Category Archives: Leadership

Leadership Tips From Ambassador Susan Burk

A few WILD members take a photograph with Ambassador Burk after her Fireside chat.

“A good mentor is a thing of beauty.” – Ambassador Susan Burke

On September 15, 2010  W.I.L.D women from groups VI and VII had the chance to sit down with Ambassador Susan Burk to discuss her career journey with the U.S government. Ambassador Burk is a successful woman who graduated from Trinity College in Washington D.C. with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Master’s in Government from Georgetown University.  She is now works with other States to strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the International Non-Proliferation Regime. Susan Burk spoke to us of her journey in government. Burk began as an intern with the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force for about four months which was located in the Pentagon and a part of the Department of Defense. It was here that she learned much about leadership skills from how well the military trained their officers in leadership techniques and skills. From there she was able to work with leaders such as  then Secretary of State, Colin Powell. Burk stated, “Traveling with him is like being with a rock star.”

Ambassador Susan Burk told the crowd that she learned most of her leadership skills while in the Air Force. She gave us ten important points of advice which we received as very important lessons to learn throughout our leadership journey at Georgian Court University:

  1. Look for opportunities to lead. – If you are presented with a leadership opportunity, take it because it gives you the experience and knowledge you need to move ahead.
  2. Importance of communication – Knowledge is power but teaching that knowledge is even more powerful.
  3. Be a good listener.
  4. Know what you know and know what you don’t know. – It is okay not to know everything and it is okay to ask questions when you don’t know the answer.
  5. If you make a bad decision, change it. – It is okay to admit that you messed up but be prepared to fix the situation.
  6. Treat people with respect. – Give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Allow them to express their ideas. When addressing someone, be professional at all times. Show gratitude where it is needed!
  7. Project optimism. – Always have a positive attitude even when things seem as though they are not going as planned. Remember every problem has a solution and with a little brainstorming it can be solved.
  8. Don’t be afraid. – Take risks and try things that you normally would not. It will benefit you in the long run.
  9. “On their deathbed no one ever regrets not spending enough time at the office.”
  10. Look after yourself.  -Never neglect yourself when it comes to work. Work may get hectic from time to time but make sure that you can put that work away and spend time to focus on yourself.

Ambassador Susan Burk left our minds filled with excitement and also with the strength to strive to be all that we can be as women. These ten points will not happen over night but if we keep them in our minds and practice them everyday, women of this country will soon recognize their  strength in this world and collectively use it to affect positive change.

WILD VII member, Azaria Valentin asks career advice of Ambassador Burk.

We as women have ways to go.” – Ambassador Susan Burk

Written by: Jennifer Valentin and Shinade Ramirez

5 in 5 with WILD Alum, Leah Clarke

I had the pleasure of FINALLY catching up with friend and fellow graduate of GCU’s 2008 Centennial class, Miss Leah Clarke (a fellow WILD II alum!) I was able to ask her a few questions about life after GCU and WILD.

AH: What one thing did WILD prepare you the most for during your post-graduate career?

LC: WILD  gave me the confidence I needed to thrive in my career. All of the workshops, speakers and the activities helped me to present myself as a young professional that was prepared, polished, and knowledgable. I was also able to create a personal vision for myself using everything I learned about myself in WILD.

AH: What goals have you accomplished since you graduated from Georgian Court?

LC: Since I graduated from GCU I have finished my Masters in Organizational Leadership and I am currently working as an Admissions and Database Coordinator for a nonprofit named Year Up that provides opportunities for young adults from urban areas. It was through my first job at Catherine McAuley H.S. right out of college I realized my passion to help young adults achieve.

AH: Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years?

LC: In five years I see myself finishing up my Doctorate in urban studies and growing in my current organization. In ten years I see myself developing a community center that helps to combat the economic and social disadvantages that affect the residents of urban communities.

AH: If you could have lunch with any three people dead or alive, who would you choose and why?

LC: If I could have dinner with any three people it would be Michelle Obama, Martin Luther King and Maya Angelou.

AH: What newspapers, websites, or magazines do you read most frequently to keep up with current events?

LC: To keep up with current events I usually read  the Daily News, The New York Times, The,,, and of course (The Young, Black, & Fabulous)

Leah Clarke is an alum of Georgian Court’s Centennial class of 2008. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Business Administration. She was also co-founder of Georgian Court University’s Black Student Union. Miss Clarke also held the position of President of the Student Government Association during her senior year.

Celebrate Women’s History Month!

All over the United States in March we celebrate Women’s History Month. Here at Georgian Court, a primarily all women’s university, woman leaders and women’s history are very important. Looking back at all of the education I have had about women, and their goals though out history, had me thinking.

