Authentic Role Models for Emerging Leaders in Social Justice

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

student with professor at CSMG

Trinity student Laura Clavijo and Dr. Lynda Jackson

As a business professor at Trinity Washington University, my research and studies focus on the best ways to mentor students and guide them toward developing success factors that will enhance their careers and in turn their lives. Specifically, I like to stress the significance of becoming involved in purposeful networking, actively seeking caring mentors, and consistently identifying suitable role models.

Being involved in the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering (CSMG) offered an environment that provided our students with direct access to all three–networks, mentors, and role models.

When we learned of the opportunity to attend the CSMG 2015 conference in Washington D.C., it appeared to be the perfect setting for our students to network with likeminded individuals, seek encouraging and caring mentors, and interact with role models who were making significant contributions toward social justice in their communities and our society as a whole.

Once our plans were set to attend, we read the brochures and watched the informative videos, and our excitement grew. But, no one could have told us how stimulating it would be to actually attend and be a part of the CSMG 2015!

My students were amazed–as this was their first opportunity to attend a conference. At first, they were a little apprehensive, but then, every group they joined warmly welcomed them and involved them in the topics of discussion. The students were given several business cards for future contact and mentoring opportunities.

The plenary sessions were “awesome” (their words) and increased the students’ excitement about the “possibilities” of one person making a major difference in the lives of many through advocacy. Students especially appreciated the rare experience to hear first-hand accounts of the works of tremendous role models such as Martina Liebsch, Director of Policy and Advocacy for Caritas Internationalis, and Sylvester Brown, Jr., Executive Director of The Sweet Potato Project.

Another advantage was the chance for the students to network with other students from all over our nation who are interested in being involved in human rights advocacy projects and social justice awareness activities. Additionally, they took advantage of the opportunity to speak and network with the friendly and informative representatives from a variety of Catholic and advocacy programs located in the Exhibit Hall. They enjoyed chatting and learning about each of the organizations and were encouraged by the representatives’ eagerness to engage them in conversations about their own future career plans.

By the end of the conference, the students were elated about the possibilities of bringing community service ideas and insights back to Trinity where we too focus on human rights and social justice. They also looked forward to sharing what they learned with their home parishes. Without a doubt, the CSMG experience exceeded the students’ greatest expectations!

At Trinity, we certainly look forward to future opportunities for our students to participate in the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering.

Trinity student with Catholic Social Ministry Gathering registration materials

Trinity student Bruna Distincto Algaran at CSMG

All students, nationwide, are bound to be excited about the tremendous opportunity to be involved in CSMG and to gain exposure to this valuable network while interacting with excellent and committed role models and mentors. As a professor, I highly recommend this opportunity to all students and can assure them a valuable, rewarding, and priceless experience!

As Benjamin Franklin indicated, involvement is where true learning occurs!

Dr. Lynda C. Jackson is Assistant Professor of Business at Trinity Washington University


Join us at Catholic Social Ministry Gathering on January 23-26, 2016! The Catholic Social Ministry Gathering strives to recognize, encourage, and prepare young and diverse leaders of our Church’s advocacy and social ministries. We invite college and universities to participate in the Gathering through the Young Leaders Initiative. 

Special early bird registration rate ends November 13th.

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