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Mentoring Matters

Leadership Institute celebrates 10 years of its flagship event

Lauren Edelman and Claire Leffingwell

From The Ichabod - Winter 2020

Lauren Edelman was a senior at Washburn University when she served as the first Leadership Challenge Event student fellow in 2011. Today, she’s the interim director of the Leadership Institute and mentors the current fellow, senior Claire Leffingwell, for the upcoming 10th annual Leadership Challenge Event.

Since her freshman year, Leffingwell has been heavily involved in the Leadership Institute, working her way up through various volunteer positions for the Leadership Challenge Event before becoming the fellow this year. Edelman has been with her every step of the way.

“Since I arrived at Washburn, Lauren and I have connected and worked together as a mentor/mentee pair,” Leffingwell said. “I love that her passion for the event and the impact it has on students shines through our work together, and I am extremely fortunate to have her encouragement and leadership.”

The Leadership Challenge Event is the only one of its kind in the nation. The event simulates the real-world process of leadership through a two-day interactive competition. The event challenges students to address situations where the outcome is dependent on the leadership decisions made throughout. It encourages leadership development by offering participants education, hands-on experience and recognition in a competitive environment. This structure honors intellectual achievement and practical experience while building camaraderie and networks between competitors.

Edelman, ba ’11, remembers her time as a student at Washburn fondly.

“I would consider being the Leadership Challenge Event fellow to be a really transformational experience for me,” Edelman said.

It’s a meaningful experience to see Leffingwell take on the same role 10 years later.

“Working with Claire is awesome because she pushes me both as a faculty member and as a person passionate about leadership,” Edelman said. “Claire’s brilliant. It’s really fun to work with a student who has limitless potential.”

The event provides an opportunity for the Washburn campus and the community to connect through sponsorships and volunteer positions. Each year, the Leadership Institute raises more than $30,000 to fund the event.

Additionally, the event results in positive exposure for Washburn by giving high school students the opportunity to spend time on campus and learn more about Washburn and the Leadership Institute.

“I’m learning a lot about myself and I’m excited to keep developing content for the event,” said Leffingwell of this year’s competition. “I think the 10th annual Leadership Challenge Event is a huge milestone for Washburn and the Leadership Institute, and I can’t wait to watch it continue to grow.”

The Ichabod magazine fall 2020

The Ichabod tells our story with features on alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends, along with the latest campus news. Read the 2020 fall edition online and look for it in mailboxes in October.

View past editions


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