News & Stories

Malik LeBlanc
October 26, 2020

Leading and Working on Campus While Designing a Career

After changing his major from engineering to business administration and management, Malik LeBlanc ’22 hit the ground running at the start of his freshman year. Coming in as a football player and Gate of Opportunity Scholar (a program that allows students to work year-round at Berry so they graduate with little to no debt), he quickly learned the importance of time management and work/life balance. By his sophomore year, Malik was stepping into leadership roles while taking an open-minded approach to planning his career.

Like all first-year students at Berry, Malik completed BCC 100, an introductory course that assists in the transition from high school to college. Through connections made in this class, he was offered a position with the Office of First Year Experience — coordinator of the First-Year Service Day (an annual tradition in which incoming freshmen and transfer students team up with a local community service organization). Having led the volunteer effort with the South Rome Community Garden, Malik says, “I had the opportunity to enhance my people skills and project management.”

Malik has contributed to the Berry community in other ways. He founded the campus organization Leaders Embodying Advancement through Diversity (L.E.A.D.) — a group that’s created a space for men of color to feel welcome, appreciated and heard while bringing about positive change on campus. Recognized for his commitment, he received the Rising Scholar Award from Lambda Sigma, a national sophomore honorary that fosters leadership, scholarship, fellowship and service among college students.

Paid professional development at Berry means students gain valuable experience on the job for eight semesters, and Malik has taken full advantage of these opportunities. The Center for Personal and Professional Development (CPPD) guides students as they navigate their personal and professional journey during college, build transferable skills and prepare for life after Berry. Malik took a career development course with the dean of CPPD and discovered new ways to think about his future, using The Designing Your Life Workbook: A Framework for Building a Life You Can Thrive In.

“The course taught me to be open-minded about my career,” he says. Malik learned that the average adult works 14 jobs and may change careers five to seven times. During the class, students engage in the “exploration phase” where they look at different career possibilities and reflect through the process. “Whether it’s horizontal or vertical promotions, it’s a process of finding the things you like,” Malik says. “We looked at over 20 occupations.” He learned that as a “people person” he is drawn to leadership and teamwork.

Through his on-campus positions, Malik continues to explore possible career paths. Currently, he is a student supervisor at the Cage Athletic and Recreation Center, where he is building traditional management skills. He also works with Berry’s marketing and communications department where he has received certification in Salesforce, the world’s leading customer relationship management. “I have developed skills from these jobs that will put me in a position to go down different career avenues,” says Malik.

Junior Mary Banks Shelander

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