DURHAM, N.C.-- Duke student-athletes recently participated in the Leadership Enrichment And Development [L.E.A.D.] Retreat at Quaker Lake Camp in Climax, NC, from January 11 - 12. Over fifty student-athletes from the Field Hockey, Football, Volleyball, Men's and Women's Soccer, and Men's and Women's Golf teams attended the Leadership Retreat facilitated by the Duke Athletics Leadership Program.
The L.E.A.D. program focuses on helping leaders from each team explore and understand their leadership potential and discuss their teams’ culture through various individual and group activities. Working in groups comprised of members from each team, these young men and women had the opportunity to problem solve, communicate, discuss, and reflect on their individual roles as sophomores, juniors, and seniors within their various team cultures. In addition, students challenged themselves in the ways they can become better leaders and teammates by pushing their comfort zones and testing their abilities to lead, motivate, and communicate with each other. These shared peer experiences play a pivotal role in assisting the student-athletes in extending their personal leadership development to their respective teams, within Duke Athletics, on campus, and in local communities.
Margaux Paolino, a junior on the nationally-ranked Duke Field Hockey Team, stated, “L.E.A.D. expanded my definition of what it means to be a leader, as we discussed the various ways one can contribute and impact the team. Having honest and vulnerable conversations allowed me to work with my team to find ways we can improve or culture.”
Each member who participated is a student-athlete selected by their coaches because of the current leadership qualities they display as well as their potential growth as leaders.
The keynote speaker for the weekend was Duke Football Alum and Teamworks CEO, Zach Maurides. Zach spoke on the importance of student-athletes finding their why and allowing that to drive their decision making as leaders. Zach provided examples from his daily life as a husband and father as well as his time in developing the Teamworks brand.
Leadership theories and practices were discussed and applied throughout all retreat activities. L.E.A.D. culminated with teammates sharing with each other what they commit to do for the team.
When asked about his L.E.A.D. experience, Alex Smalley, a senior on the men's golf team, replied, “Over my last three trips to L.E.A.D., the team had been focused on getting to know everyone on a more personal level and to have difficult conversations about who is doing things right and who needs to step up a little bit. I believe it has helped our team culture because we can trust each other more since we were all in a state of vulnerability when having these difficult conversations. L.E.A.D. weekend continues to be an important weekend in the development of our team.”
L.E.A.D. is made possible in part by a generous gift from the Heidrick Family.