Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Towson University recently celebrated its 10 Year Anniversary partnering with LeaderShape to offer the Institute program at their institution. We are excited to highlight some history and personal experiences from administrators, participants, and facilitators in this blog series.

This post is from 2008 Institute graduate Chris "CP" Patterson. CP graduated from Towson University with a bachelor's degree in Sports Management and a minor in Business. He lives in Maryland with his wife Jenna and dog Raegan. He works full-time both as a Startup co-founder for PLayerLeak and as an IT Project Management consultant for the State Department. In his free time, CP can be found weight training, reading a good book, listening to music, watching a good movie, hanging out with friends, traveling, or building up his crazy sneaker collection. CP's current goal is to help build the world's largest sports network.

How did you get involved with LeaderShape?
My supervisor nominated me for LeaderShape’s Institute program during my sophomore year of college. At the time I was a student employee in the admissions office call center, assisting prospective students and their parents with checking on the status of their applications to attend Towson University. Up to that point, I had been a good student and enjoyed the typical college experience, but had mostly just been “going through the motions”. My supervisor thought it would be a great jump-start for me to participate in the Institute. So, I agreed to do it. I’ll always appreciate the fact that she considered me for the program.

What from your experience at the Institute do you still carry with you?
So much. I still carry with me the awesome memories with my family cluster, the fun activities we participated in together, the workshops, and being around other visionaries and motivated students. There were late night card games, board games, and snowball fights during the day; it was a lot of fun. The camaraderie was awesome. I would say you really find out a lot about yourself and, in the process, share that with others, which brings you closer. I formed great bonds with a few of my suite mates with whom I still try and keep in touch. I remember how when we got back to campus from our session, the majority of our family cluster would still get together to just hang out. We were all so used to being together during that week and we had all gotten so close that it was hard NOT to be together at first. So we would pick someone’s place and all meet up to just hang out, watch a movie or just talk about the highlights of the week. It was pretty cool.

It was great to see that a number of the students who attended my session would go on to become more involved and assume leadership positions in and around the University. There would be students who would go on to join SGA, lead Greek organizations, run campus shops or centers, mentor other students, create their own sports clubs, become a key player on their varsity sports team, and build organizations of their own, among other things. You really saw students put into action their plans to reach the goals they set for themselves and  step up to lead and help in shaping the future of TU’s student body. It was an honor to be a part of that.

Tell us about PlayerLeak
PlayerLeak is a player development network that helps athletes get to the next level. The platform allows a player to create a digital profile to help build their sports network, promote themselves, and collaborate with other people in the community to progress.

PlayerLeak has a unique feature called a Sports Map, our collaborative goal setting tool. This is where the player can list out goals they would like to achieve and their coaches, teammates, fans and other connections can offer advice and support to help them along. It’s a great way for athletes to help each other get to the next level, and stay motivated and encouraged in their pursuit of achieving their goals.
We believe that by building a dedicated sport networking community, with a focus on collaboration and goal achievement, that we will help participants increase their opportunities and enjoy an overall enhanced sports experience.

What from your Institute experience has influenced or helped you with this project?
One of the most helpful things from my Institute experience that has helped me with this project, and in life in general, is practicing goal setting. At the Institute, we had binders that we carried with us throughout the week, which we used during our group activities to document and complete exercises. By the time we left the institute, we all listed goals in our binder we would like to achieve as we returned to campus. I was fortunate to have achieved at least two of the major goals I set for myself (starting a club basketball team and joining a fraternity). This simple practice of listing goals and going for them is something I have practiced since my institute experience, and I strongly believe that it has helped me to stay focused and excel in the things that I want to do. From starting this project, to the day to day operations of overseeing the project, to goals for our team to reach together, to where we are now, goal setting has helped increase our chances of succeeding in whatever it is we have set out to accomplish

We believe in goal setting so much that it has become a central theme of PlayerLeak, and the inspiration behind our Sports Map feature. This feature is a collaborative goal-setting tool that allows users to list a sports goal and three steps to achieve this goal (or you can list 3 individual goals). You are able to receive comments, positive encouragement, or advice on your Sports Map and the goals you have set, from your connections.  It also shows you your connections with Sports Map so that you can return the favor and share support or advice. It’s an easy way to get your in-season/off-season goals down and stay motivated toward achieving them, as well as receiving help if needed.

