“If you have a strong moral conviction and the innovative ideas to progressively strive towards what you believe to be the right thing, there is no stopping you from becoming a great leader and helping those around you realize their potential as well.” -Brandon Carter
Every month, Global Peace Youth-USA features outstanding leaders like Mia Paola Marquez and Brandon Carter, Georgia State University students and GSU Global Peace Youth co-presidents. Mia, an Economics major, assists GSU’s Economics Research development lab. Brandon studies Computer Science while interning at a local IT firm. Despite what others would call a ‘full plate’, these GPY superstars still find time to use their passion for moral and innovative leadership on campus and in their community.
GSU GPY has contributed to several local initiatives for Atlanta’s homeless population, including food and clothing drives and campus awareness projects. But leaders like Brandon and Mia know that taking up initiative to serve a greater good does not happen easily or quickly, but instead through genuine care for the people around you. “I believe the most crucial evidence of a great leader is how many people have become leaders because of their action and engagement in their lives,” Brandon commented, “Genuineness is a trait that most people can see and when they see that you genuinely want to help them or improve their lives they tend to reciprocate that genuineness. Before you can change the world you have to be willing to change yourself, and once you do it will be that much easier to help others become great leaders and work together to achieve something truly special.”
Mia acknowledged the many challenges facing her community, “They often go unnoticed or are simply pushed aside. My goal is to bring these issues, like homelessness, to the table, and begin to speak about them; to stop accepting these things as a reality, and to encourage others to believe that together we can change our current reality. Most of all I always ask myself, even when I feel inadequate, ‘If not me, who? If not now, when?’ It’s not who I say I am that makes me a leader, it is the choices I make everyday to make a difference.”
Our GSU GPY presidents sat down with GPY-USA to talk about why they know the traits of morality and innovative thinking is essential to a new generation of leaders:
“To know what is right and wrong is something that isn’t necessarily binary, mainly because there is always another side to the story, another perspective on any given situation,” says Brandon, “A good leader possesses the ability to view these perspectives collectively and make a decision that can be for the betterment of everyone. In this sense they must have a strong moral conviction. Such qualities as integrity, honesty, generosity, and courage are all key when faced with complex issues and the multiple opinions of others. To successfully take into account the sentiments of others along with what will work sensibly is a delicate balance that the leaders of today, and of the past, have worked to achieve. It is important to learn from those in the past because we can’t move forward without knowing where we came from.”
“Leadership means opposition at times; it means to do what is often hardest, to stand up when everyone remains silent, to speak out for those that can’t speak. It means being bold.” -Mia Paola Marquez
Along with strong morals, a good leader must also be an innovative thinker. Innovation is what keeps the world moving forward: whether it’s innovative technology or innovative models for ways of thinking and solving the world’s problems. Most of the issues in the world today are so prevalent because for so long people were doing the same thing and expecting different results, to solve a dilemma one must think outside of the box, they must ‘go where no man has gone before’. If you have a strong moral conviction and the innovative ideas to progressively strive towards what you believe to be the right thing, there is no stopping you from becoming a great leader and helping those around you realize their potential as well.”
Mia left us with her words of encouragement for all aspiring young leaders:
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