By Katie Kelly, DLE Social Media Intern, Communications and Culture major with a concentration in Media and a dual minor in Sports Journalism and Digital Technologies and Emerging Media at Fordham University, New York, NY
“Leadership is a skill — and the product that leaders create is relationships.”
Those were opening comments by guest speaker Greg Bluestein at this month’s Culture Chat: Leading Regardless of Title: Keeping Yourself and Your Peers Accountable.
As a defensive coordinator for the repeat Massachusetts State Champions Everett High Varsity Football team, Greg is familiar with leading others and advising those in need.
Guided by diagrams and graphics, Greg coached the diverse group of attendees on how to rally colleagues around a common goal and help them contribute to success. One concept that was particularly powerful is the 20-square feet rule. “When someone hires you, they give you ownership of 20 square feet of their organization,” he explained.
Greg’s words struck a chord with the DLE’s newest and youngest DLE member, Christian Zamor. As a freshman at Everett High School in MA, Christian sees his high school years as a pivotal time in his life for developing the leadership skills required to lead his peers both in the classroom and on the football field.
Christian shares, “a great takeaway from the discussion was that I have 20 square feet of culture in every organization that I am a part of. This truth eliminates the temptation to pass the job of creating a desired culture to the ‘boss’ or ‘manager.’ It calls on me, as an individual, to take ownership and lead myself, even before I start leading others.”
Christian took the advice that Greg provided and made it applicable to his own life. He vows to use the invaluable information to move forward and be a better leader wherever he can. “I am determined to go after the inspiring advice given by Coach Blue in today’s discussion. I must start by remembering that the people I lead are not my followers but rather my peers,” he notes.
“Additionally, I will fight to build deep bonds and relationships within the organizations I am part of. Instead of outright calling out others’ faults, I will push to reach the hearts of my peers and lead them to actions that uphold our standards.”
Christian’s Culture Chat experience prompted him to immediately submit a DLE membership form and start following the DLE Instagram. He looks forward to staying actively involved and applying all the skills he’s learned from the Culture Chat.
“The event was amazing and very informative, and I am very grateful to have the opportunity to experience the DLE culture,” he reflects. “As someone striving to improve as a leader every day, I loved the challenges and practices discussed during the event. Applying them to my life will undoubtedly take my leadership to the next level.”
Another Culture Chat attendee who welcomed Greg’s advice was Allison Mikaniewicz, Marketing and Administrative Coordinator at the Berkshire Innovation Center in Pittsfield, MA, who considered the value of having a leader like Greg in every aspiring leader’s life.
“It was evident Coach Blue’s advice was relevant and works when we listened to his student athletes speak during the breakout groups. I couldn’t help but think that all students would benefit from having a ‘Coach Blue’ in their life and how better off adults would be if they had a mentor like him during their school years,” Allison shares.