For senior advanced marketing analytics major Amanda Anderson, receiving the College of Business’ 2021 Jack North Student Leadership Award is the realization of a goal she set her sophomore year. Indeed, looking back at her time at Illinois State University, it is the accomplishment of which she is the most proud.

“It feels great knowing my dedication to the COB and ISU has paid off,” she said. “I also feel proud to be representing all my scholarship donors from the past few years, including Rita Mae Carroll, Ken and Debbie Glover, William Motchar and Connie Krug.”

The leadership award was named after a former State Farm Insurance senior executive vice president who served on the College of Business Advisory Council and was the chairperson for the first Illinois State capital campaign. As this year’s recipient, Anderson will have the opportunity to address her peers in the class of 2021 as part of spring commencement.

Anderson noted that exhibiting the servant leadership and integrity celebrated by the Jack North Award begins with mindset.

“My mindset has always been centered around pushing people to reach their full potential and challenge the status quo,” she said. “When a leadership term is up, my growth doesn’t matter if I haven’t made an impact on the growth of others, and I think this lies at the heart of servant leadership. Although I have not always made the right decisions throughout my time at ISU, I’d like to think that I’ve kept my values in mind and held integrity close to me always. For integrity to be a large part of the decision-making process for this award means the world to me because out of all the merit-based scholarships to win, whether it be based on GPA or RSO (registered student organization) involvement, integrity is the most important type of merit to me.”  

Anderson hopes her legacy at ISU will be marked by her “ability to institute and adapt to change.”

She continued, “In each organization I’ve been in and team I’ve served on, I’ve tried my best to innovate and push forward so that whatever I’m a part of, it never remains stagnant.”

Anderson hopes her legacy at ISU will be marked by her “ability to institute and adapt to change.”

This innovative drive is clearly seen in how she approached her role as the 2021 president of Business Week. Given the fully virtual nature of this year’s professional development events, she had to learn to “deal with adversity and roll with the punches.”

In a letter recommending Anderson for the Jack North Award, COB executive Director of Marketing and Communication Steve Vandiver applauded her for building camaraderie among the Business Week team members who never had a chance to meet in person due to the pandemic. He also described her as a “determined” and “compassionate” leader who “brought out the best in her team through her own work ethic and leading by example.”

Vandiver continued, “During her time at Illinois State, she made such a positive impression on so many parts of the university and in so many of her peer’s lives, and I have no reason not to believe that she will continue do great things after her graduation. Her strong character, integrity, compassion and constant commitment to Illinois State make her a natural and quality choice for this honor.”

In addition to being part of the Business Week team since 2018, Anderson began serving as the marketing intern for the College of Business in August 2019 and plays an active role on the COB’s social media marketing team. She also is an active member of Alpha Kappa Psi and over the years served as the business fraternity’s vice president of membership, activities coordinator, and service chair. Additionally, she worked on the leadership team for the Pat It Forward student fund in the 2019-2020 academic year and helped oversee what Vandiver described as “its most successful fundraising drive ever.” For Anderson, seeing the student body raise more than $1,300 in only two days is one of her favorite memories of her time as a Redbird.

Through such extensive on-campus involvement, Anderson came to appreciate more deeply the importance of lifelong learning.

“There is always room for growth,” she observed. “But growth won’t just fall in your lap; you have to actively seek it out.”

She also discovered the value of both listening and disagreement, explaining that the latter “challenges you to see things from others’ perspectives, which is critical as a leader.”

The graduating senior encourages current students and future Redbirds to make the most of their time at ISU.

“It is completely doable to do well in school, get involved and have fun and do things other college students do,” she said. “Get involved as soon as you can and learn how to manage your time. Time management is a skill that I believe can make or break you, so start making to-do lists, filling out your calendar and taking notes of EVERYTHING. Furthermore, it’s not enough to just join a few organizations. Employers care about what you do within those organizations that make you stand out, such as hosting events or taking on new leadership positions. There is always going to be someone smarter or more talented that you, but keep the drive to be the best alive because it is what will push you forward and allow you to seek out new opportunities.”