I was 15 minutes early. I tried to sit in my car and wait until the Super Leaders open house started. Finally, after about five minutes, I decided to walk over. I had a list of questions in one hand and a pen in the other. I wanted to become a part of Super Leaders.

Mary Duncan

Mary Duncan

What interested me most in Super Leaders was the chance to learn more about myself and develop leadership skills. I am by nature a shy person, but I believe in the concept that one should never stop improving. I saw Super Leaders as an opportunity to improve.

When I walked through the door into the open house, I was relieved to see many other people there. I saw familiar faces and started asking my list of questions.

During that open house I learned that the Super Leaders program offers networking opportunities with many different fields, a free year membership to the Young Professionals Network and even a Leadership Development Day, or as it’s known among Super Leaders, the Motive Matters Day. On this day, Super Leaders learn about what “colors” they are – for free. I got my application and from there, I was set.

After I turned in my application, I was scheduled for an interview. I was nervous at the interview but I left feeling lighthearted and proud of myself. Finally, I received confirmation that I was accepted into the program.

Each of the focus days, usually every other Friday, were completely different. Sometimes I didn’t know what to expect and that feeling made me excited.

There were six different industries we visited, plus our Leadership Development Day. My favorite day was Nonprofit and Civic Organization. On that day, my group and I went to visit the Joplin Humane Society and the Children’s Haven. There is nothing I love more than cute little cats and dogs and little kids. So how could it get any better? Because I want to work for a non-profit after graduation, the idea of going to work to make a difference in the world we live in doesn’t sound much like work to me.

Once you graduate from Super Leaders, it doesn’t mean it’s over. Just last October I was invited to cook dinner with fellow Super Leaders for the Children’s Haven. Super Leaders has a lot to offer students even after they graduate from the program. Insight can be gained about Joplin and its businesses, you can make new connections and network and make new friends while doing it. Not to mention, it looks great on a resume.

Super Leaders provided me many opportunities that most other programs or clubs cannot. By being part of the program I made valuable connections, learned more about myself and the city I live in and I learned about the industry I hope to work in someday.

I am proud to be a Super Leader.

Mary Duncan is a public relations-communication major who will graduate from Missouri Southern in May 2014.