By: Caitlin Powers
Rep. Bill Flores kicked off the semester for the Dr. Joe Townsend ’67 Leadership Fellows program Friday, Jan. 25, by sharing his leadership experience and knowledge
The Fellows program enhances selected students leadership knowledge and skills by providing opportunities for them to visit with successful leaders weekly. The theme for the program this year is ‘Becoming a game-changer.’ Flores shared with fellows the importance of strategy in leadership and what it takes to be a game-changer.
“Almost all good leaders are game-changers,” Flores said.
Flores told students what traits and characteristics a game-changer should possess: willing to be a good follower, being a team player, taking initiative, wisdom, perseverance, decision making skills, and trustworthiness.
“You must also know how to determine the good [ideas], and the chaff,” Flores said.
Flores shared with the Fellows the importance of making a plan, even though they might not wind up taking those paths.
“When you make the plan, think about it as a plan that gives you the most future forks in the road,” Flores said.
Bobbi Frieda, sophomore agriculture leadership and development major and current fellow, connected directly with Flores’ insight on making a plan.
“When I was a freshman, my thought process to become an agriculture leadership major lined up directly with Congressman Flores’ advice.”
A proud member of the class of 1976, Flores experienced leadership as an Aggie and shared the value he gained from his experiences as a student at Texas A&M.
“We develop good leaders here a Texas A&M,” Flores said.
Flores passed around a photograph of a group of cadets that he identified as a judicial council for the Corps of Cadets. He explained at the time the picture was taken the cadets pictured never would of thought they would have gone on to do the things they have. Among the cadets photographed is a U.S. Air Force Lt. General, a U.S. District Attorney, a public oil and gas business owner, and two U.S. Congressman, including Flores, who serves as U.S. Representative for Congressional District 17.
Bryce Wilde, a senior agriculture systems major and current fellow, made a comparison between the current Fellows class and the cadets in the picture.
“It is neat to think that in years to come, we are going to be those people in that picture,” Wilde said, “we are going to be able to get together and see what one another have accomplished.”
The students selected for the Fellows program are leaders in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Many of the students are on executive staff for organizations and student groups on campus, and some are even head of their own non-profits. In a room filled with leaders, Flores heeded warning to not become consumed with pride.
“Watch out for pride, and don’t let it go to your head,” Flores said, “it leads to arrogance, and arrogance leads to narcissism.”
“It was a unique opportunity to hear Congressman Flores speak and see what he had to say about leadership,” Frieda said, “and then compare my thoughts to his to enhance my leadership abilities.”
Joe Townsend, Ph.D., the namesake of the organization, was an influential leader in the Agriculture Leadership, Education, and Communications department, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Texas A&M University. Townsend served as Associate Professor in the ALEC department, Associate Dean for Student Development for the college, and Associate Vice president for Student Development at Texas A&M during his career.
The Fellows program began in the Spring of 2009, when undergraduate students proposed the creation of the program to expand their application and knowledge of leadership and theory. Their proposal was furthered by Townsend’s wife, former ALEC Department Head Christine Townsend, Ph.D. who wanted to establish an endowed program to carry on Dr. Joe’s legacy.
For more information about the Dr. Joe Townsend ‘67 Leadership Fellows, click here.