Brendan Finnegan recently represented Seton Hall at the McDonald Cadet Leadership Conference. Held at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, the conference brought together top student leaders from across the globe to participate in team-based, experiential and analytical exercises. The program is designed to bolster leadership skills, foster critical thinking and collaboration and to develop strategies for addressing pressing global issues.
Student leaders at the four-day conference attended panel sessions and met in small groups with Senior Fellows, who are successful figures from many sectors, and included former White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and former Howard University President H. Patrick Swygert. Although each panel was different, all focused on the central theme of "Leading with Character in a Technology-Driven World."
From left Lisa Shallet, retired partner at Goldman Sachs and Brendan Finnegan.
Finnegan said he enjoyed the time spent with his small group and dialoguing with the Senior Fellows, stating that the Fellows were always very interested in what each group member had to say. "This showed me that a key to being successful no matter the path I take in life is remaining intellectually curious in all things to make myself more well-rounded" Finnegan said.
Finnegan, a junior finance, IT and management major in the Stillman School of Business, saw Alibaba CEO Jack Ma and Google Cloud CEO Brian Stevens address the cohort of student leaders. Ma and Stevens discussed the importance of leading with character in the technology sector.
Finnegan noted that both speakers were "phenomenal" and that the weekend itself was "amazing" and ranked as one of his "top experiences at Seton Hall."
Finnegan, who works as a research assistant in the Department of Management, is a member of the top-ranked Gerald P. Buccino '63 Center for Leadership Development in the Stillman School of Business, and a center within the Buccino Leadership Institute.
Finnegan took Buccino Institute challenge coins to share with Fellows and other attendees of the conference. Challenge coins, which are based on a military tradition, are a token of honor given to members of the Institute and individuals the Institute would like to give special recognition. Finnegan said the challenge coins he gave to different Senior Fellows were well-received. Bob McDonald, former Secretary of Veterans Affairs and retired chairman of Procter & Gamble, welcomed Finnegan's gift and said he would keep the coin in a special place. When Finnegan gave a challenge coin to Surgeon General of the Army Nadja West, West gave Finnegan a coin in return. "That coin will be a tremendous reminder of this conference and the great people I met."
"I would like to thank the leadership of the Buccino Institute and Provost Karen Boroff for the experience," said Finnegan. "The lessons I learned and the connections I made will last a lifetime."