Buck Rodgers Leadership Program and Management Dept - a Match Made in FSB Heaven

October 2013

For nearly two years, the Buck Rodgers Leadership Program and the Management Department have teamed up to offer members more opportunities to gain leadership experience and education.

The Buck Rodgers Leadership Program (BRLP) was founded 15 years ago with the help of Mr. Buck Rodgers, the former Vice President of Sales and Marketing at IBM. The program offers its members cutting edge leadership development workshops, monthly membership meetings that focus on the development of essential leadership capabilities (such as strategic planning, innovation, team leadership), and opportunities to meet and network with visiting business leaders. The goal is to help them discover what effective leadership looks like for each of them, and help them understand how they can have the greatest impact with their leadership as they move into jobs and careers.

Each member of the BRLP is required to attend at least 5 leadership development experiences each semester, and that number is pretty strict, said Megan Gerhardt, the director of the program. Along with the requirements, senior members are asked to become "highly visible members," to become role models to their peers and to leave the program better than they found it. They also have opportunities to become "student directors" of the program.

When Megan took over the position of director in 2011, a partnership with the Management Department seemed like a no-brainer to her. "For there to be no alignment with the Management program seemed odd to me," she said.

Megan made a lot of changes that first year, but she attributes much of the transformation to her students' vision. She sat down with her student directors to brainstorm about how they could change the program for the better. "They asked themselves and each other the important questions: What did they want out of it? What is the vision of the program?" she said. "I found that the leadership techniques I had been teaching in my seminars applied here—you have to empower people and give them ownership of the projects they are working on. Then you will see the changes that need to be made."

One aspect of the partnership is the opening of an upper-level leadership course to members of the program. Before, this course was only available to those students majoring in Management and Leadership. "I didn't think we could have a leadership program without requiring a leadership class," said Megan, who, along with serving as director, also teaches the course. "Leadership isn't all an academic exercise, but there is 70 years of research that students should at least be aware of. All Buck students take our upper-level leadership course as part of their program requirements, and the management department accommodates this by making space in those classes for Buck students."

"The Management Department is invested in the academic side of leadership development within the FSB," Megan said, "so it makes so much sense for our student business leadership program to be aligned and partnered with the Management Department."

For more information on the Buck Rodgers Leadership Program, please visit their website at or contact Megan Gerhardt at For information about the Management Department, please visit the website at or contact Byron Finch at