Applicant Essay Reviews:

Thank you so much for your willingness to volunteer as an essay reviewer. Please review each essay below. There is a comment box below each answer. In each comment box, you need to include:

 

  1. Your score for each essay response (Scores 1-5)
  2. Your name

 

If you have any questions, please reach out to Wendy Frizzell at wendy@leadershiptyler.org. Thank you!

Displaying 1 - 7 of 7

Applicant Essay ResponsesEssay Repsonses

Entry ID

144

Essay Question 1: How do you define civic/community involvement? What civic/community volunteer experience do you expect to be involved in within the next five years?

I believe community and civic involvement means engaging in activities centered around advocating for the overall well-being of the community. This means helping in areas of need around the community or also advocating for maintaining the strong areas. There are various areas around the community that each need their own level of civic engagement including healthcare, education, economy, family life, environment, politics, etc. Civic and community engagement plays such a vastly important role in promoting the common good throughout the community. Pouring resources into community programs by volunteering or donating can be a great way to kickstart one’s own journey of civic engagement.
An organization that I have personal volunteer experience with is the Children’s Advocacy Center of Smith County, and I would love to continue to give back to their great cause. Their mission is to protect and restore the lives of abused children through team investigations, healing services, community outreach and strategic partnerships. I have had the privilege to witness their team carrying out their mission through volunteering at events and see firsthand how they can positively impact the lives of children who need it most and I will definitely hope to volunteer with their organization soon.

Essay Question 2: How do you expect to utilize your Leadership Tyler experience? What unique qualities will you bring to a Leadership Tyler class?

I intend to utilize my experience in Leadership Tyler to learn more about the community where I intend to raise my kids, and how I can best help serve the community to be the best for my children, friends, and colleagues. To add to that, I would also use this experience to become the best community member I can be for the Tyler area. I believe we already have an amazing community, and would love to get involved in what makes this community special and be a part of the great things that are happening here in Tyler.

The unique quality that I can bring to this Leadership Tyler group is a person with an extremely positive personality who is always smiling and eager to be a part of something great! I also receive great satisfaction in seeing others do well and succeed and will always be there to help serve my team members in any way that I can, I always enjoy learning new things and am extremely excited for an opportunity that is community driven!

Essay Question 3: What do you see as an opportunity for change in the Tyler/Smith County area? Why? How could you be personally engaged in this opportunity?

The biggest opportunity that I see for Tyler is within the healthcare field. Tyler is already a healthcare hub that sees many East Texans travel to Tyler for all of their healthcare needs. And rightfully so, because I see I have the privilege of seeing the amazing group of physicians and clinical staff who work here every single day at work. As Tyler grows as a healthcare hub, we continue to grow by with new types of specialty clinics to help meet the needs of East Texans, including the new medical school being built here in Tyler. However, I do still see opportunity for more growth here as there are often times we will have to transfer or refer patients Dallas healthcare facilities because a patient needs a certain treatment that is not currently offered in this area. As the largest healthcare hub for East Texas, I believe we can continue to grow our healthcare resources so that less patients will have to travel to larger cities to receive their healthcare.

Essay Question 4: Discuss a time when you felt pressure to compromise an element of your personal integrity. How did youhandle it?

As a side job, I work as Youth League umpire during baseball season. I have loved the sport over the years and wanted to continue to be around it in some capacity in my community. Recently, I was umpiring a game where I was familiar with the coaches and players for one of the teams. The game was very competitive, however at one point the emotions between two players went over the line to the point where they were in each other's face having a verbal and physical altercation between the two of them. After we were able to settle things down between the players, we held a discussion between us and the coaches. Since I knew the coaches of one the teams, he put pressure on me to not eject their player (he was their best player) after the exchange. But because of the threat of violence and words that were used by the player during the exchange, I knew that we had no choice but to not allow the player to continue the rest of the game. There is a zero-tolerance policy for that type of behavior in the league, and this was not a case where we can afford to take no course of action. The integrity of the game falls on me as an umpire, and I could not risk the possibility of the players having another exchange, and possibly have the situation become a lot worse.

Applicant Essay ResponsesEssay Repsonses

Entry ID

145

Essay Question 1: How do you define civic/community involvement? What civic/community volunteer experience do you expect to be involved in within the next five years?

