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

2016-17 Program Details


Leadership Seminar

In the seminar hosted by former Cornell president, Les Garner students considered 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 met in small groups to identify the objectives and attributes of leadership. Tuesday, November 1st, 3:30-5:30 p.m. in Hedges.

Panel Discussion and Networking Event with Young Entrepreneurs

Young entrepreneurs shared their college to career story, resources they used, and leadership challenges they faced when launching their own business. Students met entrepreneurs involved in a variety of businesses including 2 Cornell Alums, Mehrdad Zarifkar '09 - Aviana and eM Detailing, and Scott Ruttencutter '01 - IQ Foundry. Additional panelists included Allison Poss from Girls With Ideas and Max Cochran with Habitat Flats. Introducing the panel and the value of entrepreneurial thinking was Sarah Binder from The Gazette Co. 

Chicago Site Visits

LEADS students will meet with leaders in various fields, participated in an alumni networking event, and visited the following organizations:

Business Case Study 

Tom Jarom '66, patron of Cornell LEADS, will present 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.