William & Mary

#NoTitleNeeded to be a leader at William & Mary

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Leadership opportunities abound at William & Mary, but this November, the Office of Student Leadership Development hopes to promote awareness of what might be the most important leadership role on campus: one without a title.

The #NoTitleNeeded campaign, which runs throughout the month, will consist of events across both campus and the Internet designed to highlight the importance of leadership among students who selflessly contribute to their organizations and the William & Mary community to create positive change, even though they lack a formal title or position name.

The campaign’s goal is to recognize that everyone has the capacity to practice leadership and that leadership is not something available only to those with titles, position or authority. 

“The practice of leadership should be open to everyone,” said Anne Arseneau, director of the Office of Student Leadership Development. “Every day, we each have the opportunity to learn more about ourselves, others, and what it means to engaged in our respective communities. Practicing leadership means identifying what you care about and working with others to create positive change. We don’t have to wait to have a position or title to do that.”

As part of the campaign, Student Leadership Development is spearheading a social media campaign that asks students to use the hashtag “#NoTitleNeeded” to discuss different aspects of non-positional leadership. Some students will post photos under the hashtag in which they hold a whiteboard filling in the blank in “No Title Needed to____________.”

In addition, Student Leadership Development has created a video recognizing that everyone, not just those in leadership positions, can practice leadership and effect positive change. Complementing the social media effort and video will be a series of blog posts in which writers from Student Leadership Development address the necessity and implications of non-positional leadership.

The campaign will also include a number of on-campus events for students. Kelly Crace, associate vice president for health and wellness, will lead a session in which he explores the difference between what he terms “fear-based excellence” and “authentic excellence,” detailing how these concepts relate to resilience, fulfillment and productivity. Further, the Office of Community Engagement will sponsor the annual Social Entrepreneurship Conference Nov. 14, during which there will be a session exploring non-positional leadership.

Student leaders across the campus are encouraged to take an active role in recognizing the non-positional leaders both in their organizations and around campus. To this end, Student Leadership Development is changing the Recognizing Achievement in Leadership (RAIL) Award to the No Title Needed Award, providing a tangible recognition to those unsung leaders around campus.

“We hope students will pause to think about the concept,” Arseneau said. “Sometimes we are too dependent on hierarchy and position. No one has to wait to be tapped to care. We’d invite everyone to dialogue with us about this – especially @WMLeads (on Twitter and Instagram) – and answer the question, ‘Where do you see leadership in action with no title needed?’”