Rep. Will Weatherford, yesterday’s keynote speaker at Pasco-Hernando Community College’s Student Leadership Retreat, encouraged the group of 150 students to set ambitious goals and work toward them with confidence.
“Strong leadership requires self-examination, integrity and fortitude to accomplish objectives,” Weatherford relayed. “It is important to be passionate about causes,” he said, “But understand why those causes are important to you.”
The former Jacksonville University student government president peppered his talk with personal anecdotes, including the experience of running for office and the challenges he faces as an elected official. He stressed the importance of listening and learning to follow as well as lead. He told the students that working hard on developing skills, overcoming the fear of failure and finding a mentor who can provide guidance and support are key ingredients to successful leadership.
Weatherford also stressed the need for strong leaders in the private sector, schools and in virtually every organization. He relayed some of his own accomplishments from the last legislative session, including industry certifications and creation of the online university.
The Speaker urged the students to complete their college degrees. Despite double-digit unemployment recorded during the last recession, he stated, unemployment rose only one percent for individuals holding a bachelor’s degree statewide and nationally.
Hosted by PHCC’s Student Activities office, the retreat connects students with campus and community leaders and engages students in team activities and workshops. Held this year at Saddlebrook Resort in Wesley Chapel, the event also provided information about leadership opportunities in more than 50 PHCC clubs and organizations.