Caroline Cronin, BS'17: Everyday Leadership Can Be Effortless

An accomplished student leader at the Kelley School of Business, Caroline Cronin was recognized in Poets and Quants Best and Brightest Business Majors of the Class of 2017. Here, Caroline reflects on the leadership lessons she learned in her four years at Kelley.

Caroline Cronin, BS'17
For anyone unfamiliar with Drew Dudley’s TED talk on Everyday Leadership, I highly recommend investing the 6 minutes and 14 seconds for a bit (read: a lot) of inspiration. In the talk, Drew introduces the concept of “lollipop moments,” moments in your life when, simply by being yourself, you change someone’s life for the better without even realizing it. In his case, that moment was when he gave a lollipop to a terrified freshman on her first day at college. In my case, I was the recipient of a lollipop moment four years ago when I attended Direct Admit Day at the Kelley School of Business.

I walked into the IU Auditorium, feeling pretty small in a sea of hundreds of prospective students, and I was greeted by the ever-enthusiastic Megan Ray, Associate Director of the Kelley Undergraduate Program, with a warm hug and the biggest smile. This moment, so natural for her, told me that I was wanted, welcomed, and valued at Kelley—and this feeling has only been affirmed over the last four years. Kelley is a place that fosters the growth of servant leaders, an environment for which I will be forever grateful.

My dad always tells me to find the balance between confidence and humility, to know that you are never superior to anyone else in the room, but also that no one in the room is superior to you. I think it took me these last four years at Kelley to really understand what he means.

While at Kelley, I experienced both boosts in my confidence and reminders to stay humble, from being declined admission to the Women in Business club to being accepted as a member of the Consulting Workshop. This balance between confidence and humility is a trait I see reflected time and time again in my peers and fellow graduates at Kelley.

What I learned at Kelley, beyond the classroom, is that leadership doesn’t have to be a daunting, world-changing act. It can be simple and effortless—leading by example, living our lives in ways that make us role models for the students around us even if we never realize it. Leading, in short, through lollipop moments.

Caroline Cronin, BS’17, majored in marketing and operations management with a minor in Spanish. She works on the advisory consultant program staff at EY in Chicago.

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