Lyles Explores Passion and Leadership

Jonique Lyles, Political Science major, has held leadership positions in seven student organizations, nine internships, while maintaining a high level of community service involvement. Her collegiate involvement journey has fueled her passion for service and leadership, resulting in her becoming the first CSLEPS Leadership Development Student Coordinator.


What have you accomplished in your role as Leadership Development Student Coordinator?

I led a dynamic leadership development week called L.E.G.O. Week, which stands for Leadership, Engagement, Growth, and Opportunity. This week included three days of outreach and two days of programming that engaged my fellow students in exploring our differences, passions, and leadership.  This position has allowed me to work across multiple university offices, research leadership theories, deliver presentations, facilitate group discussions, and help design structures for future workshops.

Lastly, I truly enjoy outreach, I created a small engagement piece in the office and on social media called #LeaderPolls. The polls asked students to answer questions on leadership and how students can reach for leadership, ethics, and public service in their own lives!

What did you learn by designing and facilitating a leadership development program?

My biggest takeaway is that any small action, conversation, and effort can truly make a difference in a person’s life. In my small effort of putting on L.E.G.O. Week, I was able to reach students, allowing them to see themselves as leaders and opening their hearts and minds to see they too can make a difference. Though, I might not be able to immediately see the change, I truly believe in the future impact my effort has made in each participant’s life!

How will you use your skills beyond your CSLEPS position?

Everywhere I go, I look for opportunities to develop other people’s passion and leadership. I truly believe anyone has the ability to create change, and my work in the office has taught me how to engage, support, and inspire others towards leadership and creating positive change, whether that is within themselves or within the community.

I have learned many skills through this position, including program outcome development, event planning, outreach, departmental collaboration and program assessment. I plan to utilize these skills in my future career to create the best programming I can. 

How have you used your passion and leadership to create change?

My passion and leadership was sparked in early 2014 from growing student concern about social injustice and microaggressions towards underrepresented populations. Turning my passion into action, I created an artistic activism student organization called S.P.E.A.K.(Students Proactively Engaged towards Activism Knowledgeably) that focused on artistic activism to spark change and conversation on campus. Since then, I have sought out student involvement, jobs, and service opportunities that help create solutions to social justice and diversity issues, such as Student Government, Alternative Service Break(ASB), campus employment, and Leadership Development Series(LDS) workshops, to continue developing my leadership skills. After graduation, I look forward to continuing positive impactful conversation and action steps, ultimately working towards the inclusion, support, and empowerment of all inter-sectional identities in our communities, institutions, and society.

What advice would you give a student seeking to develop their passion and leadership?

My advice would be to always dig deep into who you are, what you believe in, what experiences you have had, and what current issues are plaguing others and our society. This will always fuel your passion to create a positive change in any area of your life, whether personal, family, or work life.  Audrey Hepburn once said “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m Possible’”!

Jonique, a Spring 2016 graduate, has honed her passion for leadership through involvement in several CSLEPS programs. She was a member of the 2015 NC State LeaderShape Institute; attended the 2015 Spring Alternative Service Break trip to Charleston, SC; attended 13 Leadership Development Series workshops; and served as the Leadership Development Student Coordinator in Fall 2016.

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