Amid low temperatures and an impending snow storm, approximately 65 Yale students and affiliates attended a leadership seminar this weekend hosted by Careers, Life and Yale and Students and Alumni of Yale, both subsidiaries of the Yale Alumni Association (YAA).

For the past six years, the YAA has hosted 11-hour, two-day leadership workshops designed to give participants the opportunity to take a deep dive into what it means to be a leader. At the workshops, participants can receive candid advice from alumni, network with a broad swath of University students and graduates and listen to experts’ opinions on specific leadership challenges.

This year’s iteration of the workshops featured talks from four Yalies — Andrew Klaber ‘04, Secretary and Vice President of Student Life Kimberly Goff-Crews ‘83 LAW ‘86, Caroline Tanbee Smith ‘14 and Lovely Dhillon LAW ‘90. The YAA is compiling a list of leadership challenges and solutions that they plan to share with the Yale community. Organizers have collected 1,500 leadership challenges so far.

“[We will discuss] leadership —  are you born with it, can it be taught, how does it go off the rails, is it definable or is it a function of circumstance or personality?” said Steve Blum ‘74, director of strategic initiatives at the YAA at the beginning of the workshop Friday night. “[When you] think about those questions and relate it to your story or the story of alums, you start to get meaning out of it.”

According to Blum, workshops have touched upon leadership-related issues such as leading as an introvert, re-inspiring a burnt-out team and navigating friendships between leaders and their subordinates.

Blum said that the annual leadership workshop features four distinct events. On Friday night, attendees mingled with each other over drinks and dinner. Blum then led them through a workshop to discuss personal and organizational challenges facing leaders. On Saturday morning, attendees discussed about twenty light readings about leadership and listened to the alumni speakers.

Attendees interviewed by the news said that they came to the event to mingle with alumni and seek professional advice.

“I want to make the most out of my Yale experience because it’s a limited time,” said Nick Moore ‘22. “Meeting people here who have gone through it may help me make better use of the time.”

Many attendees also sought to cultivate their leadership and pre-professional skills. Blum said that over two-thirds of attendees are alumni and graduate and professional school students.

Greg Green SPH ’19, who led groups professionally before attending Yale, said that he hoped to “expand [his] leadership knowledge” during the two-day workshop.

In his efforts to promote the event, Blum called it a “win-win-win: for our students, for our alums, and for Yale.”

The YAA was established in 1972.

Skakel McCooey |  

Samuel Turner |