Wes Breeden, a vice president for Association Member Benefits Advisors, led and motivated a group of student leaders to recharter the Pi Kappa Phi chapter at Northwestern State University in record time back in 2000. In the last decade, he has mentored countless emerging leaders, guiding students through lessons not taught in the classroom.
Breeden is now micro-blogging his words of wisdom in short, 140-character posts on Twitter. He got the idea while serving as a facilitator at Pi Kapp College, the Fraternity’s emerging leaders institute in 2011. The annual six-day conference is a transformational, leadership development experience that empowers participants to create the ideal chapter. He says the tweets are a continuation of the conversations begun at Pi Kapp College. “Sometimes I am amazed at how far that message can be spread with one click of my send button. Everyone needs an accountability buddy in life and that is what I hope my tweets have become.” 2014 will be the fourth year Breeden has volunteered as a faculty member at Pi Kapp College, held at the University of South Carolina.
As a business executive in the insurance industry, Breeden is responsible for motivating and managing dozens of colleagues. His says his current style of leading others was tested and developed during his time in the Fraternity. “Daily I run into problems, inside and outside of work, that resembles something I struggled with or got completely wrong while I was active in the chapter,” he said. “When I think about how to react to my current problem, I think back my Northwestern State days and draw from that experience. I know that if I am still using that Pi Kapp lesson today, then it is probably something that one of our younger brothers could likely use. To me, that’s what being a brother is all about.”
His Twitter posts range from inspirational quotes about life’s journeys, to thought-provoking questions about leading fellow students. For example: “Did what U do today get you closer 2 who you want to be tomorrow? Sleep on that and hopefully you’ll get another crack at it tomorrow.”
The impact of Breeden’s posts is far-reaching. Students from Pi Kappa Phi’s more-than 175 chapters engage in conversations and re-tweet his thoughts on a daily basis. “It’s pretty neat to see our young brothers from around the country engaging in my sometimes difficult questions or thoughts, then passing my message off to a brother or chapter I have never met.”
He says he hopes to underscore the idea that one person can make a difference and motivate them to take action. “We often spend so much time trying to develop our students in a group setting that we never really develop the individual. This type of pack training often leads the student to think that someone else in the group can get the job done. In in most cases nothing ever happens.”
Living more than four hours from Northwestern State University, Twitter also gives Breeden the opportunity to stay connected to chapter members in-between visits to Natchitoches. “Giving some advice to our active members or just something to think about, hopefully gives some encouragement to those young members who are looking to create positive change. It only takes up a few moments of my time.” He says alumni involvement was a key part of his success as a student leader.
Wes invites anyone to join in the conversation and offer their own thoughts. You can follow him and read more posts on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/WesThePiKapp .