Leadership Vision

Posted on December 4th, 2009 by

Sonja Andersen '09 (Photo by Stacia Vogel)

Sonja Andersen '09 (Photo by Stacia Vogel)

Written by Hanna Schutte ’11

“Anyone at any level can be a leader—it is a personal choice.”

These are words that Sonja Andersen ’09 takes to heart. She has found that quotes such as this one help drive her and keep her focused, both with her past time on the hill and in her current endeavors. She graduated from Gustavus with a management major and an impressive list of involvement in various organizations, including the Gustie Greeters, Pound Pals, Big Partner Little Partner, the Lambda Delta Nu business fraternity, the Collegiate Leadership Academy, and the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity. And her ambitions and hard work have not slowed down since graduation.

Sonja works for Capitol Lien Records and Research, Inc. and was selected to participate in the Hesselbein Global Academy for Student Leadership and Civil Engagement the summer after her graduation. This Academy is a four-day program designed “to inspire, develop, and reward accomplished student leaders to meet the challenges of tomorrow.” “There was a mentor for every four students, and they really worked every day with us while also giving presentations on a variety of topics, such as business and non-profit leadership,” says Andersen. “We heard a presentation from the founder of the program, Francis Hesselbein, who became CEO of the Girl Scouts without any formal training and was an innovative, effective, and ethical leader,” adds Andersen.

Having the opportunity to attend a program like the Hesselbein Academy was very rewarding for Sonja. “The program itself really helped me shape what kind of person I want to be going forward, and reinforced what I want to do with my career path,” says Andersen.

Next year, Sonja will be participating in the Powers of Leadership Academy at the Whidbey Institute. This program is designed to help leaders from a variety of fields improve their leadership while also rejuvenating themselves as a whole.

Sonja is still determining her career path, but says she does know what direction she wants to go. “I don’t need to know every step, but having a vision is good. I’ve been reflecting on who I am and what path I should take. I think I would like to go into leadership consulting, or organizational development.”

She says her Gustavus experiences were irreplaceable for helping her form that vision, drive, and build her confidence. The best times and memories she recalls are those with the friends she made here. For current and future students, her advice is to be involved. “Take advantage of things the school offers, and put your whole self into whatever you do—100%. No matter what you are doing, do your best,” said Andersen.

While this Gustie graduate is still actively searching, she contends that leadership is a great way to make a difference in the world. Through being involved, honing her leadership skills, and working hard, Sonja Andersen is developing the tools to continue to make her life count—now and in the future.


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