Who is the most influential woman in history? To me, the most influential woman would be Sandra Day O’Connor.

Ronald Reagan appointed Sandra Day O’Connor in 1981 to the Supreme Court, making her he first female member on the US Supreme Court.  O’Connor often became the deciding vote when making decisions. During her time on the Supreme Court, O’Connor made it clear that American society was to interpret the law, not to legislate! She usually was very conservative but she frequently surprised many of her followers with her political independence.

Sandra Day O’Connor was a quiet, but determined woman who became a role model for women everywhere. She is an advocate for education. I was watching “Good Morning America” one morning, and Sandra Day O’Connor was a guest. She had said something that had me thinking. O’Connor said, “More Americans can name a judge on “American Idol” than can name the three branches of government.” Her concern for education and civics had O’Connor devoted to serving her community, devoting her time to volunteering and lecturing.

I think Sandra Day O’Connor is a great role model, and is one of the most influential women, who fought for women and our rights. O’Connor was the first American woman on the Supreme Court, and set a political example for women in the future. Without O’Connor we would have never had such respect for women in politics. I believe that we would have never had a woman campaign for president in America, if it wasn’t for Sandra Day O’Connor to set the political example.

Women in Politics

– Julia A. Hollywood

Advocacy 101

Throughout my college years, I have become increasingly interested in and passionate about advocating for social and political change. I live and breathe for politics and social justice, yet at times, I find that even the most dedicated individual can feel a little disheartened and discouraged by the lack of immediate results and the disinterest and apathy of others. Friday’s WILD session “Advocacy 101” was a refreshing change.

As we sleep-deprived WILD members trudged into the North Dining Room at 8:30am, after braving hurricane-like weather in our signature business casual outfits, the main thought on everyone’s mind was what is being served for breakfast and how fast can I inhale a cup of coffee. After finishing a fabulous breakfast and bracing cup of coffee, we were greeted by a cheerful and energetic Catholic Relief Services (CRS) organizer named Candice.

Far from the standard presentation I was expecting to receive about the merits of advocating on the behalf of others, Candice explained that we would be focusing on women during the day’s presentation. After briefly illustrating the difference between charity and justice, we were told that our topic for the day would be advocating for justice for women. We explored a range of topics, from trafficking in women and immigration, to conflict minerals in the Congo (think “Blood Diamond”) and severely lacking maternal health care services in Sierra Leone and Nigeria, to sweatshop conditions of women in India and the advances Fair Trade certified products are making in their communities, to microlending to women.

We are a very diverse group of women, and soon enough questions about cultural practices and motivations for them were flying around the room. Everyone felt very comfortable in asking questions and sharing their own life experiences. One student originally from Sierra Leone shared her personal testimony about the civil war in the early ‘90s. Although these were emotionally taxing issues, rather than walking away feeling depressed, we began to feel energized and empowered. We were offered so many opportunities to play a role in addressing these issues, that you couldn’t help but feel that you needed to do something positive as soon as you walked out of the room.

Candice engagingly shared with us the many efforts CRS is making in country to work with local populations to resolve the issues at hand. We were presented with various resolutions currently before Congress aimed to correct these dire situations and educated about how specifically those resolutions would help. We discussed protests and tips for visiting your local representative’s and senators’ offices. We shared with one another the keys to a successful lobby trip. By the end of the session, we were all fired up to go out and make our political mark and advocate on behalf of women suffering cruel indignity world-wide. Just hours later, we already have several WILD women preparing to take part in a march/protest for immigration reform in Washington D.C. this coming Sunday. I can’t wait to see what my fellow WILD women and I will achieve in the near future as we combine our considerable strengths, talents, and passions together on the behalf of our global sisters!

God Bless,

Amanda Brown

Half the Sky

Stay tuned to this page to see what WILD women are thinking about “Half the Sky,” the best seller by Nicolas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

The non-fiction book that examines the lives of women worldwide has been a hot topic of discussion as leaders work to empower women financially and through education.

This book may be the title for a campuswide read in 2010.

Welcome to WILD

Thoughts on leadership

Thanks for stopping by to read what WILD women at Georgian Court University have to say about leadership.

The topic couldn’t be more timely as our country struggles with tough decisions and hard answers to challenging matters like governance, spending, healthcare, education and lots of other issues.

At Georgian Court, we don’t just learn from the faculty or from  the textbooks we study. We learn to lead by getting involved on campus and in our community.

Check in with us to hear more about our leadership development experiences and our thoughts on some of the hottest issues being talked about on the Web.

For more information about WILD, contact the Office of Student Development at Georgian Court University, 900 Lakewood Ave., Lakewood, NJ 08707-2697. We can be reached by phone at 732.987.2601.