LDRS201 – Foundations of Leadership

201 Tag

zen 201

Course Description: 

“This course blazes the trail for understanding the concepts of good leadership and followership, identifying oneself as a leader, discovering one’s sense of calling, establishing a commitment and plan for whole-person leadership development, seeing leadership through an interdisciplinary lens, and grounding one’s “leadership story” in an awareness of both current history and the reality of the Kingdom of God. Through creative experiences, meaningful texts, and powerful assignments, students will be prepared for further leadership education.”

How this Course Impacted my Leadership & Core Values: 

One of the main focuses of this course was developing a holistic leadership style that encompassed and acknowledged every facet of life: spiritual, missional, relational, emotional, mental, and physical formations. As an introductory course to the field of Leadership Studies, this course helped me to develop a deeper sense of self-reflection, understanding of who I am and who I am called to be, and a deeper faith and trust in God (Perkins, 2000). Self-reflection, mindfulness and emotional intelligence and awareness are integral in beginning to understand how our lives, perceptions, and perspectives are shaped and entwined by every experience we face, implicitly and explicitly. Often, our experiences remain hidden and our perceptions unconsciousness. It is not until we begin to self-reflect that we develop an ability to see the world exactly the way it is.

Through developing a more holistic view, we discussed purposeful and reciprocal styles of leadership that sought to empower and uplift all within the organization, rather than solely lifting up those in power or in places of decision-making. More often than not, we seek to focus on the destination and the end point of our work, rather than allowing ourselves to acutely and deeply feel and experience the process, the journey, and the adventure of where we are headed. It is when we allow ourselves to be shaped, molded, and stretched that we develop a clearer image of the Lord and how He enables us to develop a rich, vivid, meaningful and transformative driving purpose and worldview (Perkins, 2000).

Lastly, we developed our ability to lead with integrity, authenticity, and genuineness in all we do, focusing on our understanding and perceptions of ourselves and how these affect how we see those around us within our communities. When we come to understand the beauty and meaning found within every human being, it shapes how we see ourselves and those with whom we partner and collaborate. There is no point in hiding our true selves from others because we have uniquely and creatively designed to flourish, inspire, and uplift all whom we encounter. We are made the way we are for a reason, whatever that may be and however it may take shape. When we embrace who we are at our core in the truth of God’s love, we see His image in everything around us and it moves us toward compassion and mercy.

“Genuine self-knowledge begins by looking at God and noticing how God is looking at us (Benner, 2015, p. 46).”

Acknowledgments & Commendation: 

“I had the privilege of partnering with Ivory in LDRS 201 as she was adventuring the first steps in her leadership journey. Although she was navigating her way, yet she showed incredible wisdom and courage to lead herself and her colleagues through this path. Ivory is one of the very few people I met who exercised vulnerability when uncertainty was the only certain fact. I am so blessed by knowing a powerful young woman like her.

Ann Youssef, M.A.

Director of Communication

Vision Communications International”

What I am Passionate & Driven By: 

I am continually in awe of the vastness, complexity, and similarity between all of humanity’s life narratives and stories. In so many ways, our experiences are the same; yet, in many others, each part of our lives and existence is much more nuanced than we could ever have guessed. We are colored and molded by every experience and interaction we have ever come across – loss and death, love and belonging, beauty, exhilaration, and joy.  I am passionate about helping others to reconcile their stories and narratives with who they truly are and how they can create meaning and beauty in the midst of confusion and conflict in who we are.


LDRS201 Class Photo taught and led by Professor Ann Youssef, April 2016.


Benner, D. G. (2015). The gift of being yourself: The sacred call to self-discovery. InterVarsity Press.

Perkins, B. (2000). Awaken the leader within. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House.