and interacting with speakers, Nelson said.

NSLS chapters across the nation can tune in to broadcasts of speakers discussing their personal success stories. Speakers have included Patch Adams, Steven Covey and Food Network’s Alton Brown.

The general NSLS meetings also include an in-person speaker. This semester’s first meeting introduced the organization’s adviser Robin Johengen from Career Services. She offered insight on the importance of networking and how to improve those skills via tools such as LinkedIn, Manthey said.

“We’ve been getting quite a turnout,” Feldhacker said.

Manthey said students enjoy attending speaker events because it shows them different perspectives on how to be leaders and be successful in their goals.

When members are not attending meetings or listening to speakers, they are involved in other community events and fundraisers. NSLS is currently working on a campus book drive in order to recycle books and donate them to third-world countries, Nelson said. They have also volunteered with Feed My People Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity and The Children’s Museum of Eau Claire. Manthey said NSLS has future plans to work with Bolton Refuge House as well.

Feldhacker is currently planning a high school leadership seminar, where members will hold workshops for students to create the same values of leadership and success as NSLS does, he said.

The group has been given lots of freedom to determine how to run the organization. Nelson believes this will help the group come together.

“We can take this whichever way we want.”