Alumni Leading Our Community

  • Nate Hendrickson

    Director of Special Needs, TNT Kid’s Fitness and Gymnastics
    Health & Physical Education & Developmental Adapted Physical Education, 2007

    “MSUM helped me realize sometimes I am the painter and sometimes I am the painting. Leadership is similar; as the painter we influence and impact others. As the painting, we take in ideas and concepts to become a better leader.”

    What is leadership?

    Leadership comes in many forms and influences. We look at presidents, military generals, CEOs and other high-ranking members of society/organizations as our first go-to when asked about leadership. I absolutely agree those individuals are great leaders; however, great leaders came from somewhere and were influenced by many in their quest to be their best. At TNT we lay the foundation of many great leaders. Our mission is that “we believe every individual has the ability to unlock their potential through movement.” The potential we hope every individual unlocks is true acceptance and respect for the abilities they and those around them have. Leadership is the ability to share and influence through your strengths and seek assistance in your weaknesses. Learn to lead yourself, and in doing so, people will naturally look to you for leadership. Leading yourself includes taking care of your emotional/spiritual, cognitive, and physical health.

    What activities were you involved in at MSUM and how did they influence your career path?

    Being in Dragons 4 Wellness gave me my first understanding of professional advocacy. We learned a greater appreciation for our profession, and how to express ourselves to various groups to gain financial support to attend professional development opportunities. This lesson is true for any business; leadership needs things to take place, and employees/workers need things to carry it out.

    Serving on the Student Advisory Panel to the Dean of Education gave me insight as to what the college was looking at in regards to education and student experience.

    Was there a faculty/staff mentor who inspired you?

    There was a family of professors (Jan Adair, Nancy Christensen, Wendy Frappier) in the HPE Department that put me and others in a big ocean and allowed us to open our sails and set our own course. Guiding us along the way with gentle breezes or hurricane force winds to many destinations along the way, but ultimately our final destination was up to us. They taught me as a leader we must be able to catch the wind to go somewhere, but be able to take them down to keep from blowing off course. Brian Smith, Kevin Anderson and Ellen Brisch were other professors that stand out in my mind.

    How did your time at MSUM shape you to be the leader you are today?

    MSUM helped me realize sometimes I am the painter and sometimes I am the painting. Leadership is similar; as the painter we influence and impact others. As the painting, we take in ideas and concepts to become a better leader.

    What is failure?

    Failure is something you have not learned from. In everything we do we can say to ourselves, was it successful? From there, recreate what worked and correct the faults in an effort to move forward. Do not get overwhelmed with the lack of success, rather control what you can in an effort maximize success.

    What advice would you give someone striving to improve their leadership skills?

    You can only sit in the back row for so long. You either need to migrate to the front or risk being lost in the crowd.