Alex Heller (Scholar '08), Brittany Heller (Scholar '10') and Barrett Brooks (Scholar '10')

The opportunity to participate in the Leonard Leadership Scholars Program was in itself one of the great highlights of my time at UGA. I had a chance to learn so much about myself, and then took what I discovered and learned to accelerate in my career. What I learned and experienced has been essential to where I am today and I am forever thankful.

What was even more amazing was the chance to share and watch my sister, Brittany Heller, and cousin, Barrett Brooks, also take the path with ILA two years after I did. We, as a family, have all taken different paths since departing Athens. However, ILA provided a unique perspective on what was important to each of us and how we wanted to make our mark on the world. Don't worry, we didn't spend Thanksgiving debating an HBR article from class! However, it equipped us to challenge, push, and respect each other's drive to do something meaningful. I can't wait to see where they end up next.

Austin Farmer (Scholar '13) and Regan Farmer (Scholar '16)

I first became interested in ILA through a handful of my older fraternity brothers whom I highly respected. These men were my first family away from home, and when I saw how adamantly they supported ILA and the program's impact on their personal and professional development, I aspired to commit myself to this unique opportunity. I had the honor of joining the Leonard Leadership Scholars program and can say without hesitation that it profoundly shaped my college experience and continues to be a foundation upon which I stand today. Leonard challenged me to look within, to think bigger, and to serve others. It granted me the opportunity to develop personal relationships with others who inspired and supported me; an opportunity to tackle difficult questions about life and legacy with my ILA family.

The idea of family became ever more real when my brother Regan joined Leonard three years later. I was thrilled that ILA's presence in our lives would only continue to grow. The University will always be a home to me; as I write this, my younger sister is starting her first year as a Bulldog. I’m extraordinarily grateful for my ILA family and the impact it continues to have on my immediate family.

Grant Carlton (Scholar '13) and Andrew Carlton (Fellow '15)

If home is where family is, then ILA most assuredly is part of my extended family. Throughout my time at UGA, the Institute for Leadership Advancement was my home away from home. Like family, we broke bread together; we talked about our future hopes and dreams; we took trips as a family, we shared in each other's successes and struggles; and to this day, we can still count on each other.

My two years in the program were absolutely transformative in my understanding of myself, but, more importantly, my understanding of others, particularly my fellow scholars. I know that anytime I need help, my extended family of ILA is there, just as I am for them. For me in particular, ILA was a family affair, as my brother (Andew Carlton) joined the ILA family the year I graduated. Like me, he grew immensely through the program, and we both credit the leadership development for the early success in our career. ILA has helped shape us into leaders who know our own strengths and into men who aspire to live the coin. Best of all, we know we’ve got our ILA family in Athens and around the world.

Benjamin Pace (Scholar '03) and Elizabeth Pace Morgan (Scholar '06')

My immediate family taught me how to love and serve others. My ILA family taught me how to take that same ethic and apply it to my business life. They made me the better leader that I am today. — Benjamin Pace

Olivia Bassel (Scholar '17) and Ben Bassel (Scholar '16)

Since we were kids, following my brother’s footsteps has always been a simple suggestion, yet a challenging feat. In my college search I wanted my choice to feel like home, so Ben was a big reason I chose UGA. He is more than family; he was and is still someone I admire, love, and aspire to be like. Freshman year my brother was my rock. He was my life counselor, class schedule advisor, Bolton buddy, Uber driver, and so much more. When we applied for ILA he was quite nervous, a state Ben was rarely found in, so I knew then this program must be something special. Fast forward to his junior year and ILAD 4100. During this semester I watched Ben truly grow and learn. He became more in-tune with himself, insightful to others, decisive, and all around an even stronger leader. When applications came out he encouraged me to apply; I honestly thought there was no way I’d get chosen, but he believed in me. Months later I was welcomed to the ILA family. I couldn’t fully express our gratitude because this family has created the bond between siblings, developed our personal and professional lives, and given us some friends that will last a lifetime. We are so blessed to be part of this inspiring, loving, and encouraging family. I couldn’t have done it without my brother, cheers to him finally being a big kid in ATL!

From Ben:
Watching Olivia grow and develop in her life has been a joy of mine. She is wise beyond her years and always has an answer to any life problem or dilemma. Her passion and love for life is seen as a light in other's lives and I'm excited to watch her lead the capstone project into her senior year at UGA. She is raising the standards for ILA classes to follow, and all of her hard work within her two majors of Finance and Marketing will launch her into an incredible career. We have become closer throughout college, and the Leonard Leadership Scholars Program allowed for us to develop as leaders together as well. I know Olivia will continue to serve, lead, and encourage peers throughout her life after college!

Ann Dylla (Fellow '13) and Mark Dylla (Scholar '12)

My brother and I have loved being a part of the athletic association as well as ILA in our time at UGA. They both have helped to build a strong community in each of our lives. My ILA family consists not only of my brother, but also of the numerous friends that both he and I have acquired through it. I have gained friends that have become roommates, co-workers, and life-long friends. This program has been very influential in my life and creates a bond between students regardless of which ILA program they were a part of or what year they graduate.

