Keynote: Christine Simmons on Community

How paying it forward with community involvement pays off.

Ambassador Leaders Christine Simmons

At the 2018 UCLA Leadership in Action Summit, Ambassador Leaders had the opportunity to hear from President and COO of the Los Angeles Sparks Christine Simmons on topics related to leadership. Prior to her talk, she sat down with our team to share her insights.

The student leaders who attend Ambassador Leadership Summits are almost all involved in wide-ranging extracurricular activities like athletics, student government, community service or performing arts. Students often join these activities out of personal passion, but, as Christine points out below, the associated teams or groups offer leadership roles in which students can learn lifelong skills. Listen to Christine as she talks about how she still applies the lessons from her student leadership experiences to her professional life.

Developing leadership skills isn’t the only reason for students to serve their communities or hold extracurricular leadership roles. Christine notes that, “as leaders…as part of this big, global human family, it’s our responsibility to give back”. What’s more, research suggests that human brains are hardwired for altruism, or the act of selflessly giving. It makes us feel happy, especially when the service is linked to something we’re passionate about, or when we’re able to use our skills to serve others. It turns out, the spirit of giving feeds our spirits too. As Christine says, “when we serve our community,” we get back “ten-fold” what we put in.

We agree, which is why during the Summit our students participate in hands-on community service projects in partnership with United Way and produce community action plans addressing the needs of their communities. Through these efforts, students develop critical leadership skills such as project management, teamwork, and inspiring others to act. We are proud when our students use their newfound skills to create the “beautiful ripple effect” Christine describes and make a real difference in their communities. Read more on how our alumni lead through service.

In the summer of 2019 our students will have a rare opportunity to see Christine Simmons’ leadership in action when we meet her team and get a behind-the-scenes look at what makes an effective team. Check out more of her interview on leadership and what students can do today to prepare for their roles in leadership.


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By Corie Bales

Corie is the Academic Affairs Manager of Ambassador Leaders. As a lifelong educator and avid traveler, she believes in empowering students and teachers to learn and lead through experiential education.