DURHAM, N.C. – One hundred Blue Devil student-athletes participated in the Duke Athletics Leadership Enrichment and Development (L.E.A.D.) retreat at Quaker Lake Camp in Climax, N.C. over Labor Day weekend. This number included 35 sophomores, 34 juniors and 31 seniors. The event was facilitated by the Duke Athletics Leadership Program. Coaches from baseball, rowing, softball, wrestling as well as men’s and women’s teams including fencing, lacrosse, swimming and diving, tennis and track and field selected student-athlete leaders to represent their respective teams.
Sean Tate, a senior on the Swimming & Diving team, reflected on his L.E.A.D. experience, “I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in L.E.A.D. as it helped me draw on experiences of not only my teammates, but also other student-athletes all working towards becoming capable leaders who leave a lasting legacy on their teams.”
The keynote speaker for the weekend was Duke alumnus and ESPN Basketball Analyst, Jay Bilas. He shared with the student-athletes the characteristics of a championship culture and the importance of having empathy in a leadership role.
The L.E.A.D. program focuses on helping leadership groups within each team explore and understand their leadership potential through various group and individual 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 individual roles as sophomores, juniors and seniors within various team cultures. In addition, students reflected on their current team culture and the legacy they will leave as leaders. Activities included vision boards, behavioral and personality assessments through DiSC Assessment and PDP Profile reports and communication via authentic conversations.
Robert Levine, a junior member of men’s tennis team, on L.E.A.D. and its impact: “It was a great opportunity for us to have frank conversations and set open communication from the get go. We also used the weekend to set our team goals and values which will complement the culture our program already has in place.”
L.E.A.D. is made possible in part by a generous gift from the Heidrick Family.