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Student Leadership 101 cohort meets with local business leaders, learns the importance of versatility and collaboration (4/18/2017)

Fort Bend ISD (April 18, 2017) – Students in the FBISD Board Student Leadership program enjoyed their last day of meetings with community influences by meeting with several business leaders. Before making stops at several locations in Fort Bend County, the students were able to hear from FBISD Board Vice President Jason Burdine.

Mr. Burdine shared his story with the students, notably his passion for volunteering and his work as a leader in the District. He encouraged the students to think of themselves as leaders in their daily lives and to go beyond what is asked of them. He also encouraged the students to think of how their leadership and knowledge can be put to work for a larger goal.

“Having the perspective in the community, having the knowledge, is so important,” said Burdine. “But a leader doesn’t do it all on their own.”

The students began their visits first at the Imperial Sugar Refinery Project, meeting with Jerry Ulke. Mr. Ulke shared how the project was working to repurpose the Imperial Sugar Factory and revitalize the area further. He showed the students maps of future development and construction, including plans for residential and commercial properties, and shared his journey to his current position. He began his career as a civil engineer, and though he is now a development manager, he is able to use his skills in engineering to have insight into the work that needs to be accomplished.

Next, the students met with Adrienne Barker, Director of the Houston Museum of Natural Science at Sugar Land. Ms. Barker spoke to the students about the behind-the-scenes work that goes on at non-profits, specifically museums. She, along with Kavita Self, the museum’s program manager, shared how they became a part of the industry. They also spoke of how the work of their more than 100 volunteers keeps the museum operating.

“Our obligation as a museum is to give our members and those who come visit us a fabulous experience at the museum,” said Barker. “Life is dynamic in a non-profit, especially in a museum”

The last stop of the day was to the Smart Financial Centre, one of the area’s newest community venues. The students met with Andrew Huang, Marketing Director, who spoke to them about the steady growth of the Sugar Land area. He also shared how the Smart Financial Centre has positively influenced the area’s tourism industry just in the past few months. The students then toured the facility, visiting the various back-of-house staging areas, a suite and the venue’s stage.

The students wrapped up their day by reviewing one of the District’s core competencies – collaboration. Dexter McCoy, the new Student Leadership Specialist, led the session. Notably, Mr. McCoy, a 2010 Travis graduate, is a member of the first Student Leadership cohort, from 2008-2009, and the first student to return to the program as an adult leader.