Center Spotlight: Damon Edmond
Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida
Major: Athletic Training
Self-discovery and experiences outside the classroom have shaped Damon Edmond as a leader.
Edmond, who hails from Jacksonville, has been developing his leadership skills for several years. He first participated in the weeklong LeaderShape Institute with the Center for Leadership & Social Change in 2015 and returned as a student coordinator in 2016. The program challenges participants to lead with integrity while working toward a vision grounded in their deepest values. Participants explore not only what they want to do, but also who they want to be.
For Edmond, LeaderShape goes beyond helping students discover what is expected of a campus leader. In addition to building leadership skills, he feels the program helps students discover their vision, find self-realization, discover their identity, and look inside themselves to discover their purpose.
"I was drawn towards LeaderShape because it gave me an opportunity to go outside my comfort zone," Edmond said. "Every time I was in the space of LeaderShape, it always challenged me in a healthy way, which is something I didn't have growing up."
Participating in and coordinating LeaderShape also helped Edmond build connections with those involved in LeaderShape as well as his other extracurricular activities. Through his participation in Student Government and athletics, he has been able to organize campus events. Edmond credits LeaderShape for giving him the confidence and the skills to organize these events and network with others.
LeaderShape gave Edmond more than leadership opportunities.
"I gained a family and grew very close with the people I met through LeaderShape," Edmond said. "I definitely can go to them anytime I need them, anytime I feel like I need somebody to talk to, anytime I need somebody to listen, I know I have them."
Besides LeaderShape, Edmond has taken on a high profile role in Student Government. As a senior he will serve for the third time as class president. Edmond got his start as a leader in the SGA through its Freshman Leadership Institute.
Edmond is also an athletic training major. He first became interested in the major on preview day after hearing about how it combined the fields of health care and sports. Since then, he has served as a student athletic trainer for various teams on campus, including soccer, football and tennis. Edmond has also participated in the community as an athletic trainer at Godby High School. This year, he will serve as vice president of the Student Athletic Trainer Association.
LeaderShape and Student Government have helped solidify Edmond's passion for athletic training.
"A lot of people don't see how that connects," he said. "But with athletic training, it’s not a career that you pursue for the money; it’s a career that you pursue because you have a genuine concern for the wellbeing of others, you have a compassion for other people that goes way beyond how you feel about yourself."
Through his involvement with the Center for Leadership & Social Change, Edmond has discovered the scope of his actions.
"There are a lot of times where you do things that you don't realize that your impact is much bigger than yourself," he said. "Your impact goes to people you never thought you would touch, you never thought would meet, and I think that’s what helped me the most."
Edmond confesses that he was initially concerned about the low salary of an academic trainer and how it would impact his ability to have a family, but credits the center with teaching him that a person isn't truly happy unless they strive for their passion and purpose in life.
"Once I embraced that philosophy,” he said, “that’s when I knew where I was supposed to be career-wise."
— Ian Levinson