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Understanding the effect character ethic has on individual leadership

Middle and high school students explored how to leverage their individual strengths for success at the 13th Siegfried Youth Leadership Program® event

Siegfried Youth Leadership Program® (SYLP) is a unique leadership development opportunity for students in grades 8 through 12 with the goal of enriching participants’ personal lives and inspiring positive change around them. The Siegfried Group, LLP (Siegfried), recently hosted its 13th SYLP event at the University of Delaware, in collaboration with University of Delaware’s Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship (CEEE) and Junior Achievement of Delaware.

Nearly 400 students and their teachers from 14 schools in the Delaware area came together to reflect on what it means to be an effective individual leader. Throughout the day, students met and worked with their peers to embrace new concepts, gain a better understanding of how to build character ethic, and visualize how their personal experiences and strengths can be leveraged to advance their bigger futures.

Becoming the best version of yourself

SYLP kicked off with a thoughtful group activity, introducing attendees to the concept of character ethic as the foundation for success in life. Students engaged with their peers from other schools to learn about the lives of influential role models throughout sports, entertainment, academia, and political history. From Eleanor Roosevelt and Martin Luther King Jr. to Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Simone Biles, groups identified the admirable character ethic traits that facilitated these leaders’ outstanding impact and achievements in their fields and beyond.

Siegfried team members Kristin Duncan, Senior Manager of National Employee Enhancement, and Lauren Campbell, Regional Chief of Staff, encouraged students to further consider and share the character ethic traits they’ve displayed in their lives and accomplishments. Through this genuine self-reflection, attendees were inspired to dream big and continue their growth toward the futures they want for themselves.

“Individual leadership, to me, has always been about being able to be your most authentic self – being comfortable in your own skin and making sure that’s how you’re showing up in all of your interactions and relationships,” said Kristin. “And I think when you can do that, you’re encouraging other people to do the same.”

Discovering your superpower

Students also heard from guest speaker Dave Raymond, the original Phillie Phanatic turned entrepreneur. He encouraged the audience to both investigate the past and envision their future, discussing how transformative experiences and existing strengths can serve as superpowers that propel happiness and success.

“The students are doing things now, naturally, that are skills they haven’t given themselves credit for; at their age, when they do something well, they think everyone else can too,” Dave explained. “So, what I’m encouraging them to do is think about where they don’t give themselves credit. Acknowledging and recognizing those skill sets will help them as they move on in their lives.”

Dave further identified and spoke about his own personal superpower – fun. By leveraging the multiple character ethic traits and strengths he developed throughout his life, Dave could use fun to form meaningful relationships with those around him and set new standards as the first Phillie Phanatic.

“The most important part about leadership is figuring out a way to connect on an emotional level. The Phanatic spread out all this joy by just showing up, and I started realizing that if I can impact folks on an emotional level, then I’m in,” Dave said.

Creating the opportunity for leadership development

Siegfried has spent 35 years delivering on its higher purpose to help people transform themselves into better leaders to exponentially improve their lives. In 2016, CEO and Founder Rob Siegfried expanded this reach and created SYLP — an immersive leadership development program to inspire transformational growth among young people.

SYLP is designed for students in grades 8 through 12, as well as their teachers and mentors. As part of the program, the SYLP team hosts events, during which student participants focus on developing the qualities they need to start, or continue, their journey toward becoming strong individual leaders and building a successful future. Overall, the program aims to create a more rhythmic approach to focusing on individual leadership.

“SYLP was inspired by my daughter and her belief that I could share something with younger generations,” said Siegfried. “I want to impress on them the importance of personal leadership to find something inspiring, a personal passion, and use it to lead a purposeful and fulfilling future.”

Future events

The next SYLP® event will take place on April 25, 2023 at Roosevelt University in Chicago, IL. More information is available here.

Read more

Read more about the event from University of Delaware.


“I loved seeing some of my students take risks and speak up. I feel it's important to offer these opportunities to as many students as possible.”

SYLP Teacher

Ready to experience SYLP?

If you’re curious about SYLP and want to learn more how you, your school, or your child can get involved, explore our different SYLP offerings.