Personal Development Plan

- Mengdan Ouyang

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Table of Contents
Personal Mission Statement ............................................................................................. 1
Two Significant Learning Goals ...................................................................................... 2
Enjoy Interpersonal Communication .............................................................................. 2
From Pessimistic to Optimistic ....................................................................................... 2
Six Illinois Leadership Competencies ............................................................................. 3
Self-Knowledge ............................................................................................................... 3
Communication ............................................................................................................... 4
Change Management ....................................................................................................... 5
Diversity Advocacy ......................................................................................................... 5
Global Competence ......................................................................................................... 6
Service Minded ............................................................................................................... 6
Personal Mission Statement
My name is Mengdan Ouyang. I am currently a senior majoring in Accounting
and Finance. I come from Shenzhen, the fourth biggest city in China.
The first time I heard of the leadership certificate program, was in my freshman
year. I met an alumni professional in a company event, and he recommended the
leadership certificate program in the leadership center to the underclassman. It didn’t
sound interesting to me at the time, because I believed that leadership was something
born with a person, instead of something that could be studied through some plain
theories. However, after I accidentally attended my first I-Program, Insight, in February
2015, my mind was completely changed. It was my first time participating in such an
open-minded program, in which people can freely discuss about race and ethnicity,
country and culture differences. The activities were very well designed, and through
which I realized that leadership ability includes many components. A lot of soft skills,
like communication and empathy, could be actually elevated or promoted through these
I-Programs. Therefore, with the desire to experience more, I registered for all the other I-
Programs for that semester, and eventually enrolled into the leadership certificate
program.
Now, to me, leadership means how to successfully incorporate all my soft skills
into the day-to-day communication with others, and to make myself a person pleasant to
work with. This will help me to accomplish my life goals of living a happy life, and being
remembered in a good way. I naturally enjoy adding value to other people and helping
them out. When I see others are happy because of me, I feel joy. If people feel they enjoy
working with me, both they and I will have a great working environment. Why not make
everybody, including yourself, happy when you have the ability to do so and it doesn’t
hurt anyone? I hope I can be remembered by others as someone that makes people’s lives
easier and happier.

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Two Significant Learning Goals
Enjoy Interpersonal Communication
I hope that after two years in the program, I could improve on my interpersonal
communication. Specifically I would like to improve on how comfortable I am talking to
strangers. It could be measured by how many minutes it takes me, after sitting down next
to someone I’ve never met before, to motivate myself to open my mouth.
Prior to attending all the I-Programs, I experienced a really hard time in my life. I
realized that I was so bad in terms of communicating with people that I would rather
remain silent when I was sitting or standing next to a stranger. It would be impossible for
me to chat with someone on the bus, in the library, or in the elevator. Language was one
of the reasons, but lack of courage and confidence was the key point. However, I
improved a lot over two years. Now, it probably takes me only half to three minutes to
decide to initiate a conversation with a stranger, depending on the situation. Now I no
longer feel nervous when I talk to others. Instead, I can just naturally talk to them and
discuss random issues. If I am lucky, I get myself a new friend. If I am not lucky, what do
I have to lose? The casual discussion activities during the I-Programs, my interpersonal
communication course, and my study abroad experience all encourage me to speak, and
shape me into a person that really enjoys communication. Through communication, I was
able to learn other people’s opinions, life experiences, and interesting stories.

From Pessimistic to Optimistic
I hope that after two years in the program, I could have more confidence in myself
and no longer view myself pessimistically. This is not so measurable comparing to the
prior goal, but I will be able to clearly sense if there is a difference.
As mentioned above, I used to have a very dark year in my underclassmen period.
I didn’t do anything that I could be proud of, and I couldn’t find any strength of myself. I
could easily view a “strength” as a weakness. For example, if someone said I was
adaptable to changing environments, what I thought of would be how unplanned and
undetermined I was. This pessimistic view was destroying my life. I felt miserable and
self-hatred every day.
Nevertheless, things changed. I gradually realized how behaviors impact
emotions. Now, if I don’t have anything to be proud of, then I would just go and do
something that makes me proud. If I still find a weakness in my strength, then I would
just go and fix that weakness. When I find out how capable I actually am though
activities like study abroad, case competitions, and leadership roles, I gain more
confidence. This confidence turn me into a good mood. This mood further motivates me
into doing more meaningful things. Everything now runs perfectly into a virtuous circle.

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Six Illinois Leadership Competencies
Competency Leadership Objective Evidence
Personal/Self Level
Self-Knowledge I would like to better I’ve tried on many things
understand myself, and I’ve never done before. For
learn more about my extent example, I went to study
and limits. I would like to abroad in Germany, a
properly understand my country whose prevalent
weaknesses and strengths. language isn’t something I
can speak fluently of. I also
become a president of a
registered student
organization. Taking this
position definitely push
myself into working
towards my greatest extent,
and train my skills in
balancing my classroom
work and out-of-classroom
work. Through doing these
unfamiliar things, I gained
more knowledge about
own abilities. I haven’t test
out what my limit is, but I
am looking forward to the
day I find out.

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Interpersonal/Team Level
Communication I would like to learn how I went to all the I-Programs
to communicate with other I could go. These programs
people better. I want to no were very encouraging
longer be nervous when I towards different opinions,
am facing a stranger. and there activities were
specifically designed to
help participants share their
experiences and values
with other people. I also
went to take a course in
interpersonal
communication to learn
more about guidelines and
principles in
communication. Some
theories were very
interesting and assisted me
to understand people’s
behaviors better. I am
currently taking a speech
hearing science course to
learn about children
communication.

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Organization Level
Change Management I would like to learn how I encourage myself to
to motivate a change in an express my opinion when I
organization, and how to think something in the
convince others about that organization can be done in
initiative and make it a better way, despite my
sustain in the long-term. own position. For example,
when my RSO was not
doing very well, I proposed
that we need to have
regular Executive Board
meetings and keep
everybody on the same
page. After I became
president, I keep that
regular meeting and, at the
time of transition, I will
make sure the next
president will keep it as
well. This process provides
me better understanding of
change management.
Diversity Advocacy Being an Asian female, I I really like diversity
am really interested in the discussions, so I attended
topic of diversity. I would programs like Insight, and
like to learn how others Diversity and Leadership
view diversity and also Summit. During these
educate myself more about programs I was able to
this topic. openly exchange ideas on
diversity with others that
were raised in another
culture. I also enjoy talking
to other exchange students
and listening to their
opinions when I was in
Germany. It was very
interesting learning about
different perspectives,
especially when someone
told you something you’ve
never heard of or thought
of before.

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Community/Society Level
Global Competence I want to learn more about As someone who is
the world, about how originally from Asia and is
different regions currently studying in
interrelated to each other. North America, I naturally
care about events and news
in these two continents.
After studying abroad in
Germany and visiting other
European countries, I also
pay attention to Europe.
Meanwhile, being a
member of the Investment
Management Academy, I
maintained subscription to
physical and digital copies
of newspapers, and I
gradually read more news
every day and learn how
the world dynamics is
changing.
Service Minded I want to add more value to I worked as a volunteer for
other people, and help Volunteer Income Tax
more people solve their Assistance (VITA) at the
problems. Champaign County in my
sophomore year, and
helped low-income people
save costs in filing their
taxes. I also communicated
with my clients daily
during my past internships
to help them solve
problems or better achieve
their goals. I also try hard
to accommodate more
students in the
opportunities my RSO
provides, so that more
people can take advantage
of our events and
programs. From these
experiences, I realize how
much I enjoyed adding
value to others.

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