LEAD-ing the Charge: The LEAD Facilitator Experience

By Amy Pho, Class of 2020

Now that the LEAD curriculum has officially wrapped up, it’s time for first year Booth students to consider applying to become a LEAD Facilitator (LEAD Facil, for short) in 2019.  For many LEAD Facils, the experience is an impactful way to give back to incoming first year students. Take it from current Harper and Gargoyles Facil Clare Quinlan (FT MBA c/o 2019), who loved her experience as a first year student in LEAD but realized she wanted to make it even better for the next year. “I thought there could be diversity in the LEAD class in more ways than one and wanted to see more people like myself reflected in the Facil class,” going on to state that she also wanted to engage more personally with individual squads and continue building relationships even after the last LEAD module.  Davis and Stuart LEAD Facil Kevin Emesiani (FT MBA c/o 2019), had similar goals entering the program, stating that becoming a LEAD Facil was his personal way of “paying it forward” to incoming first year students.

While the Leadership Development Office sets the overall topic of each week’s module, LEAD Facils determine the agenda and content of the curriculum as a team.  Preparation for each module translates into practical and professional skillsets. “As a Facil you manage your squads, moderate discussions, and deal with the social dynamics of small groups,” Quinlan said.  “Plus, there’s so much public speaking as part of the program, and I figured it would help me with confidence and feeling comfortable in front of a group.“ Emesiani agrees, stating that now that the program has officially concluded, he “guides discussions more efficiently,” and has gained a network of individuals who value leadership development. “I hope to take improved communication skills to my role after business school,” he said.

What qualities make up an ideal LEAD Facil?  According to Quinlan, “there are lots of different kinds of LEAD Facils,” but in general one should be able to “share opinions and well-reasoned arguments, and understand where other people are coming from.”  In addition, she believes coachability is an essential ingredient. “If you’re open to feedback and advice, it can be a really fantastic opportunity. It’s very rare that you would get this much one-on-one coaching, especially in a business school setting.”  Indeed, every Facil is assigned a professional leadership coach who works with each individual to achieve personal and professional development goals throughout the program. Emesiani adds that students should apply if they “genuinely enjoy leadership development and are truly comfortable with the time commitment.”

Speaking of time commitment, LEAD Facils are required to take a full class in the Spring quarter which meets for six hours each Friday.  During this time, the Leadership Development Office provides guidance on how to teach the curriculum and direct discussion within the cohort.  At the end of the spring, Facils synthesize their learnings and teach a “mini” LEAD course for UChicago undergraduate students in the Trott Business Program before breaking for the summer.  In preparation for the full LEAD program, LEAD Facils then meet back on-campus a week before the next crop of first-year students arrive. Overall, one can expect a 30-40 hour per week time commitment during Orientation+, and a 10-hour per week time commitment into the fall quarter through mid-October.  

Sound up your alley?  Info sessions will take place on October 30 and November 1, and will be led by the Leadership Development Office.  The session will feature a panel of current LEAD Facils who will share their experiences and answer questions.

Applications open October 30, 2018 and the deadline is November 9, 2018.  Prospective applicants may reach out to Leadership.Development@chicagobooth.edu with any further questions.