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Learning to Lead

May 25, 2022

When students take on leadership roles on campus they gain skills for life. Here, three former student leaders share the impacts that those experiences had on their careers. 

So many of our alumni say the experiences they had on campus have impacted their careers and life paths. As they connected with faculty through research and became involved in campus life, they added skills for leadership and collaboration through authentic learning experiences, and they’ve gone on to enrich the lives of our community on campus, throughout Colorado and beyond.    

“A higher education has the power to transform the lives of our students,” said Assistant Vice President of Alumni Relations Lyndsey Crum. “And UNC’s collective effort toward student career readiness is evidenced by the excellence of our alumni; their professional achievements, their adaptability and their desire to give back and support the dreams of our current and future students.”   

In the Rowing, Not Drifting 2030 strategic plan, UNC sets its Students First commitment as priority so that those life lessons, and the connections students make, continue to be a core part of UNC’s long-range vision. It’s a promise to continue celebrating and reinforcing the relationships with faculty and staff that nurture individual development and empowerment among students, encouraging them to make a difference through leadership involvement and advocacy.   

“We know that great careers begin in Bear Country and the power of that UNC Bear network is seen through every successful alumni career connection and the Bear network begins here, with UNC’s faculty, staff and students,” Crum said. “Our university community offers the educational experiences and supporting relationships that create opportunities for successful careers after college. Many of our alumni choose to remain connected and engaged because they value the network that helped them launch their careers, and they want to pay it forward for the next generation of Bears.”   

The following are three excellent examples of UNC alumni who, through their student leadership experiences on campus, grew to be prepared and successful professionals, and are choosing to remain connected and invested in the success of future and current students.

Brian Davidson

Brian Davidson, M.D. ’99
B.A. Pre-Health
Physician Executive 
Banner Medical Group 

Brian Davidson is physician executive for Banner Medical Group’s Western Region, which includes 14 hospitals, 500-plus physicians and advanced practice providers and 1,400-plus clinic staff across six states, responsible for clinical service, care quality, financial performance, and regulatory compliance throughout the region.   
Davidson credits his early UNC experiences as instrumental in guiding his career path and has found the commonality between his experience as a student leader to be very similar to his past and current roles as physician executive.   

“My experiences in student government at UNC sparked my interest in leadership as I embarked on the path to becoming a physician,” Davidson said. “The opportunity to interact with university leaders as a young person allowed me to gain experience and mentorship that benefitted me greatly in my eventual career.”   

Davidson has remained connected to and has continued to serve UNC since graduation. He served as a founding member of the College of Natural and Health Sciences advisory board from 2010 to 2014 and is currently on the university’s Foundation Board of Directors, lending his leadership experience in the medical field toward the university’s endeavor to establish a new osteopathic medical college.   

“UNC holds a special place in my life,” Davidson said. “I can trace many of my current professional and personal interests back to my time on campus.”

Kevion Ellis

Kevion Ellis ’18 
B.A. International Affairs with a Minor in Africana Studies and Economics
Lobbyist, Education Minnesota 

Kevion Ellis ’18 is a lobbyist for Education Minnesota, the state teacher’s union, where he works for the government relations team representing around 80,000 educators and advocating for public education issues in Minnesota.   

As a lobbyist, Ellis works with policymakers, legislators and other stakeholders in the education and labor arenas that are passing legislation affecting teachers, students, and families in public education

“UNC was a safe place for me to learn about working with different stakeholders, building coalitions and trying to achieve shared visions,” Ellis said. “UNC really helped me see that we all believe in the common good, we just have different perspectives about how to achieve it — and that’s a lot of the work I do today.”   

As a student at UNC, Ellis interned at the Colorado General Assembly, where he gained some of his first insight into state politics. As a junior he served in student senate and was elected student body president his senior year. He says those early experiences in UNC student leadership helped solidify his interests in pursuing a career in public policy.   

“One of the pivotal moments in my life was going to UNC,” Ellis said. “I really leaned on the alumni and university community for expertise and guidance, and I would encourage UNC leaders and students to do the same. As an alum, if someone reached out to me wanting to connect, I would, especially knowing they’re from my alma mater.”

Allie Steg Haskett

Allie Steg Haskett ’03 
B.A. Human Communication 
Vice President for University Advancement 
University of Northern Colorado 

As Vice President for University Advancement, Allie Steg Haskett oversees the division and serves as UNC’s chief development and advancement officer. She works closely with UNC’s principal donors and investors, often alongside President Andy Feinstein, to enhance donor investment and involvement in the university while helping those individuals seek out their passions through the support of UNC programs.   

“My student experiences and network are what helped me be qualified and prepared for my first job,” Haskett said. “And those connections also helped me find my way back to UNC. Now, I get to pay it forward and help create a space for students and alumni to stay connected and give back. I get to help build that circle. It’s a pretty cool job.”   

As an undergraduate at UNC, Haskett served as president of her sorority, Delta Zeta, and of the university’s student run program council as well as in other leadership roles on campus.    

“A large portion of my job now is about building, leading and encouraging a team,” Haskett said. “My leadership experience as a student really helped me realize early on that we all encounter roadblocks and challenges both personally and professionally. As a leader, it’s my job to encourage people through those moments or challenges, so we can be a successful team.” 

–By Amber Medina

Great Careers Begin in Bear Country: If you’re a former student leader, we want to hear from you. Email us at uncmagazine@unco.edu and tell us about what you’re doing now and how you are using your UNC experiences and connections in your career. Be sure to update your alumni information, get connected and stay involved!

Supporting Emerging Leaders through Scholarships 

Craig Hoskins ’83 and Alan Levitz ’81 are longtime friends and former classmates who have both had successful careers in business that were impacted early on by their experiences at UNC. Together, they’ve established a new scholarship for students with a passion for leadership.  

“Alan and I were both very fortunate to know so many wonderful people at UNC,” Hoskins said. “Each of us had an opportunity to be involved and learned lessons in leadership in an open and fun environment. Those great relationships and leadership opportunities coming out of college had prepared a foundation for us to begin careers in the business world.”   

The Emerging Leaders Scholarship has been created with the intent that others can contribute as well, helping current student leaders by carrying a portion of the load associated with the expense of attending UNC. As the endowment grows, the fund will provide more scholarships to support those emerging leaders.   

Craig Hoskins
Craig Hoskins ’83

Alan Levitz
Alan Levitz ’81

The initial $100,000 commitment will provide $4,000 annually toward a scholarship to be awarded to a full-time junior or senior involved in campus activities in a leadership role. The recipient must also maintain a GPA of 2.5 or greater and be employed while attending UNC. 

“My wife Carrie, also an alum, and I had been looking for the right opportunity to give back to UNC,” Levitz said. “The UNC team had been talking with us and our good friend, Craig, at the same time; they wisely connected us. The Emerging Leaders Scholarship was born out of our mutual passion for the leadership opportunities that are possible for hard working students that graduate from the school. Carrie and I are thrilled to be connected with this scholarship program.”   

Levitz is chief executive officer of Alera Group, a national insurance brokerage firm, and Hoskins is president and chief operating officer of Performance Food Group, a national food and foodservice distribution company. 

To contribute to the Emerging Leaders Scholarship fund go to give2unc.org/emerging-leaders or call 970-351-2551.