Marian High School celebrated its annual Leadership Day on Tuesday, a day highlighting the school's commitment to nurturing leadership skills in its students. This year's event featured two inspiring young alumnae speakers, Olivia Lehnertz ’15 and Maddy Kizy ‘18, who shared their experiences, insights, and words of wisdom with the current student body. The event also coincided with the school's first all-school Mass of the year, creating a powerful atmosphere of unity and purpose. The day, sponsored by Marian's All School Board (ASB), centered around Max Lucado's quote, "Grace is the voice that calls us to change and then gives us the power to pull it off."
Olivia Lehnertz ‘15: From the Stage to the Tech Industry
Olivia spoke to students on her journey from her years at Marian to her current role as the Director of Marketing at Global System Integrations. Olivia's involvement as a student leader at Marian laid the foundation for her leadership skills. She served on the All School Board for four years, culminating in her role as Co-President during her senior year. Olivia's commitment extended beyond student government – she was the President of Concert Choir, a member of Marian Melodies and Liturgical Choir, and a performer in eight Marian Repertory Productions.
Following her graduation from Marian, Olivia pursued degrees in Music, Theatre, and Dance at Hope College. She showcased her talents in regional theater, film, and theme parks before making a career shift to the technology industry. Olivia's experience as a Co-President during her senior year and her internship in marketing during college equipped her to thrive in her new role. As the Director of Marketing at Global System Integrations, she leads her team in enhancing brand awareness and orchestrating events for clients and prospects. Olivia's journey underscored the importance of recognizing one's strengths, adapting to change, and pursuing opportunities that align with personal passions.
Olivia offered sage advice to the students. She urged sophomores to identify their strengths and align them with leadership positions they are passionate about. Juniors were advised to focus on time management and deep focus, essential skills in college preparation. Seniors were encouraged to seek leadership opportunities beyond high school, emphasizing that these experiences would set them apart in their future endeavors.
Maddy Kizy ‘18: Embracing Change and Grit in Leadership
Maddy shared her journey from high school to becoming a Senior Acquisitions Analyst at Agree Realty Corporation. Maddy's leadership experiences at Marian and her involvement in various activities prepared her for the challenges of college and the professional world.
Maddy's time at Marian was characterized by her involvement in leadership positions, including serving as the class president during her junior and senior years. She was also a retreat leader and a member of the mission trip to Guatemala. Maddy's lessons in leadership were reinforced on the volleyball court as she captained the varsity team. These experiences taught her about effective communication, resilience, and the importance of building and leading a team.
In college, Maddy found herself facing the uncertainty of choosing a major and career path. Through determination and exploration, she discovered her passion for real estate and secured a position at Agree Realty Corporation. Maddy's journey taught her the value of adaptability, grit, and confidence. She encouraged students to embrace change, uphold their values, and approach challenges with a problem-solving mindset.
Key Qualities of Effective Leadership
Both speakers emphasized essential qualities for effective leadership:
Effective Communication: Being able to express oneself clearly and listening actively to others' perspectives.
Confidence and Positivity: Believing in oneself and maintaining a positive attitude even in the face of challenges.
Accountability: Taking ownership of mistakes and seeking solutions to rectify them.
Inclusion: Ensuring that everyone feels valued and included within a team or community.
Grit and Resilience: Demonstrating determination and the ability to bounce back from setbacks.
Problem-Solving Skills: Approaching challenges with creative solutions and a growth mindset.
Empathy and Kindness: Treating others with kindness, understanding, and respect.
Adaptability: Being open to change and embracing new opportunities.
The Leadership Day at Marian High School provided students with valuable insights into the diverse paths that leadership can take and the qualities that make effective leaders. The stories of Olivia and Maddy underscore the importance of embracing change, developing grit, and staying true to one's values. These alumnae serve as inspirations for the current generation of Marian students, encouraging them to confidently step into leadership roles and make a positive impact in their communities and future careers.