College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Pollard Talks Leadership at November imPROVE you Program

Originally published by Jaren Bergman, senior in graphic design and imPROVE you’s student employee


“Leadership takes courage, compassion and empathy.” -Jamie Pollard

The College of Engineering’s imPROVE you program welcomed ISU’s athletic director Jamie Pollard at its November event to discuss leadership.

Pollard’s college career included track and field and a major in accounting at UW-Oshkosh. After he worked in the accounting field and for various other athletics programs, Pollard landed at Iowa State. He says he had to understand who he was as a person to get to where he is today.

pollard3“There are leaders and there are followers,” said Pollard. “The world needs both.” He went on to explain that great leaders know how to inspire followers.

Pollard encouraged members in the group to look to themselves, noting personal success comes with finding something you are good at and inspires passion.

He found his own passions and strengths lie in leadership. Pollard highly suggests using the book Strength’s Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath, as a tool to discover your strengths and personal attributes. He says that whether you are a leader or a follower you should strive to become the best you can be while inspiring others.

pollardPollard’s personal tips for success include:

  1. Integrity – you get one chance to lose this.
  2. Responsiveness – take care of the things you need to take care of and communicate with others.
  3. Keep your word – promise effort but do not guarantee things you cannot keep your word on.
  4. Avoid gossip – stay out of it because gossipers will not rise up.
  5. Be thankful – it’s the little things; hand written notes and simple gestures go a long way.

About imPROVE you

Over the course of a year, mentors and mentees in the College of Engineering’s imPROVE you program attend formal programming as well as individual mentoring sessions to help participants grow both personally and professionally. The program offers training sessions for mentors, a social/networking event and graduation celebration for all participants.

The ability to grow and sustain this program is possible due to the support from the college’s leadership and engagement of staff members. If you would like more information about the program, please contact Stacy Kilstofte with engineering human resources at