MC L.E.A.D.S program goes virtual for fall Semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic


Student attendees listen to Professor Tamarra Coleman speak during the MC LEADS session in the Campus Center conference room on Friday, Feb. 28. This is the second session of MC LEADS so far, soon to be followed by three more. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

By Karla Vazquez

The Moorpark College Leadership Education and Development for Students Program for Fall 2020 has gone completely virtual. MC L.E.A.D.S will be hosting all seven workshops that they offer to MC students through Zoom sessions.

MC L.E.A.D.S is a program that teaches students leadership skills which they can continue to develop personally, professionally and academically. The program will allow students to develop soft skills that will help qualify them for future jobs, internships or leadership opportunities.

Students who invest their time in the program by attending at least five workshops out of the seven, in addition to learning more about themselves, will receive a transcript notation reflecting their involvement, a custom medallion and a certificate acknowledging their participation.

Kristen Robinson, student activities specialist for Moorpark College, leads MC L.E.A.D.S second workshop of the semester.
Kristen Robinson, student activities specialist for Moorpark College, leads MC L.E.A.D.S second workshop of the semester. Photo credit: Karla Vazquez

MC L.E.A.D.S hosted their first workshop on Sept. 11, 2020, and their second meeting on Sept. 18, 2020. The second session was called Discovering Your Strengths, and it focused on uncovering innate talents, abilities and how you can further develop them and apply them in life.

Speakers present in the meeting included Patti Blair, Director of Public Affairs and Marketing for the VCCCD, and other VCCCD Board of Trustees members. Blair explained from a district perspective what it meant to transition online.

“From a district perspective we were able to react very quickly and that really wasn’t any one group, it was faculty, staff, administration and students. I think everybody had a very large part in the success of moving online,” Blair said.

Blair was invited by Kristen Robinson, who is in charge of organizing the MC L.E.A.D.S workshops. Blair lead students with the Clifton Strengths Assessment, which helps students identify their strengths. Blair also invited VCCCD trustee Dianne McKay and Chancellor Greg Gillespie. Gillespie shared his top three leadership skills and emphasized the importance of listening to others.

“One of the greatest strengths of a leader is to have the ability to be able to listen well, I have found that over the years. It is really important to try and understand everybody’s perspectives and to really take the time to listen,” Gillespie said.

Another person who agreed with Gillespie’s comment about taking the time to listen to other people and understand the struggles that they’re facing is Student Activities Specialist at Moorpark College, Kristen Robinson. Robinson is directly in charge of coordinating the workshops each semester for MC L.E.A.D.S. Robinson recalled the struggles MC L.E.A.D.S faced when the pandemic occurred and Moorpark College had to transition its courses online.

“For MC L.E.A.D.S in the Spring we were halfway through our MC L.E.A.D.S version 1.0 when everything had to go online, and so the sessions were able to transition in the same way that our classes had to be adaptable, obviously that caused us to have to think more creatively,” Robinson explained.

MC L.E.A.D.S had to figure out how breakout sessions would be done online and how to deal with not being able to fully connect with students. There were going to be struggles with not seeing each other’s screens or dealing with unstable internet connections. Nonetheless, Robinson expressed her gratitude for the students being forgiving during this difficult time we are all navigating through.

“I think that we’ve been really fortunate that a lot of our students are sort of forgiving as we navigate through, “can you see my screen? can you not? oh I didn’t unmute myself.” I think that there’s a learning curve that our students are forgiving of,” Robinson explained.

Robinson is unsure if MC L.E.A.D.S will continue to host the leadership workshops online next semester as well. Robinson explained that the future is unknown, but they now have experience with dealing with online workshops and are more prepared.

“We had to be fully prepared for the workshops to be online this semester so I think we are going into next semester under the assumption that we will be doing this virtually,” Robinson said.

The next MC L.E.A.D.S workshop is going to be on Oct. 9, 2020 and will focus on harnessing your leadership abilities.

For more information about MC L.E.A.D.S visit the Moorpark College website on the MC L.E.A.D.S Program.