Leadership U: two years of advancing student-athlete leadership

Monday, November 11, 2019 - 1:00pm

Gopher Athletics Leadership U: 2019 Summer Retreat

Established in 2018 with the opening of the Land O’Lakes Center for Excellence, Leadership U has created a community of leaders that extends beyond the playing field.

A program for Gopher athletes, coaches, and staff, Leadership U helps student-athletes cultivate relationships, connect with available resources, build alliances, share personal experiences, and access leadership opportunities. In this post, we share some highlights from the past two years of Leadership U programming.

Leadership U Retreat: In July 2019, a group of student-athletes representing 11 programs—from basketball and soccer, to swimming and golf—headed to Chicago for a weekend of fun, sun, meetings, and programmed events that included:

  • A visit to the Big Ten Conference office where student-athletes and development staff had a Q&A session with outgoing league commissioner Jim Delany
  • A workshop at Chicago Improv, centered on improving communication skills
  • An M Club Legacy Dinner with Gopher alumni who spoke to current students about next steps and life after college

The Leadership U Speakers Series, is a series of talks given by prominent U of M alumni and business professionals in the Twin Cities area. These talks are designed to help both student-athletes and athletic department staff in their personal leadership development. Past speakers include:

  • Beth Ford, CEO of Land O’Lakes
  • Pete Janzen, former CEO of Land O’Lakes and chairman of the Leadership U Advisory Group
  • Shari Ballard, former president of U.S. retail for Best Buy
  • Kevin Warren, former COO of the Minnesota Vikings and current Big Ten commissioner
  • Bill McGuire, owner of Minnesota United FC
  • Maureen Wieser, COO of MidCountry Bank
  • Scott Wine, CEO and chairman of Polaris, Inc.
  • Penny Wheeler, president and CEO of Allina Health
  • Joan Gabel, president of the University of Minnesota

Upcoming speakers include Margaret Chutich, associate justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, on November 18. 

Thank you, Land O’Lakes, for supporting the leaders of tomorrow!