Leadership Series


What is leadership? How is a leader different from a manager? Is a leader born, or is this is an acquired skill?

These are questions that dance in my head when I think about leadership. I know that I want to be a leader. I believe that my boss is an amazing leader. I have also had managers, not leaders, in the past.

I’ve decided to do a blog series about this exact topic: leadership. I will explore what a leader is – what skills does a leader have? How does a leader enhance their skills? I will look at examples of good and bad leadership. I will compare and contrast the difference between leadership and management.

What has made me want to do this? A couple of things.

1. I want to eventually obtain my MA in Organizational Leadership. I feel as though these fundamentals should be well understood. For me, writing it and having other question me will allow my own leadership skills to grow. It will allow me to question my own thoughts about what exactly leadership is and how important it is.

2. I am not taking any business classes this term (literature and excercise science are the two on the docket). I enjoy studying business and I want to personally enhance my knowledge of the topic.

3. It will be a great way for me to look back down the road and see where I’ve started with the topic. I can also use this in a portfolio and as a writing sample.

I’m still working out the details but I hope to have one post per week regarding the topic. I hope you’ll enjoy reading along. Please post questions and comments in the comments section. I want to be able to obtain feedback, both positive and negative.


This morning I attended the 2011 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Breakfast in Minneapolis.

Everybody can be great.  Because anybody can serve.  You don’t have to have a college degree to serve.  You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve…. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve.  You only need a heart full of grace.  A soul generated by love.  Martin Luther King, Jr.

To say I am inspired is an understatement. To be in a room with such noble and wonderful community and national leaders was an honor. Not only was Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton there, but Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and many others.

The event was wonderful and inspiring. Inspiring is the only word I can think of to describe how I felt after I left. The keynote speaker was Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark, New Jersey. Besides having a big crush on Mr. Booker, I am in awe of him. After hearing him speak, I was almost in tears. He brings a sense of homegrown good-guy to the stage.

Newark, NJ Mayor Cory Booker

Since I have such a fondness for Mr. CB, I decided to introduce myself. I walked right up to the head table and said, “Hi Mayor Booker, my name is Leah Zins and I am a big fan of yours.”  He indicated that he remembers me from Twitter and called me his biggest Twitter fan in the Twin Cities (truth). I then pointed to Jillian and Ella, who were standing a few hundred feet away and said they were my friends and he waved. What we said in the next few minutes will be a blur to me, as I was in awe of his ability to captivate. He has a sense of power that is so… great. I was determined to get a photo with him but didn’t have a camera at that moment. I explained how I’d love a photo with him and he said to find him after the event. Long story short, my ride wanted to leave ASAP to avoid traffic and I missed the photo opp. My friend Jillian tweeted me later to inform me she got his photo and HE ASKED WHERE I WAS. This is a big deal 🙂

Back to the point.

The speakers, the event, the day were all inspiring to me. Mayor Booker emphasized the call to service and how YOU can change the world, just by doing something. But you have to do it! You have to get involved! I completely agree with this.

“In life, it is never the big battle, the big moment, the big speech, the big election. That does not change things. What changes things is every day, getting up and rendering small acts of service and love beyond that what’s expected of you or required of you.” – Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark, NJ

I am so grateful I was able to attend the event representing my employer. I took away so much information and left feeling compelled and inspired to change the world. I’m excited to see where my excitement will bring me.

What inspires you? What motivates you?


Note: If you want to watch the entire program, it is available online here.