What hopes and goals do you have for PlayerLeak?
The goal for our team is to bring the sports community together in one place to advance the athlete, encourage player development, and increase the chances of opportunity for everyone involved in sports.
  • We also hope to use the platform we have to make a meaningful impact and be involved in giving back to our sports communities in need.
  • We hope to build an environment of collaboration, encouragement, and progress, for players, teams, and coaches worldwide.
  • We hope that someday PlayerLeak will have played a role in an athlete or a team reaching their desired level of success.
  • We hope that our Sports Map feature becomes a helpful goal setting tool for players, teams, and coaches, and will help motivate those who are a part of the community to reach their goals in sports.
  • We also hope that PlayerLeak will become a great outlet for those in sports who have become successful or professionals, to reach back to the community and help guide the next generation toward achieving their goals – by offering feedback to users who have Sports Maps in their area of expertise.
  • We envision positively changing the standard of interaction and communication, and providing, for following generations, access to the world’s largest sports networking platform, to pursue their goals and experience greater enjoyment.
  • We hope that one day, when others begin to think about what they want to achieve or experience in sports, that their next thought is to sign up for PlayerLeak, build their profile, add goals to their Sports Map, and start to build their network to help them on their way. That would be a dream come true for us.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Full Circle

Towson University recently celebrated its 10 Year Anniversary partnering with LeaderShape to offer the Institute at their institution. We are excited to highlight some history and personal experiences from administrators, participants, and facilitators in this blog series.

This post is from Darcy Accardi, the Assistant Director of the Baltimore Collegetown Network, a consortium of 14 colleges and universities in the Baltimore region. She is a graduate of Towson University, where she participated in LeaderShape as a student, and the University of Maryland. Her favorite LeaderShape saying: “Have a healthy disregard for the impossible!”

10 years. It has been a little over 10 years since I went through the Institute program as a junior at Towson University (I’ll date myself!). I had no idea the impact that week would have on me as a person and also in my life’s journey- which continues to be a work in progress!

I was a graduate of the first campus-based LeaderShape Institute at Towson. On campuses where LeaderShape has been around for several years, students are clamoring to be accepted into the program. I didn’t have the experience of previous graduates telling me that the Institute would be a “life-changing experience” or “I can’t explain it, you just have to do it” as so many students hear about the program at Towson today. (This year TU hosted 2 Institutes because the demand is so high!) While I was interested in attending back in 2005, I really was not prepared for the amazing growing, learning, and bonding experience that is the Institute. For me the Institute week planted a seed that would continue to grow over the next several years.

After graduation I worked at Towson University for five years, developing a new Civic Engagement department. During that time I was a LeaderShape cluster facilitator for the Towson campus session and also for the first Baltimore Collegetown LeaderShape Institute. While I worked at Towson in Civic Engagement, I helped draft the proposal for the Baltimore Collegetown LeaderShape program, so it was an honor to be a Cluster Facilitator for the first Collegetown session of the Institute. (Towson University is a member of the 14-campus Baltimore Collegetown network.)

Being a Cluster Facilitator was a powerful experience for me. Helping students identify their passions and visions for a better world is nothing less than inspiring. And it helped me update and refine my own vision, which as of today reads:

“Leadership roles in business, government, and nonprofits throughout the world are evenly split between women and men.”

I currently try to work towards my vision by presenting at leadership conferences for college women and working with students through LeaderShape's Institute program. My plan is to continue to advance my vision in whatever capacity I can through my professional career as well as volunteering. It has become a central part of who I am and how I view my personal mission.

I currently serve as the Assistant Director of the Baltimore Collegetown Network. In this role I have been able to expand my involvement with LeaderShape and became a Co-Lead Facilitator in 2013. This summer I will co-lead my third Baltimore Collegetown LeaderShape Institute - and you know I’m excited about that! My current work with LeaderShape allows me to keep at the front of my mind the values of integrity, humanity, compassion, and hope for the future. I know that for at least six days a year (sometimes 12!) I get to live in possibility, encourage students to find their voice and pursue their passions, and engage in an inclusive community where people can be vulnerable, dream big, and dare to be their best selves.

At every Institute I have been a part of I am blown away by the visions of our students and leave feeling such hope for our communities and the world. I find comfort in knowing there is a large network of people, spread throughout the world, who have shared this experience and know what it means to “have a healthy disregard for the impossible.” From my experience as a participant (oh yes, and on-site coordinator), cluster facilitator and today being able to co-lead, in particular for the institute I played a part in launching, I have taken many gifts and blessings from the Institute experience. I only hope I can adequately pay it forward, although I think the sky is the limit in terms of opportunities to make a difference and give back. The way I see it I have the rest of my life, a big vision, and a whole world out there- at least I won’t get bored!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

"New World": A Song Reflecting on College

Towson University recently celebrated its 10 Year Anniversary partnering with LeaderShape to offer the Institute at their institution. We are excited to highlight some history and personal experiences from administrators, participants, and facilitators in this blog series. 

