National Society of Leadership and Success: Uncovering the Leader Within Yourself


When asked what it is like to be a member of JMU’s chapter of the national organization, National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS), faculty advisor Michael McCleve responded with an appropriate metaphor: “[It is] like being planted in a fertile spot of ground where you get plenty of sunshine and water and fertilizer and nutrients to grow really well, as opposed to being planted haphazardly where you happen to fall and might not get those things.”

As a national organization whose shared objective is to, “build leaders who build a better world,” McCleve’s metaphor could not have been more accurate. NSLS aims to endow its members with leadership experience by giving each participant the support they need to achieve their personal goals, as well as give them opportunities and outlets to make those dreams a reality. For example, within NSLS, members participate in different team and leadership building activities such as constructing a tower with only straws and duct tape, doing practice interviews with others members, and listening to motivational speeches. It is NSLS' intention that members will bring the skills they've learned internally to their lives outside of the society during various service learning projects intended to encourage members to engage with the local community and facilitate positive change. Last April, NSLS got involved with The Big Event, a day during which JMU students are given the opportunity to give back to the Harrisonburg community through various service and beautification projects. They are hoping to further aid the community this semester through a philanthropic kickball tournament.

With such a promising and inspirational environment, it is no wonder that JMU is just one of 475 colleges and universities that operate an NSLS chapter. Nationally, there are currently 425,000 members, over 480 of which belong to JMU’s chapter—a number which had been previously unheard of until this past year.

“The semester I was inducted, the max amount of people [at meetings] was ten people. The semester after I joined… it grew a lot. We got so many more people. It went from, when I was inducted at most 10, to right after I joined, at least 80 [members at the meetings]. It just exploded,” said junior Computer Science major and chapter president, Robert Sullivan.

With such enormous membership, JMU’s NSLS chapter is already hard at work building the team of leaders that will go on to change the world, as outlined in the organization’s mission statement. As such, NSLS adds tremendous value and gives promise to JMU’s campus and the surrounding Harrisonburg community. When asked how NSLS makes JMU and Harrisonburg a better place, McCleve’s response pointed to the very foundations upon which the organization was created: “helping the greatest number of people in the greatest way.”

“This organization gives more students both a place and opportunity to belong to something that is meaningful and can add significant value to their lives, and be very practical in how they can hone their own skills as a leader,” said McCleve.

And from a student perspective, Sullivan added, “before joining NSLS, I wasn’t involved in anything. I was a blank slate. I went from class to class. I had no extracurriculars. [NSLS] gave me a place to go. People made me feel at home.” And it was that very security and support afforded to him by the organization and its members that gave him the, “courage and enthusiasm to make an impact on JMU’s campus and the Harrisonburg area in general.”

Want to know more? Check out National Society of Leadership and Success’ website or JMU’s NSLS chapter website.

Published: Monday, February 2, 2015

Last Updated: Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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