Zack Vanhoesen

Zachary VanHoesen, Alpha Zeta Chapter (Oregon State)

Why were you interested in attending LeaderShape?
I was interested in attending LeaderShape for many reasons. I wanted an experience outside my comfort zone, I wanted the means to positively influence those around me, and I wanted to get a different perspective on leadership. I anticipated a bunch of intellectual conversations with complete strangers from all across America, all with common interests.

What are three things you learned as result of attending LeaderShape?
Hard to choose from the many things I learned from this trip. The first to finds its way into my head is the idea of integrity, and more specific, leading with integrity. I learned the importance of staying true to your moral compass, even when you’re under the radar, even when you’re under heavy scrutiny. Beyond the aspect of leadership, I learned what amazing experiences may be in store for you, if you just say hello to someone. What a concept! Most importantly, I learned many things about myself. At the risk of sounding too dramatic, I found many pieces of myself while at LeaderShape, and learned much about myself in the process.

How did attending LeaderShape impact you as a fraternity man?
In two ways: One, it impacted the way I perceive people, and how I treat them according to that perception. I feel as fraternity men, and even as people of society, we are quick to judge people who are unlike us. I learned there could be beautiful words of wisdom within a tattered and dusty book, or even a book you would never see yourself reading.

The other: The importance of influencing others. This can go beyond the aspect of fraternity, but I feel it’s easily applicable. Einstein said, “Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others, it is the only means.”

As leaders in our school and communities, we must be cognizant of our ability to impact anyone, and everyone we come in contact with. Make it a positive one.

How are you planning to apply what you learned during LeaderShape to your chapter and campus community?
In every way possible. Influencing others through the examples I put forward. By challenging people to become better, in a constructive manner. The sky is the limit with this topic, and I hope to continue my means of improvement in my chapter, community, and even in the health care field.

What did you learn about leadership during this experience that you want to pass along to other Pi Kappa Phi brothers?
Leaders aren’t born, they are made. Leadership, to me, encompasses everything that is moral and strong. It’s the daily ability, not only to lead people towards a common goal, but to always beat the negative thoughts in your head, and always do so with your morals intact. It’s the ability to realize, when you think something might be wrong, it’s because it is. It’s a daily commitment striving to be the best person you can be, while making the people around you better in the process, that’s important. Leadership is powerful in service, don’t underestimate that. Serve the people around you, and I promise you, you will be a stronger leader for that.

Why would you encourage other bothers to attend LeaderShape in the future?
My question to my brothers would be, why not you? What have you got to lose, a week out of your summer? It’s quite simple really. Being in the presence of so many people who are on the same journey as you, a journey of education and improvement, is nothing short of inspiring. If you’re up for potentially meeting your best friend, meeting your significant other, learning some life changing concept, or even seeing a different part of the world, please take a journey to LeaderShape.