A native of Brazil, where the official language is Portuguese, MTSU freshman transfer Barbara Popwell speaks English fluently.
MTSU alumna and guest speaker Paula Mansfield truly was speaking Popwell’s “language” when it comes to women in the business world April 10 during the Omicron Delta Kappa True Blue Leadership Day in the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building.
The ODK True Blue Leadership Day highlights the core values of the “True Blue Pledge” by educating participants about multiple aspects of leadership.
The University Honors College invites noted representatives from a variety of professions to share their leadership experiences with more than 100 MTSU students.
In addition to Mansfield, other speakers included Keith M. Huber, MTSU’s new senior adviser for Veterans and Leadership Initiatives; Tara S. Singer, executive director of the Lexington, Virginia-based Omicron Delta Kappa Society Inc.; John H. Henderson, an attorney with the firm Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC in Evansville, Indiana; and Metrick M. Houser, supply chain manager for International Paper.
“I have a passion about women speaking,” Popwell, 22, told Mansfield, a Murfreesboro resident and senior vice president in community banking with First Tennessee Bank.
Mansfield had just shared successful strategies for women in the workforce and was about to return to her job when she passed by Popwell in a hallway.
“She talked about career goal-setting,” added Popwell, a management major in the Jones College of Business. “It was very inspirational. Women want to get things done, and the number of things she’s involved in on campus is really amazing. That makes me want to help others.”
Mansfield, the 2014-15 MTSU National Alumni Association president, also advised her audience to develop a network and understand their strengths.
Lihe Jiang, a visiting scholar from China in the MTSU Department of Biology and one of only a handful of men taking in Mansfield’s talk, said he found it “very interesting, instructive and beneficial for my career.”
Hoping to embark on her own military career, Tiffany Graziano, 26, an MTSU graduate student in management from Nashville, totally was taken in during the “Leadership from a Military Foxhole” talk by Huber, a retired U.S. Army three-star general who spent 38 years in service to his country.
“It was very moving and inspirational,” Graziano said. “It inspired me to realize communication is the key and to come at people at the human-interpersonal level, rather than a computer or text message.”
Graziano hopes to become an Army dietician.
A food science major that plans to study pre-med, Nausheen Qureshi, 19, of Murfreesboro, said Huber “gave a very unique perspective of how the military changed his life, both as a civilian and being in the military. Leadership is part of your daily activity.”
“What touched me is that in being a leader, everything comes down to face-to-face human contact,” Qureshi added.
Using movie clips and costumes, Singer provided a special perspective for leadership with “Starships, Ball Gowns and Hangovers: Leadership Lessons from Movies.” She incorporated famous lines from “Star Trek,” “Apollo 13,” “Gone With the Wind,” “Flight” and “The Hangover” into her presentation.
Henderson discussed “Using Passion and Civility to Make a Difference in Your Community.” Houser, a member of the Honors College Board of Visitors, closed the event, discussing “Building True Blue Leadership — A Reflection on Opportunities.”
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)