Senior Associate Athletic Director and Young Women’s General Board member Liz Darger spoke at the Women’s Services and Resources Leadership Lecture series about the importance of expanding what it means to be a leader.
Darger said there are many people who think that leaders have these certain male-dominated qualities, but Darger sees leadership as the ability to inspire others.
Darger offered the example of BYU alumna Brenna Porter as someone who shows the expanded qualities of a leader.
At the NCAA track and field west regional qualifying meet in 2017, Porter was running the race which would qualify her for nationals. Porter hit a hurdle during this race. Although this would result in a season-ending injury, she kept running to finish the race.
Porter was interviewed in the weeks following the incident and what she said stood out to Darger as an example of the qualities of a leader.
“You have to be willing to put yourself on the line and attack it. You can’t be scared because if you’re scared, that will cause you to hit the hurdle more often than not, and you won’t be able to be successful,” Darger recalled Porter saying.
Porter had told Darger that she was trained to get up and keep running after hitting a hurdle in practice, so when it came time in competition, it was muscle memory.
Faith over fear is an overlying theme Darger continued to mention and relate to Porter’s journey.
BYU student Clarissa Peterson had heard about the lecture from a poster in the Wilkinson Student Center. Peterson was interested in attending because she knows Darger personally and thought the lecture would be valuable.
Peterson said the part that stood out the most to her was when Darger spoke about Porter and her ability to finish the race.
“We are all called to be leaders, and it is our job to help each other find and fulfill these opportunities,” Peterson said. “Leadership is not measured by the amount of people we influence, but rather by the quality of our one-on-one interactions with each other.”