#033: The Three Essentials of Officer Training

A couple weeks ago I unexpectantly ran into an old friend that I first met back at a student org officer retreat when I was in high school. Our student org would get together with seven neighboring chapters and hold a summer retreat designed to get us ready for the upcoming school year.

After that encounter, I started thinking back to the officer retreats I attended, the ones I work with now, and how they play a part in the overall officer training plan.

I am amazed that the vast majority of student organization’s officer training is… nothing. They don’t do anything to train their officers. They just expect that they either have the skills or figure them out. This is absurd to me but I’ll hold back my rant on this topic for another day.


The next most common component of an officer training is a summer retreat. This is great. I loved those summer officer retreats when I was a student org officer and even now they are my favorite programs to work with. I would take a retreat over a keynote every day of the week.

However, these summer retreats aren’t always effective. They can be major information overload sessions and if all you do is a summer retreat will likely forget much of the information when they actually need it several months down the road.

This podcast episode will help you get the most out of your officer training.


To help design a better officer training I believe there are three main components; Motivation, Team Dynamics, and Processes. Each play a different role and each play an integral part to a high performing officer team.

#032: Three Essential Events to a Promotional Week

February is right around the corner and it is crazy busy month, especially for student orgs. Many student organizations have award applications, scholarships, officer applications, speaking contests, and for organizations like FFA, FCCLA, BPA, or FBLA-PBL their “National Week” falls in this month.

These Weeks are a very important part of the student organization’s calendar. It’s a chance for them to focus a concentrated effort on promoting their organization.

If your student org doesn’t have a designated Week it may be time to start one to help give you a focused effort on recruiting and promoting.

thw week.001


Because by focusing their energy into a specific week like this, these student organizations are able to create a sort of buss about their org and get attention that they otherwise would not be able to even if they did the exact same activities spread out throughout the year.

These Weeks can be made up of a variety of activities or events but there are three that are essential components for to make the biggest impact. I walk you through these on this week’s podcast episode.


Here are the three types of events:

Snap Connections – Using Snapchat to Connect with Members

Working on developing your Facebook and Twitter strategy for reaching your students?


Ok, Facebook and Twitter have their place, but if you really want to connect with students you need to take a look at Snapchat.

What is it?

The fastest way to describe it is a platform to quickly share pictures and short videos with people that disappear within 10 seconds.


Why do you want to use it?

For starters, it’s a fast growing platform for 13–20 year olds. Another reason, it’s delivered right to their phones and is almost guaranteed to be opened by them.

But the real reason is the connection it creates. Snapchat was built for connecting with friends through silly selfies, a way to spread laughs and smiles. With a little imagination you can create that same friendship relationship with your members.

Your main purpose for all social media SHOULD BE to add value.”

#029: How You Can Use Gratitude to Lead

I have never met anyone who wasn’t on a search to live a happy life. It seems we all want to be happy. But research has shown that as human beings we are more naturally inclined to look for negatives. A quick mental check of the people you know and the thoughts you routinely have likely has you nodding along in agreement. So how do we fix that?

Do you wish you spent more time finding the positive? Developing the Gratitude Habit can not only help you find more enjoyment in life but it will help you handle the challenges that come along more easily and even make you a better leader. Here’s why…

Brings you happiness – Developing a habit of being grateful will actually make you happier. You will recognize what you have to be thankful for, it will see the reasons for you to be happy. It will soon have you looking for reasons to be happy or ways to can create something to be grateful for each day.

Attracts others – We are naturally attracted to people who are grateful. They are generally more fun to be around. They are happier. They affirm us and let us know when they are grateful for us. What’s not to love about that??

Puts you into a positive mindset – By routinely seeking out things to be grateful for you start to naturally look for ways to be grateful. But it’s more than that… when you face challenges or obstacles your mind will look for ways to solve them. You will become more solution oriented. Handling problems will be easier!

#027: The Habits of an Effective Student Leader with Paul Moya

Being a student leader is not easy. You are constantly expected to juggle multiple responsibilities in your organization (for some multiple organizations), in school, with family, with friends, in sports, in work, on and on. It can feel like you are being pulled in one hundred different directions. How do you manage it all?


This week’s podcast episode is an interview with successful entrepreneur, speaker, and Gen Y expert Paul Moya. In addition, he served as the President of both the National FFA Organization and the Student Government of Harvard. He shares his insight on how student leaders can manage all their responsibilities and continue to improve in their leadership abilities.

#022: How to Show up and Shine with Kent Julian [Podcast]

Are you letting life beat you up? Does it seem like you can’t win or just when you thought your life was going good you get derailed…every…single….time?!

student leadership speaker

The Ninja Leaders Podcast is back!! Season Two kicks off with a great interview with Kent Julian. Kent travels the country speaking to student organizations a message that inspires students to show up and shine in every area of their lives.


In the interview he shares a simple formula that holds the secret to controlling the outcomes you experience in life. Grab a pen and paper. You will want to remember this.

#021: The Essentials of Change Making [Podcast]

Are you a supercharged, energizing leader with big dreams, and ready to put your skills to work? Do you want to help shape the hearts and minds of those you lead? Are you a Catalyst leader? Most of us want to be that type of leader, but we aren’t sure how develop those elements that make an impact.


In this episode of the Ninja Leaders Podcast, I interview Brad Lomenick on how to be a change maker. Brad works for a leadership development company in Atlanta, and has the privilege of directing a movement of young leaders called Catalyst.


Here are a few essential points we cover:

  • Hungry. Helpful. Hustle
  • What young leaders need to do when they feel called but not equipped

How to get the most out of a conference

State conventions, conferences, and seminars are great place to meet new people and make improvements in your life. But are you making the most of those powerful few days?

College Leadership Speaker - Nick Palkowski


This week’s Ninja Leaders Podcast will walk you through the key elements of before, during, and the often forgotten, after conference experience to make sure you maximize the impact.



– Set objectives
– Know how you want to connect
– Organize meet-ups
– Get envelopes and note cards
– Bring a pen and notebook
– Bring jacket and sweater
– Breatherizers
– Snacks
– Wear comfortable shos

#019: How are you making a difference? [Podcast]

What does leadership really mean? How are you making a difference in the world? Can leadership be taught? These are just a few of the important questions that a student leader needs to think about.


In this episode of the Ninja Leaders Podcast I interview leadership trainer Drew Dudley. Drew has spent his life in student leadership. He is one of Canada’s most sought after leadership speakers. In this interview he challenges students to re-define their values and their purpose.


Here are a few essential points we cover:

  • How to elevate, not escalate
  • Leading beyond the double sided sheet of paper
  • Can leadership be taught?
  • The importance of planning to matter
  • You are the landlord of your head
  • The five steps we all face
    • The First Step
    • The Next Step
    • The Wrong Step
    • The Step Back
    • The Forward Step
  • How to identify and define your values
  • #018: How to Make Connections and an Impact [Podcast]

    Surrounding yourself with great people is essential. As a student leader the quality of the network you create these next few years will help determine the doors that open for you in the future. But often people struggle with how to approach networking effectively.


    In this episode, I talk with Dave Delaney about how student leaders can best approach networking. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that networking isn’t for you. It is happen whether you realize it or not, so why not make it an intentional process.