Community involvement to me means being out there in the community where you feel you can give your all to. It has to be something that interests you and you feel is important to you.
In the next five years I hope to be involved more in my community especially in the entrepreneur aspect. Whether it be volunteering at schools or other non profits. I want to offer free my services to the community. Free workshops or things of that nature.

Essay Question 2: How do you expect to utilize your Leadership Tyler experience? What unique qualities will you bring to a Leadership Tyler class?

I hope to become a better leader to my team of tax and insurance professionals. I would like to learn to lead so that they also give back to the community by volunteer work or even do workshops.

I am a team player and I believe that is one of my unique qualities that I bring to this leadership class.

Essay Question 3: What do you see as an opportunity for change in the Tyler/Smith County area? Why? How could you be personally engaged in this opportunity?

A change that I would hope and love to see in our community is that we as a community work together for the better good. Seems as though many organizations are always competing against each other instead of working together.
I am currently a cofounder of a nonprofit and we are always striving to work with others to bring more information to our community.

Essay Question 4: Discuss a time when you felt pressure to compromise an element of your personal integrity. How did youhandle it?

This is a great question. In my line of work I am always pressured to compromise my integrety. My customers try to come in and tell me how to do my job. The way I handle those clients is to explain that is not how I do things and explain the reason why what they want me to do is not ethical. They can choose to stay with me or they can leave. No amount of money can make me lie or change information for them.

Applicant Essay ResponsesEssay Repsonses

Entry ID

147

Essay Question 1: How do you define civic/community involvement? What civic/community volunteer experience do you expect to be involved in within the next five years?

I define community involvement as doing anything to better the neighborhood & the people around you. It can be as complex & formal as serving on the local school board or as a city councilman, or as simple as smiling to a passerby or picking up garbage blowing down the sidewalk. I believe if you’re here, you’re involved. To what capacity & whether your involvement is positive or negative is up to you. I have an idea of the more formal involvement & volunteer experiences I would like to contribute to in the next five years, but I hope to be surprised by unexpected opportunities to serve as well. I am currently a member of Heart of Tyler, the only non-profit dedicated to Downtown Tyler, & I serve on the Downtown Economic Driver Committee coordinated by Tyler’s Main Street program. I hope to continue in these pursuits & find new ways to serve in each, perhaps as a Heart of Tyler board member. I’m interested in serving on a City of Tyler board or commission such as Planning & Zoning, & plan to investigate & pursue such an opportunity within the next 5 years. Again, I look forward to future unexpected opportunities to serve with others looking to contribute positively to Tyler. Of course I’ll do my best to keep up my informal involvement of smiles and windy trash collection as well.

Essay Question 2: How do you expect to utilize your Leadership Tyler experience? What unique qualities will you bring to a Leadership Tyler class?

I expect to utilize my Leadership Tyler experience by deepening my understanding of opportunities to impact my city. Through connecting with others that have a shared desire to enact positive change, I hope to be a more effective volunteer, leader, and engaged citizen by absorbing the information and training offered by the Core Program. Whatever I may be called upon to be or whatever role I may be asked to play, I hope to continue to impact my immediate downtown community as it continues to revitalize and grow. As more housing is built and more residents enter downtown, I hope to be a welcoming ambassador and proud representative of our downtown Tyler neighborhood. Unique qualities I would bring to a Leadership Tyler class are curiosity and empathy. I truly enjoy learning about others and what makes them different and special. Empathy, to me, goes beyond simply connecting with someone’s feelings, but attempting to understand their reasoning, why they feel this way, and what circumstances led them to feel like they do. I believe one of the strongest desires we have as humans is to feel known. When we feel known, we feel safe enough to be vulnerable and open to new possibilities, new people, and new ideas. All valuable qualities in any group attempting to better their community.

Essay Question 3: What do you see as an opportunity for change in the Tyler/Smith County area? Why? How could you be personally engaged in this opportunity?

I believe we have strong opportunities to make changes in our transportation options and land use restrictions in Tyler. Younger generations are increasingly declining to pursue their driver’s license. They prefer public transportation, rideshare, or other modes of transportation such as walking, biking, or scooters. Tyler’s walkability is considered low, meaning a car is a necessity to function in our community. Our land use restrictions within the development code make it difficult to build in-fill or dense housing options in the city. With the price of home ownership beyond the reach of many young adults, various rental options are needed to meet the need. A young population can keep a city economically productive and attractive to investment. By catering to the transportation and housing needs of younger generations, we can bolster the economic stability of Tyler.
I can engage this opportunity by applying for and serving on either the Planning & Zoning commission or the Traffic Safety Board. As a professional, I can also raise awareness and invest in projects that highlight these potentials. As a citizen, I can participate in discussions to highlight the positives of enacting these changes in our community.

