Cornell LEADS (Leadership, Entrepreneurship, And Distinctive Service) is a distinctive leadership program that examines the qualities of leadership through interactions with leaders from all walks of life and endeavors to develop real-world skills through a curriculum of leadership building activities emphasizing the following key elements: emotional intelligence, leading change, decision making, motivation and team building.

A great resume builder and networking opportunity, LEADS offers a select group of students the opportunity to participate in tailor-made experiences to explore their leadership abilities and build on those skills.

Typical events

  • Leadership seminar led by former Cornell president Les Garner
  • Skill building workshops to develop elements of leadership 
  • Student-led service projects 
  • Panel discussion and networking event with leaders from the Creative Corridor
  • Chicago Career Tour
  • Participation in a business case study, examining a real-world scenario

2018-19 Program Details

Elements of Leadership Workshops with Gale Mote

Gale Mote's six-part workshop series was so successful we decided to add to it! Beginning in 2018-2019, this is a seven-part series of leadership skill-building series led by Trainer and Organizational Development Consultant, Gale Mote. Workshops emphasize the following key components: understanding different communication styles, authentic leadership, emotional intelligence, team building, decision making, and influencing skills. 

Leadership Seminar

In the seminar hosted by former Cornell president, Les Garner students consider the “10 Commandments of Leadership” by viewing contrasting leadership styles in the BBC docu-drama “The Last Place on Earth,” chronicling the race to the South Pole between Roald Amundsen (Norway) and Robert Scott (Britain) in 1911. After discussing the docu-drama, students meet in small groups to identify the objectives and attributes of leadership. 

Business Case Study 

Tom Jarom '66, patron of Cornell LEADS, presents a case study in business management from his own career in International Banking. Tom is a life trustee and a former chair of the Cornell Board of Trustees. 

Panel Discussion and Networking Event with Entrepreneurial Leaders

Mehrdad and LEADS students networkingStratafolio and LEADS students networking

Accomplished leaders in business will share their career stories, citing resources found, leadership challenges faced when building their businesses, and eventual successes. The panel this year will again be moderated by Julie Zielinski, VP of Marketing and Strategy at the Entrepreneurial Development Center and panelists include: 

  • Jeri Frank, co-founder and CEO of STRATAFOLIO
  • Simeon Talley, social entrepreneur, Flyover Fest, RADInc., and Maker's Loft
  • Manuel Galvez, owner of Spanish-language online news source El Trueque
  • Mehrdad Zarifkar '07, owner of Aviana LLC

Chicago Site Visits

LEADS students will travel to Chicago over block break 7 to meet with leaders in various fields, participate in an alumni networking event, and visit organizations in a variety of fields and industries. This year, we will visit the brand new global McDonald's corporate and charitable organization headquarters, NBC Universal Sports, Advanced Group, and Mistwood Golf Course.  

Service Outreach

Cornell LEADS is partnering with the Civic Engagement Office to plan and execute the kick-off party for the Angel Tree project and will assist with the project from start to finish. There are a variety of opportunities for service at Cornell College, and LEADS participants are encouraged to use their leadership skills in service to others.