Alex Edelstein (Scholar '16) and Jordan Edelstein(Scholar '12)

Perspective runs throughout all of the lessons we learned during our time in ILA. No matter the lesson, the importance of understanding from multiple lenses not only allowed us to cultivate our leadership skills, but gave us a general curiosity for the differences always around us. This summer we packed up and headed to Tokyo to see firsthand the nuanced diversity in Japanese culture. Despite the strikingly similar appearance of bustling cities full of skyscrapers and apartments, the culture powering Tokyo diverges from what we’ve grown to know. Reverence and over-the-top politeness to everyone (strangers included) and the undeniable sense of an entire population practicing servant leadership pleasantly shocked us and reinforced the doctrines we learned in ILA. Spending time in a city committed to a “one for all” dogma helped bring into perspective that sometimes we get caught up in the swirl of madness and fail to practice kindness, empathy and mutual respect that should remain core and constant. Tokyo offered so much in sights, sounds and smells, but we walked away with so much more. We’re excited to take what we learned and apply it to our future adventures!

Sophie Frankham-Smith (Scholar '15) and Thomas Frankham-Smith (Fellow '15)

ILA for us is truly a family affair. Not only did our peers and the entire ILA office feel like family by the time we graduated, but getting to experience the program together allowed us to push each other further and grow closer as siblings. We both learned so much about the people that we are, the people that we wanted to be and how to lead from a place of purpose. As twins, we already knew each other so well, so we were able to encourage each other in our strengths and challenge each other in our weaknesses to be better leaders and the best versions of ourselves. We challenged each other by asking tough questions and never giving up when things (like writing our PDLPs) felt impossible. Now that we’re both living in Washington D.C. and have finished our first year of work, we continue to remind each other of the things we learned in ILA and challenge each other to continue to uncover our purpose and have more impact. We couldn’t be more thankful for our ILA family!

Emily Evert (Scholar '09) and Georgia Evert (Fellow '11)

Our ILA Family stories continue with siblings, Emily Evert (Scholar 2009) and Georgia Evert (Fellow 2011). If you have an ILA sibling story to share, we would love for you to post it on Facebook and tag UGA Institute for Leadership Advancement.

My sister Emily was a Leonard Leader the 2 years before I joined the Fellow Program (she graduated in 2009 and I graduated in 2011). We both enjoyed it so much and loved being able to share the experience with each other!

Wes French (Fellow '11) and Janie French (Fellow '17)

The word family has many different meanings. For us, as siblings, being a family means sharing our experiences. Growing up together, sharing was not always easy. Whether it was the TV remote or the family car, it always took some convincing to share with each other.

However, as we grew older, things changed. I guess once you leave your parent’s house and head off to college, you start to realize that the best things to share with your siblings are your experiences. As Wes ventured off to Georgia and began sharing his experience in Athens with our family, our relationship as a brother and sister only grew stronger. So much so, that when it became my time to look into colleges, UGA was a natural first choice. From our first football game together to Sunday morning brunches at Mama’s Boy, we have become closer and closer as siblings through our time at the University of Georgia. We have loved sharing our ILA family together, as it has made our own relationship grow stronger

Trevor Phinney (Scholar '15) and Savannah Phinney (Scholar '17)

Savannah and I grew up in a military family, and from an early age we were taught about servant leadership and the importance of values. As we became more involved in UGA and heard about ILA, the similarity in values piqued our interest. The ILA scholar program, and most importantly the ILA family, has been one of the greatest highlights for both of us during our time here at UGA. Savannah and I forged lifelong friendships, with not only individuals in our year but in our sibling's year (Savannah is friends with folks in my grade and vice versa). ILA did a fantastic job of teaching us how to apply ethical and servant based leadership on a daily basis. Both of us are applying these lessons on, as Savannah leads her sorority, ZTA, as president, and Trevor as a 2nd Lt in the Air Force attending pilot training. ILA and the people we met there hold a special spot in our hearts and minds. We are excited to see the ILA family grow as more incredible leaders on campus are challenged to be values-based leaders, now and in their future endeavors.

Ben Fogle (Scholar '14) and Megan Fogle (Fellow '15)

ILA Family means being able to share the ILA legacy with my little sister, Megan. While we were both incredibly lucky just to call Athens home for four years, sharing in the experience that is ILA led us both to discover our true purpose and the meaning of becoming servant leaders.

ILA and the faculty members encouraged us to be leaders across campus, among our peers, and act as stewards in our communities. While we were constantly challenged to be the best that we could be, we were also encouraged to incorporate passion and purpose in everything that we do. It's that passion, and that purpose, that Megan and I will be able to take into the next chapters of our lives.

The ILA family was ingrained into our family over our time at UGA, with our parents and loved ones in constant awe of the amazing opportunities that ILA afforded both of us, and of the incredible individuals who were the heartbeat of the program. The ILA family truly became a part of the Fogle family, with the incredible Doc. C being a constant source of admiration and good memories. We will never forget our experiences with ILA or the people who we were lucky enough to call family.

Matt Karempelis (Fellow '15) and Kyle Karempelis (Fellow '16)

The Karempelis ILA Family Story begins in the busiest airport in the world.

The odds are pretty favorable that you will run into someone you know at Hartsfield-Jackson, but the odds of being on the same airline, same destination, and same flight are much, much slimmer. Although in this particular case, we (Matt and Kyle Karempelis) were on the same flight as none other than Mr. Earl Leonard himself, the founding father of the ILA Family as we know it.

What a joy to run into such a man and leader. Mr. Leonard was taking his whole family, grandchildren and all, on a family cruise in the Mediterranean. He's a perfect illustration of what the ILA Family is all about: to develop leaders who embrace responsibility, stewardship, excellence, integrity, and purpose beyond the classroom and into their professions and families. He demonstrates not only providing for your family, but being a good steward of your time, pursuing excellence in all things with integrity, and having the purpose to be a present role model in the lives of the generations to come.

"Leaders do not create followers, but create more leaders." — Tom Peters