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Marine Corps hosts leadership development seminar in Atlanta

By Capt. Al Eskalis | | May 6, 2011

The United States Marine Corps is sharing its expertise in developing highly effective leaders with the city of Atlanta.

The inaugural Marine Corps Leadership Seminar brought together senior Marine leaders and administrators, professors, and students from Atlanta-area colleges and universities April 29 in downtown Atlanta for a two-day, hands-on seminar focused on Marine Corps leadership development.

“This was a way for us to give back and reconnect with communities around our great nation,” said Dr. Ken Dunn, a retired Marine colonel and seminar leader.  “The seminar allowed us to share our leadership development process and, more importantly, our ethos with college students, as well as academic and community leaders who are shaping the future leaders of our nation. Atlanta was a great city for us to start this program because of its rich cultural diversity and renowned colleges and universities.”

 The seminar featured presentations by Marine instructors from Officer Candidate School and The Basic School on topics such as Marine Corps leadership traits, decision making process, and ethical leadership. Seminar attendees then negotiated several team building and leadership problem scenarios, similar to the Leadership Reaction Course used to train Marine officer candidates at OCS. They analyzed historical case studies focused on ethical leadership and decision making, all the while mentored by the seasoned Marine leaders. As the seminar concluded, attendees also had the unique opportunity to meet and talk with members of Atlanta’s Montford Point Marine Association.

“The foundation of this seminar is to provide these students with experiential learning, leading a team to accomplish a mission and solve a problem,” said Maj. Jennifer Parker, chief instructor for the seminar. “They were very excited to get this opportunity.”

The attendees included undergraduate and graduate students from universities throughout the Atlanta area. The introduction to Marine Corps leadership principles and opportunity to put those principles into practical application proved to be an eye-opening experience for many.

“The leadership problem solving exercises were very challenging,” said Kristian Davis, an Masters of Business Administration candidate at Georgia State University. “They gave us an example of how to handle an unpredictable situation and how to come together as a team to solve a problem.”

The Marine Corps plans on hosting future leadership seminars at cities throughout the United States, focusing on Saint Louis in the summer of 2011.

“This is America’s Marine Corps and we need to let more of America know what its Marine Corps is doing for them,” said Dunn. “We want to thank America for entrusting us with their sons and daughters and let them know what we do for the nation. That’s what this seminar is all about.”