ILead:Grad: Empowering individuals, cultivating a positive environment, making an impact


Top to bottom: Eric Jin & Zachary Kroeze (2014-2015 ILead:Grad Co-chairs); Aric Pahnke & Nazanin Orang (2015-2016 ILead:Grad Co-chairs)

As a branch of the Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering (ILead), ILead:Grad is a cross-department, student-run organization focused on skill and social development. The group has three fundamental pillars: empowering Individuals, cultivating a positive environment, and making an impact.

ILead:Grad organizes a variety of events and workshops to provide graduate students with leadership development opportunities outside of their research work. Below are the events they hosted from the past year and how they fit into each of the three fundamental pillars.

Empowering Individuals

  • Leadership Styles – For the members to learn more about their individual leadership style, and how to use it effectively
  • Conflict Resolution – How to use your leadership style to properly confront conflict in a positive way
  • Stuck in the Middle – Helping leaders learn how to balance the challenges of different aspects of their lives
  • Stress Management – Teaching leaders how to embrace stress, and control it to their advantage
  • Academia to Industry – Helping leaders transition from academic life to industry

Cultivating a Positive Environment

  • Wine & Cheese Networking – To develop networking skills, as well as for ILead:Grad to recruit members at the beginning of the year
  • Tim Cork – A seminar style event about motivating others

Making an Impact

  • Winter Social – Board game night to celebrate the leadership events, and promote a leadership community
  • Rock Climbing – Winter social event in which we thank our members, and continue to foster a leadership community

Here are what the past and current Co-Chairs of ILead:Grad have to say about the work they do:

“Learning leadership skill is a life-long process. I will keep training myself, and meanwhile use those skills to contribute to the community I am in.” –Eric Jin (2014-2015 Co-chair)

“Leadership doesn’t have one style. Our vision allows everyone to develop their leadership style in order to achieve their greatest effectiveness.” –Zachary Kroeze (2014-2015 Co-chair)

“ILead:Grad’s goal is to empower all engineering students to achieve greatness in their lives. We provide access to mentors and workshops that build competency resulting in confidence and growth. We touch on necessary skills for any future academic or industrial jobs. Essentially, we want students who interact with our group to become better leaders in every aspect of their lives.” –Aric Pahnke (2015-2016 Co-chair)

“ILead:Grad is a unique opportunity for graduate students to first think about their leadership skills and develop their sense of self-awareness, and then to gain and practice this skill for their future career.” –Nazanin Orang (2015-2016 Co-chair)

For more information on ILead:Grad, visit their website at, or email them at

-Odo Wang

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