LeaderShape is leading with integrity one student at a time
Contact: Amanda Perez, Intern 381-2741
Posted: 01/14/2010
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A just, caring and thriving world where we all lead with integrity and a healthy disregard for the impossible is the vision set forth by the LeaderShape Institute which has brought more than 50 students together for a one week experience starting Jan. 9-14 at The University of Texas-Pan American.

Pictured are sophomore Edgar Torres, a criminal justice major, and freshman Victor Gutierrez, computer engineering major, who are participating in the construction of a balloon castle during a team-building activity at LeaderShape.
"This is a perfect time for students to direct their lives in a positive direction," said Dr. Edwin Lemaster, dean of the College of Science and Engineering. "We want students to gain the understanding of what leadership is and to learn that by developing leadership you can achieve more."

The LeaderShape Institute is open to all students at no cost. Attendees will have the opportunity to develop team and communication skills, create visions and goals and learn how to lead with integrity. Special to this year's institute, is a guest leader forum made up of a UTPA alumna and other successful people who spoke to students.

Velinda Reyes, director of corporate and foundation relations for the Development Office, was the forum's moderator. She said the importance of the forum is to give students good examples and insight on leadership.

"I hope that students will take away something from each speaker because they will use it at some point in their lives," Reyes said.

George Reynolds, Northrop Grumman; Randy Sweeten, Long Chilton; Alma Ortega-Johnson, Wells Fargo Bank; UTPA alumna Alicia Torres, McKesson; and Christina Ibrahim, Halliburton, made up the five person panel. During a question and answer session, they talked about leadership skills, professional challenges and accomplishments, team work and trust.

"The key to being a good leader is making a team work as a team," said Ortega. "You have to have the skill to understand what motivates each person and allow everyone to contribute so that you can achieve as a team."

"As a leader you ultimately make the final decision, but a good leader will listen to their team," said Torres. "Just because you are the leader does not mean you know everything, you have to be willing to learn from your team too."

LeaderShape participant Monica Martinez said she took the advice to heart knowing that it would help her in her present and future plans.

Pictured are Marissa Montoya, a freshman majoring in nursing, and Silvia De Leon, a master's of business administration student, discussing their values during an activity at LeaderShape.
"Everything the speakers said was amazing. They have a lot of experience and we had a great opportunity here tonight that we can benefit from," said Martinez, senior biology major. "I want to develop better communication and leadership skills and with Leadershape I am getting there."

Robert Velasco, freshman music major, agreed.

"What I am learning I will use in life to be a better leader and to help others," he said. "This experience is helping me find the leader inside me."

Sponsors for this year's LeaderShape Institute are Halliburton, Procter and Gamble and Northrop Grumman.

"Businesses, like ours, are based on bringing in bright, young students and so we want to make sure that we give students every tool to be successful," Reynolds said. "This University provides a set of opportunities for students to go anywhere and be anything with determination and perseverance. This is a message of hope."

For more information on LeaderShape visit To learn more about UTPA's LeaderShape program, contact program coordinators Velinda Reyes at 956/318-5301, Jeanette Broshears at 956/381-2659 or Jodie Moore-Dominguez at 956/316-7080.