Conference aims to prepare students for leadership roles in their professions

October 06, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- A one-day career development conference at the University Park campus will feature top industry representatives who will share their experiences as leaders in their fields.

Leaders of the Future will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18, at the Nittany Lion Inn on the University Park campus of Penn State. The conference, made possible by a generous donation from Lockheed Martin, is open to all Penn State students and is free of charge.

Mike Erdman, Walter L. Robb Director of the Engineering Leadership Development Minor, said, "The Leaders of the Future conference was offered years ago to help students develop leadership competencies needed for effective workplace transition. I participated in this event as a recruiter then and now, as the ELDM program director, I want to provide current students with the same opportunities."

Participants can choose from one of four tracks: leading yourself, leading others, leading the organization or career building.

Mark Pavlik, 1982 earth and mineral sciences graduate and head coach of Penn State Men's Volleyball, will deliver a keynote address to kick off the conference.

Kelly Frager, 1989 health and human development graduate, professional etiquette coach and owner of Etiquette for Everyday, will discuss business meal etiquette during lunch.

Fifteen additional speakers will address topics such as learning to engage with other leaders, leading authentically with flexibility, building relationships, inspiring teams and valuing inclusivity and diversity.

The conference is co-sponsored by Engineering Leadership Development, the Schreyer Honors College, the College of Health and Human Development, the College of Information Sciences and Technology, the Smeal College of Business, the College of the Liberal Arts, the College of Education, the University Park Allocation Committee and Penn State Great Valley.

Melissa Doberstein, program director of the Penn State Presidential Leadership Academy, said, "A core mission of the Presidential Leadership Academy is to bring students together to develop leadership fundamentals where diverse viewpoints are welcomed and heard. Collaborating across the University benefits ours students because they engage in diverse conversations and learn from one another’s experiences."

Industry supporters include Ernst & Young, Johnson & Johnson, PNC, Power Home Remodeling Group, Reclamere, Siemens, Turner Construction Company, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy and Videon.

Additional details, including speaker bios and registration, are available at the Leaders of the Future conference site.

For more information, contact Meg Handley, associate director of engineering leadership outreach, at

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 19, 2015