You Can Be a Leader — Courtney Woronka (’21)
You Can Be a Leader — Courtney Woronka (’21, Major in Management with Concentration in Entrepreneurship)
For people like Courtney Woronka, twenty-four hours in the day just doesn’t seem to be enough. A senior now, Courtney is as busy as she has ever been — in addition to the rigor of pursuing a degree in management, she has taken on numerous leadership roles and is a four-year varsity athlete, on top of much more. It goes without saying that her senior year, amid the pandemic, is off to an unprecedented start and much of it has been navigating in uncharted waters, but her adaptability and leadership has been unfettered throughout.
As a freshman, Courtney “wished [she] could have been more independent” and joined more organizations, as she was only part of the softball team at the time. It wasn’t until after her first year that her involvement on campus spiked. After realizing all that the campus had to offer, she says “the more I put myself out there, the more I wanted to be involved in different things on campus — and now I can’t stop.” Once she was settled in at Bentley and joined various organizations, she quickly rose through the ranks and found herself in several leadership roles.
“Sell yourself everywhere you go and put your best foot forward, because what’s for you will come to you in some way, shape, or form.”
Most notably, Courtney is the Student Government Association’s Senior Class Cabinet President. In years prior, the job of the President was to fulfill an enumerated list of events and traditions endemic to the graduating classes at Bentley — all but guaranteeing a rather copacetic year. Needless to say, the pandemic has turned this upside down and her job looks different than in years past. Courtney says she had to “start over” when it came to planning her class’s senior year — most events that were normally held in person will have to be restructured to adhere to health and safety guidelines.
Courtney is also on the executive board of the Student Alumni Leadership Council (SLAC), which promotes connections between Bentley Students and Alumni to create a culture of philanthropy. As a member of the executive board, Courtney is in a unique position to engage with the vast network of Bentley alumni to raise money and help make Bentley better each day. Within SLAC, she is also on the Senior Class Gift Committee to ensure she can help give back to Bentley before she graduates.
Courtney’s leadership hasn’t all solely taken place on the Bentley campus, but within the surrounding community as well. She joined the Service-Learning program as a sophomore, which “promotes academic learning through community service programs.” Now, as a senior, Courtney is a lead project manager with the program. Her most recent involvement was with a program called Two Plus Two Equals Five in which she helps to promote teamwork and collaboration among elementary school students. As a project manager, Courtney is in charge of other project managers, as well as planning and organizing the myriad programs within Service Learning.
The time and effort that Courtney has dedicated to better the Bentley campus as well as the surrounding community certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed. Last semester, she was inducted into the prestigious Falcon Society, which recognizes and honors students who have excelled in their academic studies and have made significant contributions to the Bentley campus. Despite having earned this distinguished accolade, one would be hard-pressed to learn about this from Courtney herself. It is clear that Courtney does not do what she does for recognition, but rather to ensure a better day for those around her. She especially exemplifies this through being an RA, saying “being an RA took the focus away from how I can have fun and not just be about myself but instead made me more inclined to help people.”
Although this is her last year at Bentley, it is clear her leadership will not end at commencement. The leadership roles she has fulfilled thus far have influenced her to change her major from, finance — which a significant portion of Bentley students major in — to management, which she believes will help her integrate her leadership skills into a professional setting. And with a concentration in entrepreneurship, she plans to start her own business in the future.
“Be independent, be open, and be honest with yourself, people are going to like you for who you are.”
Leadership does not always equal success, but Courtney knows how to succeed. There are countless lessons learned and values gained from her wide-ranging experience, but the ones she focuses on most are empathy and independence. Being a leader also means being a part of a team. Courtney cites empathy as being the most critical component of success — especially for a team. Empathy allows for deeper connections with those she is in charge of as well as it allows for more team cohesion. Independence was something she struggled with her first year, but once she started becoming more involved, her newly gained independence propelled her into several important roles. Courtney says “I knew I could be leader but didn’t know how” — but cites independence as vital to success in her roles. Throughout her career at Bentley she has met challenges, helped countless members of the Bentley community, and has been unwavering in her drive for success.