Perspectives of Leadership: Brent Bilodeau

Posted on June 11th, 2012 in Perspectives on Leadership by John Jensen

Happy Monday,

I hope you all enjoyed your weekend.  In the short amount of time since our last blog post I have found countless things to write about for this blog over the upcoming weeks.  Before reading this post please check out Friday’s post and give us your feedback about the quotes that are included in the post.  On with today’s post!

Last Friday I had the privilege to sit down with Dr. Brent Bilodeau.  Brent is the Assistant Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs here at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.  Brent is also the advisor for SUFAC (Segregated University Fee Allocation Committee.)  Brent was kind enough to share with us his perspectives on leadership.

“I think leadership is about everyone.  And when I think about Whitewater, I think that this is the kind of environment where our desire is to promote every person seeing themselves as an individual who has the ability to exercise leadership wherever they are.”  Brent went on to explain that leadership means “being empowered, to be effective, to feel like they have choice and decisions about what is best for them.”

I asked Brent about his thoughts on servant leadership and what it means to be a servant leader.  “I think that it is a powerfully transformative way of being, because those who are able to demonstrate it have the ability to truly make others the center of their work.”  Brent says that servant leaders are people “who really get that it really isn’t about drawing attention to myself, my aspirations, my xyz, or making myself look good.  But it really is about this notion of what can I do in terms of service that will support and empower others.”  Brent said that servant leaders have certain types of characteristics including; “humility, kindness, compassion, being empowerment oriented, being holistically oriented.”  He says servant leaders “provide vision, provide direction, and provide framework.”

When I asked Brent about the relationship between a leader and a follower he explained it as being “two sides of the same coin.  If we’re talking about just those two dimensions of leadership, a leader needs to be able to exercise both.  It is the ability to step in an out of those roles as required.”

As usual, I wanted to find out ways that a student could immediately begin being a leader, to which Brent said “Success on campus, in life, and in job has to do with realizing that we all have the ability to exercise leadership wherever we are.  In Whitewater leadership is so much more than a position.  It’s not just a role, it’s a way of being, behaving, and acting.  It applies to you whether you are in the classroom, in a family, or in a formal leadership role.”

For any incoming first year students, Brent (and I) strongly recommend the ULEAD program.  Brent says “ULEAD is an excellent program for building skills, because it includes elements of self-exploration.  They are given opportunities to think about who they are and their lives in a broader context.


I would like to thank Brent Bilodeau again for allowing me to interview him.  Brent is always a wealth of knowledge and I always enjoy my chances to speak with him.

Until tomorrow,

John Jensen

“Half-heartedness never won a battle.” -William McKinley

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