The United States Marine Corps hosted a Marine Corps Leadership Seminar at Howard University on April 21, 2023. Students from Howard University and George Washington University were invited to attend the seminar which included guest speakers and exercises focused on making leadership decisions, team building and problem solving, and a discussion on ethical leadership case studies.
The guest speaker for the event was Lt. Col. Courtney J. Boston, executive officer, Officer Candidates School on Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, who shared his experiences in the Marine Corps and insights on leadership, drawing on his extensive knowledge. Boston, a Trinity, Texas,-native, deployed in support of both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom and has held many leadership positions throughout his career, including, but not limited to, platoon commander, operations officer, and commanding officer at the battery- and company-level.
“Are you rising, or are you lifting?” Boston asked the midshipmen and cadets who attended. “To be a good leader, you must always focus on lifting others, not rising.”
“The point of today is to educate the future generations that will take over our leadership positions,” Capt. Evan Habib, Operations Officer for the Opportunity, Diversity Equity, and Inclusion Branch, Manpower and Reserve Affairs
Participants -- cadets in the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at Howard University and midshipmen in the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps at George Washington University -- had the chance to learn from Boston and other experienced leaders currently serving across Marine Corps and engage in discussions and activities designed to enhance their leadership skills. One of the activities was a panel discussion that allowed attendees to ask the Marines for their insight into effective leadership and share their experiences. The discussion covered decision-making, communication, teamwork and ethics.
“The point of today is to educate the future generations that will take over our leadership positions,” said Capt. Evan Habib, operations officer for the Opportunity, Diversity Equity, and Inclusion Branch, Manpower and Reserve Affairs. “We want to teach them the foundation of how they need to be thinking and how they need to be communicating in order to lead effectively.”
One of the day’s events was leadership reaction evaluations. The midshipmen and cadets split into four groups. They conducted different activities where one person took charge of their group to try and complete the challenge, such as navigating a simulated minefield or getting ammo cans over a simulated river.
Marine Corps Leadership Seminar
Photo by Cpl. Levi Voss
U.S. Marine Corps officers deliver instruction and answer questions during the panel portion of a Marine Corps Leadership Seminar workshop at Howard University in Washington D.C., April 21, 2023. MCLS develops greater connectedness between the Marine Corps and local university community to attract top talent for Marine Corps officer (and enlisted) programs.
“One of the things I learned from the LRE was to ask for help,” said Jacob Aggeres, a midshipman from GWU. “I also learned that I need to start taking in the information I have and to express intent clearly before I start tasking people.”
Many of those who attended expressed gratitude for the opportunity to learn from experienced leaders and to be able to have questions answered as well as have conversations which helped them find new ways to lead and develop new leadership skills to help build a successful career in the Marine Corps or any other field.
“Coming here today, I expected to learn about leadership and how those aspects are used in our daily lives, and what I got the most out of today was learning about ethics and how to apply them to certain aspects of leadership,” said Lulu Mohamed, a cadet in Howard University’s Air Force ROTC program.