MLDP Recap: 2013 Winter Kick-off Session with Darin Eich

Read a student's account of our most recent session in our Management Leadership and Development program below. For more information about MLDP, click here.

The Rockefeller Center’s Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP) kicked off the New Year and a new academic term with a bang by completing its first session on Tuesday. After dinner, Rockefeller Center staff introductions, and a quick program orientation, guest speaker Darin Eich assumed control of the night. Eich possesses a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Wisconsin and is the author of Root Down and Branch Out: Best Practices for Leadership Development Programs.  You can visit his website at

During the introductory session, Eich encouraged students to start practicing networking and collaborating with each other, both skills he believes to be essential. Eich shared the belief that people best retain information through a combination of “saying and doing” and provided supporting research. He then circled everyone around the room so they could introduce themselves before breaking students up into small groups. Each group had to work through a series of simple activities designed to exercise their own innovative capacity and reinforce the fact that everyone has creativity. To further encourage innovation and solutions, the freedom to express ideas while in collaboration with others must be established.

One activity involved students practicing their ability to give an “elevator speech.” Students were paired up and given two minutes to tell one another about their interests, their goals, and how they planned to achieve them. It offered students an additional chance to network and talk with whom they may not have had a chance.
Overall, Darin Eich’s interactive and engaging approach emphasized students’ understanding of the material and encouraged greater group facilitation and collaboration. A core value of MLDP is that the participants are the program’s most valuable asset – students within the program will continue to learn from each other just as much as they do from our speakers, especially as the term progresses.  Our kick-off session was powerful way of introducing participants to one another and to really see all of the opportunities there will be to collaborate throughout the program.

-Joshua Schiefelbein '14, MLDP Student Program Assistant