Emerging Leaders Program Lights the Spark

ELP Celebrates 10 Years of Creating Student Leaders

Marist has a unique and formidable method of preparing students for life after graduation - the Emerging Leaders Program (ELP). The cultivation of professional skills is a goal of many college institutions, but the ELP is notably effective in this area.

The Emerging Leaders Program primarily benefits students by teaching them skills for lifelong success. “We help them to improve communication skills; skills like project management, working with others, setting and achieving goals, working in teams and small groups,” says Robin Torres, the director of the program. 

Students in the program learn such skills by participating in a variety of workshops and webcasts throughout the year. Each event showcases a guest speaker with specific experiences and expertise to pass on to Marist students.

“Workshops are given primarily by faculty members, key administrators, executives, alumni, community members,” adds Torres, “people who really have demonstrated both leadership as part of their success, but also a love of helping to mentor other people.”

These events are much more than a typical lecture or class. As much as the speakers discuss their own experiences, they also get the students involved and out of their seats. The workshops are always a combination of learning and trying out hands-on leadership exercises.

In past years, a popular lecture has come from Dr. Dennis J. Murray, the president of Marist. In this workshop, entitled "From Past to President," students get to know Murray on a personal level as he discusses running a complex organization such as Marist.

Emerging Leaders Program, Marist CollegeStudents gain even more valuable experience from the program’s success networking teams. These groups are made up of students in the program that do not necessarily know each other but learn to support each other regardless. Within the groups, students set goals for themselves and encourage one another to meet these goals week by week. This system creates an accountability to oneself and also to the other members of the group.

Marist’s program is also quite unique because it offers a national certificate from the National Society of Leadership and Success, along with a local certificate for accomplishments. “The certificate means that you have an opportunity to tell employers that you are recognized for having displayed a certain level of skill and attainment in leadership,” explains Torres. The combination of certificates will improve the student’s resume and marketability.

These opportunities are open to any Marist student looking to learn about themselves and their place in the professional world. Students can, and do, join during all four years of their college careers and can participate as frequently as their schedules will allow.

Robin Torres believes that the hectic schedule of a college student makes the Emerging Leaders Program all the more essential. She claims that students are some of the most oversubscribed people and can truly benefit from pausing to reflect and consider their own well-being.

She says that, in response, “we teach students to take a moment to figure out who they are, and where they want to go and help them with the tools to get there.”

Now in its 10th year, the Emerging Leaders Program is a consistently available outlet for students throughout the entire school year. The program’s success and popularity are apparent in its numbers. In the past five years alone, the program has grown to 300 times its original size, with 1,115 seats, 22 events, and 2,000 national members.

Torres thinks that this undeniable success comes from the work ethic of Marist students, in addition to the nature of the Emerging Leaders Program. “Marist students come to the gate, hungry to make a difference, in their own lives and in the lives of other people,” says Torres proudly. The Emerging Leaders Program provides the tools to succeed in the real world, while Marist students provide their own determination to internalize and utilize the content.

“There is nothing more wonderful when you see the spark, then lighting the fire,” beams Torres, “I feel like Emerging Leaders is a program where we have a beautiful array of sparks, and it’s really easy to light that fire.”


Written by Sarah Gabrielli '18


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