‘Empathy, strong work ethic and a sense of community propel people forward.’
This was one of several lessons for over 100 high school juniors and seniors at the 4th Congressional Leadership Summit hosted by Rep. Marsha Blackburn at Austin Peay State University on Monday.
“It is so important for us to open the door of opportunity for children,” Blackburn said. “It gives them a chance to hear from and talk with individuals who have succeeded and come from different walks of life.”
Blackburn was joined by Nashville Predators President Sean Henry, former Tennessee Titan and Heisman Trophy Winner Eddie George and APSU General Counsel Dannelle Whiteside the daylong event.
“There is an opportunity for everyone regardless of what your talent is, what your intelligence is, where you are from,” Henry said. “Hopefully it inspires one of the kids there.”
According to Henry, there is no such thing as a natural born leader.
“Everyone can be a great leader if they have empathy, positive, strong work ethic and a strong sense of community. I think those are the things that propel people forward,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how good or bad I look, it matters how good or bad the person next to me looks.”
Blackburn said one thing guidance counselors wanted apart from academic days was something focused on leadership.
“How could young people understand how to take lead and to give them an opportunity to interface and interact with individuals who are known leaders,” she said.
Students from all 19 counties within District 7 took part in the event.