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NEW Leadership Lessons

News Type Leadership News

For the 22nd year, the Glenn College hosted NEW Leadership Ohio, a five-day, nonpartisan leadership academy offering college students from across the state the opportunity to meet successful women leaders and learn how to be effective advocates for issues that matter most to them.

Three impressive speakers offered timeless advice for our future leaders. Their words are also great lessons and reminders for burgeoning and experienced professionals. 

Advice from Chanel Cornett 

Senior Counsel, Trust and Safety, Zoom Video Communications Inc. 
2015 NEW Leadership Participant  

“The NEW Leadership program was monumental for me. This quote by Bell Hooks resonates with me:‘What we cannot imagine cannot come into being.’ This program allowed me to imagine what I could become in the future. Hearing from the amazing leaders in policy, government and law was very enriching for me and helped me gain confidence to believe that I could become a leader in my field someday.” 

  1. Keep an open mind. My calling has shifted so much throughout my decade-long career. It’s evolved and become completely different, and I have a lot of life to live, so I’m sure it will change even more. I implore you to keep an open mind. 

  2. Have a guiding principle. Have a northern star that guides your work. Mine has always been to leave the world a better place than I found it. I ensure that whatever I’m doing is in alignment with that principle. 

  3. Be delusional about your goals. I’m the youngest attorney at Zoom, a corporate attorney without big-law experience. But I did it because I was delusional and I believed that I could. There are so many “no’s” you will face in your life. There is imposter syndrome and so many obstacles. Don’t let your own mind be an obstacle. Let it be one less obstacle that you face. Believe in yourself.  

  4. Health is wealth. In order to serve, we have to serve ourselves first mentally and physically. Burn out is real. Working hard to serve while staying focused on your goal can cause stress mentally and physically. Put yourself, your safety and your health first. 

  5. Surround yourself with “yes people.” I’m in my “yes-man era” and I want to surround myself with people who believe in me and want to see me achieve my goals. Your community is your reality. Who you’re around is your reality and will influence who you’ll become. Make sure you have people around you who believe in you and believe in your goals and don’t tell you “no” but hold you accountable and say, “maybe you can do this better.” 

Advice from Athina Lawson

Press Secretary, Office of the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives 
2017 NEW Leadership Participant; ’18 BA, management, leadership and policy 


“The John Glenn College of Public Affairs and programs like NEW Leadership Ohio play a pivotal role in empowering women to step into leadership roles and make their voices heard.” 

  1. Speak up. Never underestimate the power of your voice, your passion or your potential. You have the ability to shape the course of history and make a difference in the lives of countless individuals.   

  2. Work together. When women are at the table, decisions are more inclusive, policies are more responsive, the spirit of bipartisanship is embraced, and communities are more resilient. We bring unique perspectives, lived experiences and collaborative approaches that enrich the fabric of governance and drive meaningful change. Bridge divides. Find common ground. Forge meaningful partnerships across the political spectrum. By working together, regardless of political view, we can achieve greater progress and make a positive impact on the lives of all Americans.  

  3. Be positive. No one likes someone with a bad attitude. Treating people with respect, humanity and integrity is most important. Your integrity is your most valued asset. You must protect it. 

  4. Be principled. Stand just in your values, especially in times when they’re challenged. 

  5. Be proactive. Opportunities don’t always just come to you; you have to seek them out. You have to ask for what you want. 

  6. Be patient. In Billy Joel’s song “Vienna,” he says, “You can’t be everything you want to be before your time.” You have to start somewhere and it’s not always easy. Don’t get discouraged when a job doesn’t pan out or you get told “no.” Being told NO opens up doors to other opportunities that will be a YES. 

Advice from Sophia Fifner

President and CEO of the Columbus Metropolitan Club 

“Become a bridge builder. We live in a world where individuals, and especially women, are challenged to pick sides. Bridge builders connect diverse perspectives and stand on principle. Every small action you take as bridge builders can make a significant impact.” 

Becoming a bridge builder is not a singular moment; it’s built over time.  

  1. Embrace your authentic selves and know that your authenticity will transform over time into something extraordinary.  
  2. Engage with empathy. Don’t just walk, but share the feelings of others. 
  3. Pursue curiosity in a way that makes space for understanding. 
  4. Nurture your connections and build meaningful relationships. 

Martin Luther King Jr. said our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Speak up, stay engaged, and be the bridge builders our world needs. 

Keep Learning:

The world needs more leaders that are committed to the values these speakers portray. Become a more self-aware leader through the Glenn College Leadership Certificate for Public and Nonprofit Professionals. Applications are due July 1 for autumn’s courses.