Frances Hesselbein has spent a lifetime inspiring young girls as the former CEO of the Girl Scouts of USA and current President and CEO of the Peter Drucker Foundation. This summer when I attended the Hesselbein Global Academy for Student Leadership and Civic Engagement, Hesselbein inspired me to continue serving my community.
The goal of the academy is to, “create experienced, ethical leaders equipped to address critical issues throughout the world.” I arrived at the University of Pittsburgh not totally sure what this would entail. The following days brought intense leadership training sessions with fifty of the brightest student leaders from the United States and around the world. I met students working to inspire youth in India and others who are developing innovative policies to encourage progress in math and science. Each person I spoke with was inspiring in their own way.
Students were divided into groups based on their interests. Each group of five students at the Academy had a distinguished professional mentor that would provide support and encouragement. Mentors ranged in professional roles, some had been leaders in the military, or CEOs of various different businesses. Our group was lucky enough to have Brigadier General Rick Gibbs as our mentor. Brigadier General Gibbs has served in the army for 20 years with extensive experience in Europe and the Middle East. He told us stories of setting up hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan. I was mesmerized by the way he articulated the work he has done. I could tell he felt great pride in his service.
I was part of a group of students interested in improving the healthcare system. We bonded many ways: through our common interest, group activities throughout the summit, and finally with our civic engagement project.  A highlight of my time at the Hesselbein Global Academy was the civic engagement project. When I initially reviewed the schedule, I assumed that the civic engagement portion would involve us assisting a community organization in a small project, like sorting supplies. The actual project was much more rewarding than I could have anticipated. Our group was tasked with assisting the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Ladies Hospital Aid Society in re-framing their mission, their vision, and proposing new ways to fundraise. Our group was not scared of this challenge. We came together to execute the task effectively and presented our results to the executive director of the organization in only a matter of hours. The entire experience has shown me the power of student innovation and leadership.
I left Pittsburgh with a family of diverse professionals who I know will be there for me throughout my career. While we ranged in specialty and were a diverse group, we all had one common interest – to make the world a better place. Together, I know we have the passion and skill to succeed.
My goal is to improve the healthcare system and provide better care for everyone. What would you change to make the world a better place?

Sarah was a SWSG mentor and Chapter Director from 2008-2010 at Simmons College. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public policy, working full time at a Boston hospital and loves to do ballet and read in her free time.