Leaders from across the state gathered at CCV-Montpelier on Tuesday for the annual Leadership Scholarship Luncheon, held to celebrate CCV students who have made an impact at the College and in their communities. 

The CCV Leadership Scholarship recognizes student leaders in each of CCV’s 12 academic centers and the Center for Online Learning. Students are nominated annually and chosen based on exceptional leadership abilities in their CCV centers, classrooms, and communities. Each scholarship recipient receives $1,000 as a recognition for their outstanding leadership.

Mike Pieciak, Vermont State Treasurer, was the keynote speaker at this year’s luncheon. He shared that his interest in public service stemmed from the example his parents set when he was growing up in southern Vermont. Mike’s parents taught him the importance of creating relationships and giving back to those that support you in both your professional and personal life. “It’s really important early in your career to find ways to network and build relationships across all areas of your life,” he said. “It’s also important that those relationships be authentic so that you are willing to give back to that person as much as they are willing to give to you. It’ll pay off in spades.”

For Mike, an important part of being a leader is also surrounding yourself with people that have a wide range of knowledge, skills, and perspectives. He chose the book Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin to give to all scholarship recipients, which demonstrates how Abraham Lincoln surrounded himself with a diverse administration, exemplifying inclusive leadership. “By surrounding himself with [diverse] people he really was able to get the best out of them and ultimately make the best kind of collaborative decision making.”

2024 Leadership Scholars

Students were asked to share what leadership means to them. The first to share was Amber Moriglioni. “An important part of being a leader is you can’t lead others until you lead yourself. Taking control of your own passions and desires, then you can relate to others and give them the encouragement they need,” she said. At a table with her grandmother, who she thanked for providing an example of leadership, Amber added, “you don’t need to be a leader in a political setting, in a huge community setting, but you can be a leader just in your family.”

Darrell Martin is a scholarship recipient from CCV-Newport. An army veteran who was drafted out of college in 1968, Darrell returned to school in his retirement to finish his education. “One of the things we said in the military was ‘you lead from the front, you lead by example, and don’t be afraid to delegate responsibility’,” he said. He has used this leadership style throughout his career, and even through all of the life experiences. “This is one of the biggest honors I’ve ever gotten in my life. I’ve got a chest-full of military ones and this one means a lot,” he said of receiving the leadership scholarship.

Other students had their own ideas of what leadership meant, while all having a common trend of supporting and helping others. “This award is really inspiring and empowering. When I think about myself as a leader I think that empathy is the word that comes to mind,” said Sohayla Mahmoud. For Kirstin Richardson, “one of the things I think about being a leader is that you have to listen and you have to actively listen [to] find the nuggets of information you can use to help people.” Macie Whalen added, “being a leader is having a voice to speak up for the people who can’t speak up for themselves yet, and to inspire everyone to work together towards a common goal.”

Student remarks had another theme in common: appreciation for CCV. “I feel that being a leader is about being influential, especially having a positive influence, and that varies from the smallest acts of kindness, to large scale providing opportunities, to listening to someone and being supportive,” said Nicolette Brown. “CCV has had such a great influence on my ability to become a better version of myself and I look forward to what the future holds.”

View photos from the Leadership Scholarship Luncheon here:

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