Speaker Encourages Authentic Leadership at Summit

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Natalia Molina, Photographer

There are several types of leadership styles one may follow. James T. Robilotta, however, does not ascribe to the ones that are the most usual. Instead, he leads through authentic leadership.

Robilotta was the speaker for The Leadership Summit, hosted by Rogers Lead WT and sponsored by The Distinguished Lecture, on Friday, Feb. 2 in Legacy Hall in the Jack B. Kelley Student Center. These organizations gave students the opportunity to listen to the author, professional speaker, personal coach, and entrepreneur. Robilotta’s presentation titled “Leading Imperfectly: The Value of Being Authentic for Leaders, Professionals, and Human Beings.”

Robilotta explained his leadership style by stating his agreement with the idea that others have stated numerous times.

“A number of individuals have defined the idea that as humans we can’t learn from people who are perfect, we can only learn from people who are imperfect,” Robilotta said. “It is crucial that we lead through our stories.”

In exemplifying this, Robilotta told several stories, some that made people laugh and others that made people realize what they should change or improve in themselves as leaders.

“The speaker made me not only think about how and why I lead and also what kind of leader I am,” junior corporate communication major, Starmie Bennett said. “But I was definitely challenged by the speaker to dig deep and learn more about my true self.”

Robilotta is from Sayvillem, New York, and earned his degree in marine biology from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. After that, he decided to get his master’s degree in counseling from Clemson University. He worked on college campuses for about 13 years and then decided to become a full-time speaker and coach.

Robilotta now travels internationally giving presentations about authentic leadership. He refers to his idea and focus during his talks as “Edutainment,” which is the idea of always wanting to be educational, but wanting to do it in a very entertaining way.

“I want the audience to feel I am authentic, educational, and entertaining, and in that order,” Robilotta said. “I would love for the audience members to see themselves in me.”
He had a strong impact on many people in the audience, and opened their eyes to what leadership means to each of them.

“He was very detailed and personal in his approach, and he specifically mentioned how we can’t learn from people who are perfect, but only from people who are imperfect. I liked that a lot because I think many people many times feel pressure to be perfect when they lead a group, but that creates a bad environment with limited room for growth.” said the junior management Marlene van Mourik.

To learn more about authentic leadership or about Robilotta, visit his website www.jamestrobo.com. Robilotta also wrote a book called “Leading Imperfectly,” which is available at the WTAMU Cornette Library.