Essay Question 4: Discuss a time when you felt pressure to compromise an element of your personal integrity. How did youhandle it?

​I grew up in the rodeo world. My sport was calf roping. My grandfather and father both roped before me. My father was very talented, winning many buckles and cash prizes throughout his career. I wanted to be just like him. One summer, I entered a rodeo and competed for a buckle. Buckles weren’t always offered, so this was special. A friend of mine entered the same rodeo. I’ll spare all the technical details of the sport, but suffice to say he discovered a loophole in the planning of the calf roping event that allowed him to make his run in a non-traditional way. While not technically against the rules, it was definitely a stretch and outside the spirit of competition. He made his run and recorded a time that could not be matched with a traditional attempt. Dad and I discussed my run and asked if we should do the same thing in order to remain competitive. We ultimately decided that that wasn’t how we practiced or how we wanted to carry ourselves. That day, I made one of the best runs I ever made at a rodeo, and came in second to my friend. While disappointed to not win a buckle and build on the legacy of my family in the sport, I believe I made my father more proud by prioritizing my personal character over winning.

Applicant Essay ResponsesEssay Repsonses

Entry ID

152

Essay Question 1: How do you define civic/community involvement? What civic/community volunteer experience do you expect to be involved in within the next five years?

My perspective on civic or community involvement is proactive. It entails addressing community issues through active collaboration, volunteering, and financial contributions. I aim to foster community growth by directing my efforts toward economic development, business retention, and expansion. But I don't do this alone. I achieve these goals by forging new partnerships and nurturing existing alliances, recognizing the value of collective effort in community advancement.

Essay Question 2: How do you expect to utilize your Leadership Tyler experience? What unique qualities will you bring to a Leadership Tyler class?

As I embark on my Leadership Tyler experience, I am committed to building bridges and relationships that will positively impact our community. I bring with me a collaborative and open spirit, along with a tenacity and eagerness to learn that are the driving forces behind my actions. I am dedicated to sharing these traits to inspire a dynamic and infectious passion for our community among others.

Essay Question 3: What do you see as an opportunity for change in the Tyler/Smith County area? Why? How could you be personally engaged in this opportunity?

Tyler, a community with great potential, has recently been recognized by USA Today as the #1 city to live in Texas. This exciting news opens up a unique opportunity for all of us, new and existing members, to engage with our community through collaboration and innovation. This is a time filled with hope and optimism, a perfect moment to foster inclusion and embrace diversity in all aspects of our community. Together, we can enhance our area's quality of life and revitalization. Let's use this opportunity to think outside the box and shape our community's future.

Essay Question 4: Discuss a time when you felt pressure to compromise an element of your personal integrity. How did youhandle it?

As an accountant, I discovered a documentation issue that needed immediate attention in our organization. Upon bringing this to the leadership's attention, I was informed that despite the inaccuracy, everyone was using the same information. Rather than submitting my documentation with these inaccuracies, I thoroughly reviewed our policy and procedure for updating information. While the policy was comprehensive, I felt the need for additional confirmation, leading me to seek the recommendations of a more experienced colleague. I was resolute in my decision not to compromise and after rectifying the information, I submitted the document accurately, thereby demonstrating my unwavering commitment to upholding integrity.

Applicant Essay ResponsesEssay Repsonses

Entry ID

153

Essay Question 1: How do you define civic/community involvement? What civic/community volunteer experience do you expect to be involved in within the next five years?

To me, community involvement starts with each person’s heart. It’s essential to have a genuine love for the organization, your community, and a vision for how your participation impacts the well-being and development of the place you’re contributing to. Community involvement can take many forms: volunteerism, fundraising, mentorship, advocacy, and more.

I lived in Tyler for a year and a half before committing to any local non-profits. I prayed fervently to ensure I was choosing the right path, one where I had the passion and conviction to contribute meaningfully. I love that Tyler has countless philanthropic options - it's one of the things I love most about our town. Currently, I serve on the finance committee for the Women’s Fund and am a Woman of Hope at the Children’s Advocacy Center. My goal is to continue and deepen my involvement with these organizations, both in time and financial commitment. I also strive to keep an open heart and mind to new opportunities that may arise, not just now, but five years from now and throughout my life in Tyler.

