Students Participate in Governor’s Leadership Forum

Joining with college students from across Missouri, two William Woods University juniors took a few days last month to grow in leadership and faith in the Missouri state capital.

Selected by the Governor’s office upon the recommendation of their school, Tarra White and Rebecca Oliver, both of Mexico, Mo., attended the Governor’s Leadership Forum: Faith and Values in Leadership at the Capital Plaza Hotel in Jefferson City for three days in January. This was the third year that William Woods students were selected to attend.

Inviting the students into his office for a question and answer session, Governor Bob Holden addressed the state budget and other issues. White had dinner with her group in Duane Benton’s Supreme Court chambers.

The students also heard speeches by such people as Speaker of the House Katherine Hanaway; Former U.S. Senator Jean Carnahan; Missouri Supreme Court Judges Stephen N. Linbaugh Jr. and Michael A. Wolff; U.S. Air Force Captain Dave Thompson; Attorney Jerry Hunter, and Rick Horton, a broadcaster and former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher.

They also toured the Correctional Center, which White described as “really interesting.” In addition, they had a chance to hone their team-building skills and enjoy dessert at the Governor’s mansion.

The students agreed that it was more than just a leadership conference.

“It was the best experience I could have had,” White said. “It was not like any other leadership forum. Basically we looked into the future and learned how to help ourselves and others achieve.”

Oliver added, “I was given the opportunity to look into the lives of the extraordinary speakers and learn how their faith and values have had a lasting effect on all aspects of their lives. From this experience I have learned that you can’t be taught great leadership skills, but you obtain them though your lifelong experiences.”