Identity and Leadership by Alicia Fedelina Chavez and Ronni Sanlo

Every year I get a new group of student leaders and one of my favorite times of the year is when the students tell their life stories to the group. I love hearing about their joys and triumphs but I also appreciate their times of distress and tribulations. It during these incredibly difficult times where I see these young leaders define themselves.

Growing up I did not face a lot of trials. I am very blessed to have a solid foundation of family, friends, and means. When I got to college I had some big dreams because I was always encouraged to dream big. This is definitely a luxury most young men and women don’t have.

Half way through college though, I had a significant breakdown. The world did not work the way I thought it should. My entire worldview was demolished. I had to start all over. What I once considered a curse, I look back at this time as a blessing. If it was not for this difficult time in my life, I would not be the leader I am today.

Identity and Leadership is a compilation of stories written by a myriad of higher education administrators. Each entry discusses the author’s experience, how these early experiences made them the person they are today and how the person they are has made them the leader they are today.

I love hearing stories of leadership. After reading this book I felt nearly powerless, as most of the difficult times shared in the book are significantly more difficult than my own story. However, I think the idea of the book is solid: through the fire of difficult times, great leadership will emerge.