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How My Leadership Experience Gave Me Lifelong Skills

Leandro Ortiz


Getting into Purdue isn’t an easy thing to achieve. Succeeding here can be even harder. I always knew that I wanted to get a Purdue diploma, whether it was from IUPUI or Purdue University’s business school. After doing more research, it was a very easy decision for me to come here.

I'm helping out some of my students during a teambuilding activity.

I chose to study marketing because I knew what my own personal strengths and interests were coming into college. I knew there would be a lot of opportunities in getting a marketing degree and I thought that it would provide me with better guidance and structure around my own personal well-being.

The Doster Leadership Conference (DLC) is run by business students. It connects students with representatives from corporate offices and gives us a chance to meet new people. We participate in team-building activities, leadership exercises, a career fair, and more. After meeting with an older student involved in DLC, I went to it as a general attendee during my freshman year. Because of COVID-19 protocols, the conference was held virtually. I still gained knowledge and exposure regardless. During my second year, I was able to apply for a Team Leader position since I had already gotten some leadership experience at Purdue by that time.

The second time around, the conference was held in person, and it blew me away. I met some amazing students and professionals and ultimately, I think the team that I was working with was a leading factor in me wanting to continue participating in DLC. I loved working with the team. Through my experience being a team leader the previous year, I knew how to create a good team dynamic earlier on. This led me to connect the students on my team sooner and to create a supportive environment. Each of them had talents in a different area so it was nice to provide my personal take on how they could go about their remaining three years at the business school and how they could have a bigger impact.

DLC has allowed me to help others find their paths in college and in the marketing field, but it also has had an impact on me. It helped me become a more personable person. As a leader, I want to be more approachable and less uptight. I want to be personable enough to the point where my students not only see me as their leader, but as a person, as someone who they can approach to fill in their gaps and get more support. I think this is what ultimately distinguishes a good leader from a bad leader.

Dean David Hummels presents at DLC as students listen.

I was able to build relationships with professionals and alumni from different companies who were at the conference. DLC gave me exposure to being more comfortable with the way I speak and present myself. I learned so much about how to craft myself to be a better professional and a better communicator. I ultimately realized that just being happy with myself and the things I do is one of my goals in life. It falls back on the idea of work-life harmony. You don’t want to have a work-life balance, but a work-life harmony. I want to eventually have a career and personal life where I’m harmonized with my work and my life outside of work. These are just a few of the things that I learned from my experiences with DLC.

For the underclassmen who are thinking of participating in this, I would advise them to be like a sponge and soak up everything during your first few years. For upperclassmen, I would recommend that they be aware of the impact that they can have on other students and take greater effort in mentoring peers to help them leave their mark at Purdue.

Headshot of Leandro Ortiz

Leandro Ortiz, from Elkhart, Indiana, is a junior majoring in marketing with a concentration in innovation management. He is currently the vice president of the Purdue Marketing Association and an active member of the Latinx Student Union, the Association for Latino Professionals for America, and the Old Masters Program. Leandro has held three internship positions during his college career. He was a marketing strategy intern at Martin Vintage, a marketing intern at Keystone RV Company, and an account management intern at Energy BBDO.

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