Mount students’ talk helps young leaders grow
September 21, 2016
NEWBURGH, N.Y. -
Daria Sullivan of Sparta, N.J., Mount Saint Mary College
psychology student, discussed “The Psychology of a Vulnerable
Leader” on September 20 at the college.
According to Mount Saint Mary College psychology majors
Elizabeth Lavin of Hicksville, N.Y. and Daria Sullivan of Sparta,
N.J., a little vulnerability can be a big help to the evolution of
a young leader.
In their talk “The Psychology of a Vulnerable Leader,” presented
to a packed audience of Mount students and staff members on
September 20, Lavin and Sullivan acknowledged that few people like
to be vulnerable and open themselves up to the possibility of
failure or rejection. However, much of one’s development as a
leader occurs in these moments, they explained.
For example, feeling vulnerable is often a byproduct of taking
risks, and sometimes, a good leader must do just that.
However, there is a difference between taking a risk and doing
something unwise. Lavin and Sullivan define risk as “taking a
chance on the unknown,” and note that risk is based on wisdom:
“uncertainty plus wisdom equals risk,” Sullivan said.
Noting a feeling of vulnerability and determining if the
situation at hand is a risk or simply an unwise move is one way to
become a stronger leader, they explained.
Lavin and Sullivan’s talk had its roots in the college’s
Beginnings in Psychological Science (BIPS) program, in which Mount
students teach elementary school children the basics of
psychological science. The program, spearheaded by Yasmine
Kalkstein, assistant psychology professor at the Mount, aims to
inspire young students with concrete experiences; educate parents
and teachers about psychology; and create a medium for psychology
students at the Mount to share their knowledge of the field. Both
Lavin and Sullivan have contributed to BIPS since its inception in
The talk was part of the college’s Leadstrong Event Series,
which strengthens the leadership qualities in the Mount’s
pre-professionals. It was overseen by Brianne Thompson, leadership