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AJ Smith

Area of Study:

Tippie Direct Admit, Accounting Interest, Certificate in International Business


Davenport, IA

Describe your experience with the President's Leadership Class. What are some lessons/skills you walked away with?

The President's Leadership Class was a wonderful opportunity to network with and learn from some of the most dedicated and hard-working students and faculty on this campus. Each week we were met with real life examples in which visionary leadership completely changed the effectiveness of companies, organizations, and communities. I walked away from the President's Leadership Class not only with a strong network of talented and dedicated peers -- I came away with an enhanced understanding of the critical role leaders play in the attitudes, beliefs, and success of groups of all sizes.

What would you say is the most important quality in a leader?

Behind every leader is a great vision, one which inspires others to take action of their own accord. Leaders may be more or less vocal in this inspiration, they may use their deeds or their words to communicate their vision, but the one consistent link between all great leaders, in my mind, is that their vision is so captivating, so innovative or revolutionary, that it inspires others to take up the vision as their own and ensure it is realized. Thus, the most important quality in a leader is the ability to communicate a compelling vision to others in a way that makes them want to realize that vision, too.

What else are you involved with on campus?

I am a Resident Assistant in Daum Hall, a Senator in the Undergraduate Student Government, a member of Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity, the Fundraising Chair for the UIowa Chapter of Habitat for Humanity, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator of the University of Iowa Environmental Coalition, a member of Hawkeye Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a member of Beta Gamma Sigma International Business Honor Society, and a model for the University of Iowa Hawk Shop.

In what ways has PLC shaped your experience on campus and/or your future endeavors?

PLC put me in contact with people that, to this day, inspire and push me to excel in my academic and extracurricular pursuits. The friends and connections I have made in the President's Leadership Class have opened an innumerable number of doors for me during my time here at the University of Iowa, and I am immensely grateful to have had the opportunity to have taken part in this class.


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