On Topic: Leadership lessons

Five women who served as president of Cornell College’s Student Senate share a leadership lesson they learned.

Mj Huebner ’88, Kalamazoo College vice president for admission and financial aid

Mj Huebner '88

“Cultivate relationships with all of your constituencies because every voice matters. A deeper understanding of those voices allows you to make better decisions as a leader.”


Elizabeth Ditlevson Garman ’05, mother of three and owner of a nonprofit consulting firm

Elizabeth Ditlevson Garman 05“One of the important leadership lessons that I began to learn as student body president was how to handle criticism nonreactively. I learned how to drown out noise, focus on the facts as I understood them, and when to, and when not to, respond.” 

Kalissa Holdcraft ’13, attorney at Stinson LLP, Omaha office

Kalissa Holdcraft '13“You must be passionate about your work because leadership is simultaneously exhausting and exhilarating. The countless hours spent identifying problems, brokering agreements, and planning solutions are largely thankless, but as long as you believe in your mission and purpose, it’s absolutely worth it.” 

Leslie Tweeton Behaunek ’09, mother of two and partner and litigator at Nyemaster Goode PC in Des Moines, Iowa

Leslie Tweeton Behaunek '09“Leadership includes knowing when and how best to rely on your team members. It is also incredibly important for leaders to listen—to constituents, to leadership team members, and to outside experts—before making decisions.”

Maddix Stovie ’21, Cornell Student Senate president

Maddix Stovie '21“Leading is a very difficult, yet rewarding thing. I have learned that it takes having a hard head and a soft heart to be able to work with people from every aspect of life.”


Learn about Cornell’s first female student body president, Mary Bowman Seidler ’61.