Center Spotlight: Jack Grenuk
Great leaders have to do more than give orders. Jack Grenuk demonstrates this by striving to understand others and adapt to new environments.
During his sophomore year, Grenuk joined the then-new fraternity Phi Gamma Delta. He served as president of the fraternity and wanted to learn more about leadership, which led him to participate in the Undergraduate Certificate in Leadership Studies, a joint program of the College of Education and the Center for Leadership & Social Change.
“As president I started to understand leadership, I knew the right thing to do but still needed to fine tune my skills,” said Grenuk. “You can do that through experience, but the center was also helpful with that. I like to seek advice and that was a situation where I needed to because I wanted to be the best kind of leader that I could.”
Grenuk was already interested in the Leadership Certificate because he knew it would prepare him for the various challenges leaders face. He received further encouragement to participate in the program after meeting Dr. Laura Osteen, the director of the center.
“I met her and that first interaction made me realize that if she was the director then she must be pushing a lot of good information and educating a lot of people. When you have such a strong leader it makes it so much easier to want to get involved.”
In addition to the Leadership Certificate, Grenuk also participated in LeaderShape. Through LeaderShape, Grenuk was able to meet and learn from a diverse group of students.
“I had already been in a position of leadership, and when I went on LeaderShape I wanted to go into it with an open mind,” he said. “I knew it would be another catalyst to learn. I wanted to meet new people, hear about their struggles and successes, and be around a group of people doing the same kind of thing as me.”
Besides meeting new people, the Leadership Certificate and Leadershape helped Grenuk become more open-minded.
“Through both programs, one of the main things I learned is to put yourself in other people’s shoes,” he said. “That’s something that can be hard to do: I feel like a lot of people believe they are the center of the universe.
Grenuk also understands that great leaders must look beyond their own self interest.
While leaders have to look out for themselves, they also have to be able to go in and make change. They have to be able to observe things that are going on and there are only certain people that can do this. I wanted to be one of the people that help push things forward even if they didn’t directly relate to me.
The Leadership Certificate and LeaderShape also helped Grenuk become more aware of himself and the challenges others face. He doesn’t believe in judging others for being different from himself.
“I’m a white, straight male, so I don’t face the same issues that other people may face on a day-to-day basis just because of their skin color or personality traits,” he said, noting the unfairness of judgment based on such differences. “I’m not one to judge people for being themselves ... I like to help people become motivated and be more empowered.”
While Grenuk is currently a marketing major, he has an internship in healthcare and hopes to continue with the medical field. This is partially because of his current boss, who he feels is a great leader.
“One of the things I’m witnessing is that the director of the office is one of the best leaders I have ever met,” he said. “It’s because she admits to her faults, she asks questions, doesn’t put anybody down, she doesn’t feel like she’s above anybody else, and she’s very good managing without simply delegating tasks. Being able to witness that has been helpful because that’s the kind of leader I want to be.”
Along with the center programs, his internship, and his fraternity, Grenuk has participated in Dance Marathon, the Emerging Leaders Class, and the Student Conduct Board. Through these programs, he was able to observe and learn from younger individuals. In addition, Grenuk was able to instill what he’s learned to a fresh group of people.
Grenuk does more than lead for these programs; he also strives to listen and adapt.
“I think at times people may not know the right way to handle a certain situation,” he said. “I will try to behave differently depending on the organization that I’m with.”
Grenuk has learned how to work in a group setting, listen to every opinion, and reach conclusions together.
“Leadership,” he said, “is about letting everyone be heard so that you can have the best results.”
— Ian Levinson