Doster leadership event launches new traditions

For one weekend every two years since 1999, the top 100 undergraduate students from the Krannert School have joined together in Indianapolis to enhance their leadership skills while networking with top company recruiters.

The Doster Leadership Conference (DLC), formerly the Barbara G. Doster Leadership Forum (BGDLF), is a biennial event with a potentially lifelong impact.

“In addition to the leadership focus, companies have the opportunity to do high-level, engaged recruiting of the best talent from Krannert,” says John Ertl, a senior majoring in management. “Nine out of the last 13 hires made by one of our regular sponsors, for example, were Krannert students who attended this conference.”

Ertl was one of two executive directors for this year’s event, along with Krannert sophomore Amanda Short. More than 170 students applied to attend the 2013 conference; attendees were chosen based on GPA, prior leadership and internship experience, and how well they met Krannert’s educational goals of analytical insight and global leadership.

“The DLC complements Krannert’s new Launching Business Leaders initiative for undergraduates,” Short says. “Over the course of the weekend students have the opportunity to obtain and fine-tune soft skills such as networking and teambuilding.

“Placing company representatives within the student teams catalyzes the learning experience. They not only serve as mentors, but also are enthusiastic participants.”

Doster Conference

The biennial Doster Leadership Conference offers a weekend of team-building, networking and professional development to Krannert's top 100 undergraduates. (Photo provided)

A copy of Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success by Purdue alumni and UCLA basketball coach John Wooden was given to all participants and served as the conference theme. Students also heard an inspirational keynote speech from former Indianapolis Colts player Shawn Harper.

“He spoke about dreams, challenging yourself and finding solutions to everyday problems. He got everybody pumped up for the weekend,” Ertl says.

In addition to speakers, the event included team-building activities, leadership exercises, a dining etiquette presentation, an informal reception with company representatives and a career fair.

The Krannert School Alumni Association (KSAA) also supports the conference, this year raising $10,000 with five members in attendance. Gary Naab (BSIM ’67), a 17-year KSAA board member, has attended each of the eight Doster events.

"With an outstanding track record and extremely positive feedback from both the attending students and sponsors, the Doster Leadership Conference has become a remarkable off-campus Krannert event,” says Naab. “It continues to deserve the commitment of time, talent, and treasury of alumni and corporate sponsors alike."