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International Leadership Association

Posted January 20, 2014 in Leadership, News

By Stephanie Haft ’15

The International Leadership Association (ILA) was founded in 1999 through a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and is considered the global network for all individuals with an interest in leadership and leadership studies. ILA defines their mission as “promoting a deeper understanding of leadership knowledge and practices for the greater good of individuals and communities worldwide.” Each fall, ILA hosts a global conference, which is the premier annual gathering of scholars, educators, practitioners, and students devoted to leadership. The conference is located in North America in even-numbered years and outside North America in odd-numbered years – this year, the conference was in Montreal, Canada.

The Annual ILA Student Case Competition is a perennial favorite of the ILA Global Conference, and is sponsored in part by the Kravis Leadership Institute (KLI), Claremont McKenna College. Undergraduate student teams from around the world compete to further both their leadership development and presentation skills through analyzing a leadership case study. The Kravis Leadership Institute sends a group of 4 to 5 students every year to compete in this competition – this year, the team consisted of Tawney Hughes ’14, Shantanu Garg ’14, Alexandra Ruark ’15, Bryan Turkel ’15, and William Su ’16.

The first round of the case competition involved the students preparing a 2 to 4 page brief on the selected case study. This year’s case, entitled “Tim Hortons in 2013: Can its success in Canada be exported globally?” implored students to ponder how Tim Hortons is phenomenally successful in Canada, but not in the United States. The KLI team decided to mainly analyze the case through the lens of transformational leadership. They also came up with two other theories within transformational leadership: “In The Family” leadership, and “Brick by Brick” leadership. Alexandra Ruark ’15 explained “In The Family” leadership as “when the company and employees, rather than outside companies, control and operate most of the organization’s functions.” The KLI team felt that through vertical integration, Tim Hortons owns its stores, the factories that make the baked goods, the producers of the coffee beans, and more. “Brick by Brick” leadership is when companies have defined goals and processes that they repeat which helps build the company “brick by brick.” Ruark clarified, “Tim Hortons perfected their brand, product, and consumer base by using this approach before they ventured into other markets.”

The second round of the case competition involved the students designing a poster of their analysis on Tim Hortons, which they presented during the Student Poster Showcase for a panel of judges. The KLI team decided to use an iPad in their presentation of their poster. Tawney Hughes ’14 described that “it was thrilling to fuse technology and business into leadership theory – the poster truly represented the months of work that we put in. For two hours, we shared with distinguished leadership scholars and researchers. This was an incredible opportunity.”

Although the KLI Student Team did not advance to the third round, the students expressed that they developed immensely as leaders from the competition experience. Students were able to attend a variety of sessions to learn about leadership in different contexts. William Su ’16, for example, “loved the emphasis on youth leadership at ILA. The workshops and lectures on the generational differences in leadership that millennials face was especially pertinent to the realities we face today.”

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Additionally, two students who were not a part of the ILA Student Case Competition – Karan Saggi ’14 and Claudia Raigoza ’14 – also attended the conference. Karan Saggi ’14 served as the Chair-Elect to the Youth Leadership Member Interest Group (MIG). Through this, he had the opportunity to network with speakers from around the world, the board members of ILA, and many students interested in working with the Youth Leadership MIG. Claudia Raigoza ’14 enjoyed a similar networking experience while presenting a poster with KLI researcher Dr. Sherylle Tan titled: “The Influence of Women’s Life-Stage on Career and Leadership Transitions and Decisions.” Overall, students and faculty alike returned from the 2013 ILA Global Conference with renewed perspectives on leadership practices, an expanded leadership network, and a deeper understanding of leadership knowledge.