Essay Question 2: How do you expect to utilize your Leadership Tyler experience? What unique qualities will you bring to a Leadership Tyler class?

As a business owner, it is essential for my business to give back and contribute to Tyler. I am deeply grateful to Tyler, Texas, for welcoming my business into the community, and I can't imagine just "taking" without giving back. However, because my business is such a significant part of my life, I haven't been able to fully learn the "nuts and bolts" of Tyler. I'm eager to know more so that I can understand how to use my talents to contribute meaningfully.

Before opening my business, I was a financial advisor at Edward Jones, where I had numerous leadership opportunities within my region. These experiences included various classes and educational opportunities on effective leadership. I see Leadership Tyler as the next level in my leadership development. I believe the insights I've gained from my past career will be valuable in the Leadership Tyler classes.

Being a business owner requires strong leadership qualities. Leading my business, staff, and clients involves making quick decisions and ensuring the "ship" is always headed in the right direction. Having conviction in making difficult decisions and maintaining confidence are essential leadership traits.

Essay Question 3: What do you see as an opportunity for change in the Tyler/Smith County area? Why? How could you be personally engaged in this opportunity?

I am a graduate of the University of Texas at Tyler and lived in Tyler for three years following my graduation. After spending ten years in Fort Worth, I returned to Tyler two years ago. While I don't yet have specific suggestions for change in Tyler, I am dedicated to learning everything about this community. I am confident that, with more time and through my participation in Leadership Tyler, I will identify opportunities for improvement and be able to express informed opinions.

Preserving the unique culture of our city is crucial to me, especially as it faces challenges from the influx of new residents. I am fortunate that my maternal side of the family has always lived in East Texas, with my grandparents, Norman and Barbara Shtofman, being involved in the community for decades. Although I did not grow up in Tyler, I have always admired its beauty and the way it serves others. I am committed to doing my part to preserve this special community.

Essay Question 4: Discuss a time when you felt pressure to compromise an element of your personal integrity. How did youhandle it?

As a financial advisor, I often encounter situations where I must choose between different financial solutions for my clients. Each product comes with its own compensation structure, and it can be tempting to recommend those with higher commissions, especially when considering my monthly production targets.

In these moments, I lean on my faith and ask God to realign my heart. I firmly believe that the condition of my heart directly impacts my integrity and self-worth in the long run. No short-term gain is worth compromising my long-term reputation, both on earth and in heaven.

Applicant Essay ResponsesEssay Repsonses

Entry ID

157

Essay Question 1: How do you define civic/community involvement? What civic/community volunteer experience do you expect to be involved in within the next five years?

To me, Civic/Community involvement means identifying concerns in our community and working together to find solutions.

I am a firm believer in quality versus quantity. In the next 5 years, I will still be on the Board with Mosaic Counseling of East Texas. God willing, I will be a graduate of Leadership Tyler, and I will be on the lookout for one more Board to serve on. I like to be a very involved Board Member, so when I commit, I like to be sure I am not overextending myself and that I don't put an organization in a bad position.

Essay Question 2: How do you expect to utilize your Leadership Tyler experience? What unique qualities will you bring to a Leadership Tyler class?

I plan to utilize my Leadership Tyler experience to be a better Tylerite and share the knowledge I gain with others. I have lived here my entire life and want to be involved in more depth with the roots of my hometown. My unique quality is that I can assess a situation in multiple points of view. My analyzation of a situation is often requested, and appreciated.

Essay Question 3: What do you see as an opportunity for change in the Tyler/Smith County area? Why? How could you be personally engaged in this opportunity?

An opportunity for change in Tyler/Smith County is a financial literacy class for high school students. Most adults I help don't know about proper credit behavior, budgeting, and consequences to impulsive purchases until it's too late. Relying on parents to teach their kids is not enough when most adults haven't mastered this themselves. Financial education is extremely necessary, especially in this economy. I would be personally engaged by building or being a part of a committee with Financial Advisors and CPAs, and asking Smith County High schools to allow us to present to their seniors.

Essay Question 4: Discuss a time when you felt pressure to compromise an element of your personal integrity. How did youhandle it?