This post is from Elliot Glotfelty, a native of Garrett County, Maryland, currently residing in Baltimore working as a laboratory technician in a government neuroscience lab. Over the past several years Elliot has been a vocal advocate for vulnerable populations in Honduras and South East Asia while volunteering with organizations that promote increased educational infrastructure, anti-human trafficking policy, and access to social services. Elliot will be returning to Thailand in Fall of 2015 through June of 2016 to continue working with various non-profit groups, teach yoga, and perform music professionally. Upon return to the States, Elliot will continue working in neuroscience with plans to pursue a PhD in the field.   Follow his travels and other experiences at

This past fall I was asked to write a song reflecting on my 2009 LeaderShape Institute experience, and at first, I had no clue where to start.  From meeting some of my best friends to encouraging me to change my undergraduate trajectory, LeaderShape has indeed played a role in the path I’ve followed over the past few years.  The balance and confusion of figuring out my “career calling” and following a path that would not disappoint my personal and family’s perceived potential of me, drove my decisions early in undergrad. Before I attended LeaderShape my sophomore year of college, I planned on leaving Towson University after three years, move on to pharmacy school, and start a career. The path was set, and I wasn’t deviating. It wasn’t until this transformative weeklong experience gave me space to reflect on life more deeply and surrounded me with so many unique perspectives that I knew there was way more to get out of college than a degree. I got involved—SGA, service trips abroad to Honduras, residence life--- so many opportunities to learn from and connect with people. This is what college is about.

Two years following my LeaderShape 2009 experience, I earned degrees in Chemistry and Biology, and the path ever since has been an adventure to say the least. I worked for about two years working in various government medical labs and then made the move to Thailand for eight months to volunteer with the non-profit Urban Light, an organization whose mission is to end the exploitation of boys and young men in Chiang Mai and throughout the country.

I always dreamed about traveling the world and having a big adventure and the dream came true. My twin brother (also a LeaderShape graduate) and I had never experienced extended separation prior to me moving to Thailand and he to Tanzania with the Peace Corps. Twenty- four years and we would be on our own. Leaving our family was tough for us both and I know even tougher for them. My Uncle Scott served in the Peace Corps in Togo during the late eighties and died after suffering thousands of bee stings while on a hike with friends. The drums, tapestries, and carvings from his stay, though reminders of his tragic death, were adorned throughout mine and family members’ homes as symbols of the importance of service and the possibility to engage the world. I never met my Uncle Scott, but his love for life, the world, and his family is engrained into my cousins and me through all of the stories told by our parents and family friends. This incredible man left the world so early, and he continues to impact my family and my life. LeaderShape was the bellow to the embers of this idealism that yes, I could make a tangible impact on the world.

“New World” reflects my journey through college up until this past year. In times of insecurity during self-discovery, keeping an open mind and connecting with a diverse group of people led me to where I am today. I am currently continuing as research technician at a government neuroscience lab and teach yoga at Sid Yoga Center in Towson, MD, in my free time. This fall I will be returning to Thailand to play music, teach yoga, and continue working with Urban Light and other non-profits in Chiang Mai.  Travel and living in a new country has opened up my perspectives so much and I look forward to what another nine months in South East Asia will do for my future outlook.

I cannot thank my parents and siblings enough for all of their love and support over the past couple of years as I’ve navigated my place in the world. My mother and father always inspired in me the importance of service to the local community and world and cultivated in me a deep curiosity for that world. Whether through my music, scientific aspirations, or travels, my family has always been by my side, and for that I am forever grateful.  

Everyday on my Facebook newsfeed I see so many LeaderShape graduates doing amazing things all over the world---- from Peace Corps to leading non-profits in Guatemala and Honduras to organizing and advocating for communities in Baltimore following the unrest in the city surrounding police brutality. People are standing up for what they believe and leading the way for a better local, national, and world community. The world needs these leaders, and from what I can see, I know it’s in good hands.

“New World”

I’ve always known love and so have you
Feeling’s hard to hide got a front row view
Let your heart shine, let your love flow free
To yourself, to your fellow man, to society

I traded the mountains for the concrete
New beginnings living life full of expectations of me
Life informed through way too many “shoulds”
But what should be never is never will you may never know you could

You never know what you’re looking for
Until it’s standing right in front of you like an open door
And you walk right in make yourself at home
What you find is the knowing you’re not alone

Twenty years old I thought life was on track
But the meaning wasn’t there until I took a step back
Travel the world, take it all in
Let more to see, let more to do, be my only sin

Pennies and dimes may be all that fill your pockets
But the change you carry will take you further than you ever thought it
The ideas you hold can change the world
Could you ever dream of more?

Welcome to your new world
Held on to old ways for too long
Welcome to your new world
Age of fire in your heart
Welcome to your new world
Cherish all that you’ve got
Welcome to your new world

Twenty five now look how far we’ve all come
Passion inside burns for more, keeps me on the run
Maps the only place borders are drawn
The world is yours, your home let’s treat it that way before its beauty’s all gone