Vice Chair Feature || Heart of a Leader Training

written by | Sandra Shimba


There are a lot of leadership training out there, and a lot of them actually do what they are supposed to do, but none of them have actually challenged and helped me discover myself the way Heart of a Leader has.  

When I went through Heart of a Leader the first time I was in shock by amount of energy Ryan Penneau (the facilitator) had, and that energy was contagious. I came in with the mentality of “let me give it just enough” and I ended with giving it my all!  

I enjoyed the team spirit, getting to know other students and creating those bonds.  I knew who each of these people were prior, from seeing them at different Student’s United events and conferences. However, I was looking forward to getting to know each of them better. At the beginning I knew each of them as their position and by the end I knew them all as people. By tradition every team that goes through this training has a name and ours was “students united” because we want to be united! And show the whole Minnesota State system that together can accomplish a lot and stand strong. 

 My personal experience this time around was really different as the facilitator Bobby Audley added some activities that were focused on self-growth, I wanted to know where I was at a year after last year’s training. I expected some sort of improvement. But boy was I surprised! I realized that I still had the same issues and the same feedback from people. This encouraged me not just to work on myself in a good ‘nuff way but to really work hard, to better myself. 


I used to be very reserved and didn’t enjoy public speaking at all, even though I enjoy singing in front of people. After going through Heart of a Leader and receiving the feedback and mostly support of my different teammates, it built some confidence in me. I was more able to look at my peers for support and constructive criticism to help me do better. It also creates a family environment that mostly based on the trust that you have for each other.  

 Moving forward as the board and coordinators of Students United, I foresee this training was beneficial as it allowed us to get to know one another beyond our titles, but rather as people. This is important as we are spread across the state of Minnesota and can never have enough opportunities to bond on a personal level. This training cultivates an environment of respect and understand amongst the decision makers of our organization.