Breakfast with the Chancellor and Meeting the Mayor


On our first scheduled e-learning day, the Kokomo CEO students met with the Chancellor of IUK, Susan Sciame-Giesecke.  She taught us many valuable lessons including how to become a successful leader in the community and contribute to the success of the community as a whole. I think she is an exceptional model figure in Kokomo because she’s prioritizes interacting with students and staff at her university, and she envisions a unique place for the university to reach. Furthermore, she urges the CEO students to lead in position and “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” The best leader is one who listens.

My favorite quote she used is “Vision without execution is hallucination,” and it makes our class experience especially surreal. The chancellor took a big leap of faith when taking on IUK five years ago. She saw the potential in it, and she decided to execute a plan to make IUK a “first choice” for college students. Her risk-taking nature truly made an impact on my thoughts. To be successful in any environment, a person must take risks. This may sound self contradicting to a statistical person; however, taking risks develops confidence and may bring unforeseen opportunities. I applied to the Kokomo CEO program in hopes of expanding my networking skills outside my comfort zone, and I took a risk to join a group of 19 students. 

Many of my classmates believe in the ability to create a class business much different than anyone has ever seen. Our vision to learn from the mistakes we make allows us to reshape the class business like never before. Mayor Greg Goodnight loved this idea. Since 2008 in Kokomo, he admitted to making mistakes; however, he mentioned he changed some of his ideas to further the community instead of focusing on the needs of a specific group. I think this piece of advice resonated with us the most. We must focus on how our class business can resonate with our target market. Furthermore, he gave us insight on the next mayoral election. His decision to not announce his candidate-ship shocked me but his reason panned out.

“I do care enough about this community that I don’t want elections to be about personalities,” said the mayor.  The idea not to run for office presented itself after his third reelection. His main focus is not to run for the wrong reasons. In some cases past employees or angered members of the community push for election to gain attraction to their ideas. Mayor Goodnight preaches, “Sometimes you have to make unpopular decisions to move the community forward.” The goal is not to please everyone. It is to advance the entirety of the organization. The CEO students decided on a class business idea and to make it much more elaborate than previous years. 

As weeks have passed, these occurrences stick out the most. Two of the most influential people in Kokomo gave us their insights on our visions and ideas. Chancellor Giesecke and Mayor Goodnight taught us the importance of taking risks and focusing on the dream instead of the obstacles in front of it. The CEO events we attend continue to further our learning of the business world and teach us real life values. CEO is much more than a class: it’s a lifestyle.

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