Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Pharmacy (SOP) fourth-year student Kristen Ingold was selected as one of 22 participants for the inaugural Phi Lambda Sigma (PLS) Leader Academy. She was selected from a pool of nearly 80 applicants nationally.
“The PLS Leader Academy is a newly launched intensive leadership training program and Kristen exemplifies many of the important qualities of a leader,” said Keith Hecht, PharmD, associate professor in the SOP Department of Pharmacy Practice. “I am excited to see how this program will help her continue to develop as a leader in our profession.”
A Freeburg native, Ingold has high hopes for the experience. “I hope to gain a better understanding of my view on teamwork, how I make decisions and how I interact with others,” she said. “By analyzing these attributes in relation to myself, I can grow and better incorporate the leadership tools presented in this Academy. I am aiming to form a strong connection with my cohort through sharing our experiences.”
PLS eventually developed two 11-person cohorts from the talented applicant pool. Students submitted an application outlining their interest in the Academy and how participation in the program will be shared with their home chapter and school.
In her application, Ingold focused on collaboration with the current officers of SIUE’s PLS chapter to form a leadership mini-series. “We will pull from the core skills and competencies that I learn in the Academy,” she said. “Each skill will become its own discussion topic for our current PLS chapter members and new inductees.”
The intensive leadership training program includes bi-monthly cohort meetings and individual coaching sessions in order for participants to develop an awareness of self and others to become a leader worth following. The sessions began October 5 and will run until May 2021.
The first meeting addressed questions regarding the Academy and introduced all members of the cohort. “Our facilitator allowed each member to share their thoughts and a fun fact about themselves,” Ingold said. “Even with a small 3-minute speech from everyone, my cohort found many similarities and bonds. At the end of the call, we had enough time to begin discussing a leadership tool, which is where we will continue at our next biweekly call.”
Ingold said an Academy requirement is for participants to be vulnerable and open. “This means accepting feedback and realizing you have weaknesses that can be strengthened,” she said. “A major skill I hope to improve upon is giving and receiving constructive criticism. A strong leader needs to be able to build a cohesive team and listen to them. Leadership is a two-way street!”
SOP Dean Mark Luer, PharmD, FCCP, strongly believes that each student should experience some form of leadership development while in the School. “While our curriculum has it intentionally imbedded, the PLS Leadership Academy offers a wonderful opportunity for Kristen to engage with students from across the country in pursuit of both personal and professional growth,” he said. “This type of programming offers the opportunity to improve her communication skills, navigate both self- and social-awareness, and sharpen her decision-making skills, which all easily translate to the pharmacy profession and the ever-present challenges of healthcare and society.”
Phi Lambda Sigma was established in 1965 to develop leadership qualities among pharmacy students and pharmacists, and to recognize leaders in the profession
Photo: Kristen Ingold, SIUE School of Pharmacy student.