Two Master of Arts in Management (MA) students were recognized for their leadership recently. Brittney Knox (MA ’14) was awarded the Duke Energy Leadership Award and JJ Pezor (MA ’14) received the Dean’s Leadership Award.
The recognition comes with a $10,000 prize, but what these students may remember even more is that their peers helped select the recipients. The students who were nominated for the award wrote essays on the topic “What it means to be a leader” and then the student body voted for their favorites — the students who most demonstrated leadership.
“When I think of a good leader, I think of someone who listens to their peers and puts them ahead of themselves, and that exemplifies JJ,” said Mark Gerelus (MA ’14) who has been Pezor’s roommate the last five years.
Once I built a confidence in myself, I could start leading. I found my leadership style to be motivating through example. This type of leadership style is not necessarily the “big talker” or “boss,” but instead utilizing my strength of earning respect from my friends and teammates to trust in me and my decision making processes. This experience was the foundation for my leadership trek. – from JJ Pezor’s essay
The awards began in 2012 when Duke Energy took notice of the MA program. “Duke Energy recognized our program as being a market leaders in MA programs,” said Mike Haggas, director of development for the School of Business. ““They wanted to support the MA program by acknowledging an MA candidate who demonstrated leadership development through the first semester of the program. Their interest peaked when we proposed that the students be allowed to nominate and help select the recipient.”
“Brittney notices all the little things that people do to help others,” said Althia Brown (MA ’14) who is Knox’s roommate. “Noticing what other people do is a leadership quality.”
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is one of the important things about leadership is that there is no period at the end of your own personal leadership journey; I would argue an ellipsis is a bigger fit – signifying the constant transformation. – from Brittney Knox’s essay
“Most scholarship awards are given to students before they enroll, based on their past behavior, in the hope that that behavior will continue,” said Derrick Boone, associate dean, MA in Management and associate professor of marketing. “But these leadership awards are based on their actual growth during their time at the School of Business, their desire to help others and how they are getting results with integrity.”