A time that I know my personal integrity was compromised was when I met one my role models. As a young girl in my early 20's, my perception of a successful person was one who was well-known, was heavily involved in the community, and carried themselves with poise and dignity. Years later, I had the honor to work alongside my role model, but as I got to know him/her better and became more involved in day to day operations, I realized that there were some unethical things being done. I found myself in a predicament, but knew I had to speak up. While I was not successful in bringing this to light, I know I did well in attempting to address this directly with my role model. Our engagement ended after our conversation unbeknownst to me, and to me, that was confirmation that my suspicions were accurate.

Applicant Essay ResponsesEssay Repsonses

Entry ID

158

Essay Question 1: How do you define civic/community involvement? What civic/community volunteer experience do you expect to be involved in within the next five years?

When considering the term “Civic/Community Involvement”, to me it means “having a heart and desire to make a difference”. Any individual can read the definition of a term and complete the actions to match it, but what good does it provide if their heart is not in it? A heart to make a change in one’s community, organization, or any setting of placement can be seen through any and every interaction they have with those around them. This heart requires patience, understanding, and being able to carry out the processes needed along with the strive to make the “desired” change. Within the next 5 years I expect to increase my reach in the development of the youth and young adults in our community in hopes to help guide them personally, professionally, and financially. I will devote my passion, time, and energy toward programs that will enable youth to achieve success, regardless of their background, and teach them that a successful career begins with a solid foundation, as well as a heart and desire to grow as a person.

Essay Question 2: How do you expect to utilize your Leadership Tyler experience? What unique qualities will you bring to a Leadership Tyler class?

By being a part of Leadership Tyler, I expect to learn and perfect essential skills that will help me grow into a better individual not for me, but for my community. Whether it be on my job, through common encounters, or even with the hopes of founding my own organization in the future, I am confident that Leadership Tyler will allow me to gain new and grow current relationships in my life. With these relationships, I hope to increase my exposure to our community and touch anyone and everyone in need. Along with the quality of a caring, helping heart, I strive to live my life by remembering to "be open". Being open allows me to see things for what they could be rather than what they are. It allows me to respect others' opinions, even when I may not agree, while allowing the opportunity to gain understanding even when I may not be able to relate. I have a passion to help anyone, regardless of how large or small the extent. I expect to express this passion with my Leadership Tyler class by offering a smile, a listening ear, my time, and even the mental energy that might be needed despite the setting. I love to love, even when it’s not easy to do so.

Essay Question 3: What do you see as an opportunity for change in the Tyler/Smith County area? Why? How could you be personally engaged in this opportunity?

Influence on today's youth can come in numerous forms, regardless of its origin. Unfortunately, not all influences are positive. I've noticed a lack of exposure to successful individuals from the same backgrounds, cities, or even communities of many of our youth. When youth see success from backgrounds like theirs, they can more easily envision success for themselves. This exposure to success, not based on wealth but by the success of their chosen occupation, is important for many reasons.

As a graduate of Tyler ISD, I’ve watched many of my peers become successful and leave our city. Not only because of better paying job opportunities, but also because of the lack of entertainment to sustain them. An opportunity for change in our area would be the creation of a program, rounding in diversity, that centers around youth and young adults. One whose mission is to capture and keep their attention and ideas to insure they feel they matter and are heard while focusing on teaching the value of professionalism, finances and overall appearance during a career search. I want to engage in this opportunity to influence local youth by advocating for school visits, youth summits, and hopefully one day creating my own youth program focused on “reaching” and “keeping“ the youth in our community.

Essay Question 4: Discuss a time when you felt pressure to compromise an element of your personal integrity. How did youhandle it?

Coming from a well-respected family, I was always taught “a good name is better than riches". As a human being, my integrity is pressured every day in both big and small ways. From my job working at the bank, to simply riding down the street in the car, the pressure to compromise one's integrity can always be expected.

There was an instance a couple of years ago where I was driving my brother’s truck and bumped someone’s parked car in a parking lot. His truck was a bit lifted, so only the wheel rubbed against the car’s front bumper as I was turning into a parking row. It was pouring rain outside and I honestly couldn’t even tell where it rubbed due to the car having many marks all over it already, but I still decided to leave my name and phone number in case there were any issues. I could have easily said “no one will even notice” and kept going, but couldn’t compromise my integrity even in that moment.

God has granted me with a heart of soil that will not allow any seed of dishonesty to grow. I intend to be a man of integrity with everyone I encounter, and I expect other individuals in my life to be the same. I have learned that individuals lacking integrity are not trustworthy and, therefore, not individuals that I want to associate with.