The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.

Norse up with NLS: an organization calling all leaders

NLS is the Norse Leadership Society at NKU

October 31, 2021

Fall+Retreat+2019.+Left+to+right%3A+Kate+Goller%2C+Orla+Fitzsimmons%2C+Lauren+Mohr%2C+Grant+Warren

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Fall Retreat 2019. Left to right: Kate Goller, Orla Fitzsimmons, Lauren Mohr, Grant Warren

“I think that NLS (Norse Leadership Society) serves not only the community, but the leaders that it empowers through personal development,” said Grant Warren, a senior social work major at NKU. 

Warren has been actively involved with NLS for two years as he is the organization’s vice president of external relations and runs the organization’s social media pages, trying to ensure members of the NKU community are aware of the leadership opportunities NLS provides. 

NLS is one of the three organizations within the Northern Kentucky Leadership Institute — the only dedicated collegiate leadership institute within the tri-state area — with the other two organizations being Freshmen Service Leadership Committee and Leadership Mentors. NKLI was founded in 2001 and has served the NKU community with opportunities for better leadership improvement through community service, retreats and workshops. 

Warren said he wanted to join NLS to expand his leadership experiences outside of the many positions he has held throughout campus. Warren is currently a member of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity and was a head orientation leader in 2020-2021.

It was NLS’s annual fall retreat — a three to four day long personal and professional leadership development retreat that took place in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee pre-COVID — that made Orla Fitzsimmons, a senior sociology and history major decide to give NLS a shot. 

This year’s fall retreat will take place in Indiana Nov. 19-21, where NKU faculty, staff, community leaders and alumni will facilitate various workshops and learning techniques on how to expand leadership skills. 

Fitzsimmons has now been with NLS for two years, first serving on the executive board as secretary and now fulfilling her duties as president of NLS. 

“I met a lot of people there [at the Fall 2019 retreat] that were already part of the organization and they all really inspired me to push myself out of my comfort zone and get involved on campus,” Fitzsimmons said. “I thought NLS would be a good place to start, as I wanted the opportunity to help other people grow in the same way I did.” 

NKU and NLS alumni Kate Goller said her interest in NLS stemmed from knowing people already in the organization, similar to Fitzsimmon’s first experience with the organization. 

Goller served as vice president of membership and internal affairs throughout her three years in NLS beginning in 2018. Goller also played a huge role in recruitment within the organization and retreats. 

“What I loved most about my positions in NLS was sitting back and watching everyone interact with each other in meaningful conversation and just having fun while building each other up,” Goller said. 

Fitzsimmons said her favorite part of her role as NLS president is the people she gets to interact with. 

“Every NLS alumni that I have met has made a lasting impact on me, and I have gained loads of really good, lifelong friends from the organization,” Fitzsimmons said. “I also love seeing how people change and grow after joining the organization. Even with our new members that only started in the spring, I can already see them gaining a lot and I’m really proud of them.”

Fitzsimmons said that she hopes those surrounding her throughout NLS see the true uniqueness of being a leader. 

“I hope they are able to see that there is more to being a leader than what is on the surface … I hope they are all able to see that everyone brings something different to the table,” Fitzsimmons said. 

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