Harvard Leader of the Week


This week, we spoke with Harvard Glee Club manager Billy Gardner about his experiences as a singer and a leader. Billy is a sophomore living in Dunster House and concentrating in Sociology. 

Why did you get involved with Glee Club?
As a singer, I came into Harvard my freshman fall knowing I wanted to be involved in music groups on campus. After going through different auditions processes, the Glee Club stood out to me as an organization dedicated to both musical excellence and personal membership development. Founded in 1858, the Glee Club has such a rich history of musical performance and I was so excited to be a part of that. Now, the Glee Club is an organization where its members have the chance to perform men’s choral music from across centuries in the U.S. and abroad, and as a completely student-run 501(c)3 non-profit it also offers its members the chance to develop valuable leadership skills in taking part in management of the chorus.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned at Harvard?
I think one of the most important things I’ve learned at Harvard is the value in investing in relationships with other people. Whether it be friends, classmates, TFs, or professors, Harvard is full of such amazing and talented people, and I think some of the most rewarding times I’ve had have been through cultivating relationships with people and learning from them. I would challenge my fellow classmates at Harvard to slow down and take the time to just talk with a friend, a classmate, a stranger in the dining hall, and engage them in a conversation about life, Harvard, or anything else. Having the opportunity to hear and learn from other perspectives has been one of the most transformative aspects of my time at Harvard.

Who do you model yourself after as a leader?
I’ve been blessed to know so many great leaders in my life who have taught, challenged, and guided me along the way. Their examples continue to inform and inspire the way I lead in my everyday life. Above all else, as a Christian I try to model myself and my actions after the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Practically for myself as a leader this means being authentic in my actions, being servant-oriented and outward focused, being bold and visionary in setting goals, focusing on investing in my team and empowering those around me, and being humble and forgiving towards others in my day-to-day life – qualities that I think many of the best leaders have embodied!

Who inspires you?
One group of people that continues to inspire me everyday are my friends and classmates here at Harvard. The people who make up this school are so amazing and passionate about their work and are making huge differences on this campus, this community, this nation, and all around the world. The example set forth by those around me continues to push me to work that much harder and give that much more effort toward the work that I do.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I hope to eventually go to grad school for Sociology/Public Policy, and in 10 years I would love to be working in some kind of policy/public service career. Through a career in public policy I want to contribute toward tackling some of the greatest social problems that face our nation and the world as a whole. No matter what career I ultimately end up in, I hope that I’ll still be involved in singing, volunteering, and investing in my community and the people around me.

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