Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes or contributed to group efforts over time.
Up down, up down – my left leg bounced vertically in anticipation. My heartbeat accelerated. All I could hear was the announcement of the top teams in the state, who would then qualify to represent CA DECA at the International level competition. “Aaaaaand the fourth place winner is….” It wasn’t my name. “Aaaaaand the third place winner is….” Not my name again. “Aaand the second place winner is….” Maybe I just wasn’t good enough to win. Maybe my countless hours perfecting my presentation and 30 page report didn’t matter. “Aaaand the first place winner is ******.” My jaw dropped and my eyes widened. The 3,000 people in the crowd went wild and as I walked down from stage carrying my first place trophy, still in shock, I was greeted with countless hugs and cheers.
The elation was further enhanced when I realized one of the teams that I mentored had won second place. Less than a year ago, I remember my hesitation with helping them. I had thought, “Should I help my own competition? Should I risk giving away my tips and winning secrets? What if my help gets them to first place?” However, remembering my initial confused days in DECA, I offered private help to many teams in addition to group mentoring in marketing class. Every week, I met with different students to edit their research conducted, business proposal, and finances, and I gave thorough, individualized feedback to improve their reports and presentations.
Although it might have hurt my chances of winning, the joy of helping people improve, no matter how big of a competition they were to me, overcame the insignificant feeling of selfishness I had. Being a leader meant thinking beyond simply my own goals and focusing on my collective club and how we could improve as a unit. I dedicated time to weekly meetings with teams and constantly tried to help others. That year, our school DECA club had the most qualifiers to the International level competition out of all other schools in our entire state. As a leader, I helped students around me succeed.