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    Authentic Leadership Discussed

    James T. Robilotta, author, professional speaker and personal coach, served as the Keynote Speaker at the ninth annual IGNITE Leadership Conference hosted by the University’s Center for Student Engagement.
    February 26, 2019
    By: By Catherine Johnson ’20, student correspondent

    Trained in stand-up comedy and author of the book “Leading Imperfectly: The Value of Being Authentic for Leaders, Professionals, and Human Beings,” James T. Robilotta was this year’s Keynote Speaker at the ninth annual IGNITE Leadership Conference hosted at The University of Scranton.

    An internationally recognized speaker, Robilotta began by encouraging student leaders to embrace what makes them unique: “It’s fun when we talk about our weirds,” he said. After sharing some of his own strange eating habits, he called on others to share their own odd food rituals.

    Robilotta introduced the topic of the session: Authentic Leadership and discussed the five attributes of authentic leaders. “They are purposeful, they empower, they own who they are, they’re real and they follow their morals.”

    “Revisit your purpose and let it serve as a bulldozer that pushes you through the unfortunate parts of leadership,” he said, stressing the importance of having clear, honest intent when in leadership.

     The key to leadership, he told students, is not being perfect, or seeming perfect; it is in sharing who you actually are. This type of leadership, he admitted, is not easy, because it involves being vulnerable in front of others. He challenged the audience to think of lies they tell themselves every day, and to think of what version of themselves they show to others.

    “You can’t be everything to everyone,” he concluded, “But you can be something to someone. Be something to someone.”

    Following the keynote speech, students participated in a number of breakout sessions about being authentic leaders.

    IGNITE, organized by the University’s Center for Student Engagement, is the premier leadership conference open to all college students in Northeast Pennsylvania.  Focused on personal growth and development, the conference holds sessions about a broad range of leadership topics, including communication, problem solving, team building, having difficult conversations, communication across difference and identity development.

    Catherine Johnson ’20, Scranton, is an English and philosophy double major and member of the Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honors Program at The University of Scranton.
    Catherine Johnson ’20, Scranton, is an English and philosophy double major and member of the Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honors Program at The University of Scranton.
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