On My Journey To Be A Leader… By Justin Monsewicz
A leader is someone that can easily be observed or spotted in a crowd. We can tell who a leader is by the way they’re acting, the way others approach them, or even by the way they’re dressed. Leaders are, in my opinion, noticeable. Leaders are noticeable by others. Are leaders noticeable to themselves though?
Reflecting on my life up to this point, I can observe how I have been in leadership positions or how others have put me in leadership positions. For some reason, those people saw something in me and pushed me, or even forced me into roles and situations. To be completely honest though, I never personally saw myself as a leader until a few months ago.
My elementary school had its own TV station where students would give the morning announcements and such as if they were a news team. I was an anchor my fourth grade year and signed up to be a camera person my fifth grade year. After one newscast the faculty member in charge of the news informed me I was to be pulled off the camera and was a permanent anchor. She told me I was one of the best at it. At the time though, I didn’t realized it all meant she believed in me.
In high school I was a member of SkillsUSA, a leadership development organization. All four years, I participated in extemporaneous speech competitions on the regional level. I was able to move on to the state level competition twice, both in my freshman and senior years. And to brag on myself for a second, I won first place at regional and then third place at state my freshman year. After that year, after proving myself, the teacher who led it didn’t want any other student to enter that competition. He wanted me to be the representation of my high school. Again, he believed in me.
Currently, I’m a student at the University of West Georgia pursuing my bachelors in Mass Communications with an emphasis in public relations. For the second year in a row, I’m the Chapter President for my university’s Public Relations Student Society of America Chapter and a student leader (and assistant promotions director at one time) at the campus radio station, the WOLF Internet Radio. I gained these roles by getting involved, but when those in charge saw my potential, they led me into these roles.
Before being Chapter President, I assisted our campus advisor, Dr. Amber Smallwood, with the application process so my university could receive approval to begin the Chapter. The Chapter began last fall and it has been an amazing experience. As Chapter President, I lead our meetings, but I also have had to step up in several ways. Last fall we were applying for a grant that would allot us funds for the Chapter. Due to schedules, our campus advisor and I had to postpone working on the application. Well, a few days before it was due, we realized we needed our professional advisor’s signature on the document. Jacob Hawkins of Ogilvy Atlanta is our professional advisor and his office was in Atlanta. As Chapter President, I took responsibility for postponing the application. The day before it was due I drove to Atlanta, received Jacob’s signature and then hand-delivered the document where it needed to go. I spent hours driving around Atlanta, had to cancel lunch on some friends and spend my personal time on this task.
It was worth every second of it and we received the grant. Sacrifice comes with leadership. I’ve been able to learn that as Chapter President.
I realized that I was a leader due to my leadership role as Chapter President. My chapter is one out of over 300. PRSSA is a respected and well-known organization on a global scale. It is the daughter organization of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). All of that hit me, instantly. And yes, it stunned me. With that came the realization that my fellow classmates possibly saw me as a leader. The realization that my professors most definitely saw me a leader occurred to me as well. All of a sudden I realized that classmates, professors and others I may never have a conversation with saw me as a leader. In an instant I went from my mind being blown to thinking “…Oh crap.”
Being a leader is not a bad thing at all; do not think I’m saying that for one second. What I am saying is that being a leader changes your life. I was already acting as a leader, sure, but when I realized I was a leader, I began putting my effort into being a leader. I hold myself to a higher standard and I present myself differently now. I’ve always believed in personal development, but even more so now.
Allow me to show my geek for a second and quote Ben Parker from Spider-Man: “With great power comes great responsibility.”
Justin Monsewicz is a senior at the University of West Georgia studying public relations. He is the Chapter President of the Public Relations Student Society of America organization on campus. Justin has a passion for public relations, social media, personal branding and plaid. You can learn more about him by visiting his website.
Thanks to Justin for sharing his passion for leadership and his journey with #bealeader. It is wonderful to see someone starting on their long road to leadership with such great spirit.