Webster University Holds Annual European LEADS Retreat in Athens

Webster LEADS students with a Webster banner on the rooftop of Webster Athens.

Webster University recently held its annual WebsterLEADS retreat. Students from Webster campus locations across Europe gathered at Webster Athens for a week of engaging discussions and professional networking. The retreat, held every fall semester for European students who are part of the WebsterLEADS program, offers students the chance to learn new leadership skills, meet like-minded students from other campus locations and broaden their global knowledge by being immersed in a different culture. 

WebsterLEADS is a co-curricular leadership experience for undergraduate students available to Webster students at the Webster Groves, Geneva, Leiden and Vienna campuses. The program helps students develop skills such as communication, critical thinking, decision-making, group process and sensitivity to diverse perspectives. After finishing the curriculum, students are awarded a Leadership Certificate.   
A large component of leadership is to intentionally develop relationships with one’s followers – particularly, in ways that foster a sense of connection. Webster Geneva student Talia Odjou attests to this, based on personal experience from this year’s retreat. 

“The LEADS retreat was an enriching experience. Interacting with a diverse group of peers was a transformative journey. The opportunity to connect with students from different universities provided me with invaluable leadership lessons, including the importance of teamwork and empathy. The retreat left an unforgettable mark on my understanding of both myself and the importance of acknowledging the unique qualities of others.”

A group of Webster LEADS students pose for a photo.

A group of Webster LEADS students pose for a photo.

Webster Athens student Ejna Mujezin cited a similar experience and takeaways. “The highlight of the retreat was having the chance to connect with incredible people and immerse ourselves in a new culture. The bonds formed were strong and promising, fostering friendships and professional connections.” 

Each year, a different European campus hosts the retreat. This gives each group of LEADS students a different set of cultural knowledge to bring back to their home campus and community. In Webster Athens, students had the opportunity to engage with the local surroundings by taking part in a scavenger hunt around Athens and attend an evening rooftop theatre performance under the Acropolis. 

Webster LEADS students explore Athens during the retreat.

Webster LEADS students explore Athens during the retreat.

Yet, there were still plenty of opportunities to learn about leadership.  

“The centerpiece of the retreat was a workshop led by Webster Vienna Career Coach, Alexandra Deubner, which delved into the art of effective communication in leadership,” Mujezin said. “Alexandra's guidance left a lasting impression on our diverse group of students, highlighting the vital role communication plays.” 

Webster LEADS students during one of the retreat workshops.

Webster LEADS students take notes at one of the retreat workshops.

Webster Leiden student Yasamin Bakhtiari added on this, saying, “The retreat offered insights into diverse cultures and perspectives, as well as a profound understanding of leadership styles and avenues of improvement.” 

The 2024 LEADS retreat will be held at the Webster Vienna campus. To learn more about WebsterLEADS or for details about joining the next LEADS cohort, visit www.webster.edu/student-life/websterleads.php

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