Jones Leadership Center

Who Are We?

The Willis L. Jones Leadership Center (JLC) is a part of the Center for Leadership & Involvement. The JLC works to to inspire and prepare students to work in partnership with others to positively transform themselves, their peers and their communities.

In order to reach this goal, the JLC holds leadership workshops for all students. Our workshops provide students with an open, inclusive environment where they learn the information they need to discover their leadership potential. We also host leadership-based speakers, an Emerging Leaders Retreat, and provide sponsorship to external leadership conferences.

Social Justice Social Media Feature

Fill out this short application to be featured on our social media for your social justice efforts!

Poster that describes a Social Media Feature on the JLC website: Do you promote social justice on campus? QR code on the right.


Connect With Us On Social Media


Contact Us

Sarah  Volk (Advisor)


Emerging Leaders Retreat

The Jones Leadership Center organizes and sponsors the Emerging Leaders Retreat, an annual spring weekend retreat with emerging leaders from UW-Madison. This retreat engages students interested in furthering their abilities as a leader and learning more about their identity, leadership, and community.

The JLC also sponsors students to go to various leadership conferences.

Leader of the Month Poster

Authentic Leader of the Month

Every month, the JLC recognizes a UW-Madison student who embodies the traits of a positive authentic leader; someone who uses an inclusive, relational approach to guide others towards achieving a shared vision. We believe an authentic leader is hardworking, trustworthy and genuine in all that they do.

If you know an authentic student leader at UW-Madison, please nominate them for the Leader of the Month award! Students whose nomination is selected as the ALM will receive a certificate and a feature on our social media, as well as a few other prizes! Additionally, the nominator receives a prize as well.

The nomination forms are due by the 18th of every month, but they roll over so if you don’t get chosen in the month you apply in, you may be chosen in the future!



The JLC offers a variety of workshops throughout the semester. These are great opportunities to sharpen your leadership skills, dive deeper into topics of interest, and connect with students on campus.

Check out our upcoming workshops and sign up today here.


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Our History

Our History

The Legacy: Willis L Jones


Willis L. Jones was a beloved Madison-area high school coach for over thirty-five years. He taught thousands of young people how to set goals, work together, celebrate victories and accept defeat. Mr. Jones believed that through his work as a coach, he was building the leaders of tomorrow.

The Willis L Jones Leadership Center was established in 2013 by Robert and Dottie King in honor of Willis L Jones. We strive to carry on his legacy of leadership, accountability, and empowerment.

Who We Are

Who We Are

We provide leadership workshops open to all UW-Madison students. Through participation in events through the Willis L. Jones Leadership Center, students will:

  • ASPIRE to recognize how their values, goals, identity, and emotions affect their ability to build trust and credibility.
  • SHARE ideas across multiple modes of communication, allowing them to engage in meaningful conversations and actions with others.
  • TRANSFORM this vision into reality, and develop critical thinking skills to make decisions and solve problems.
  • CONNECT with others to foster positive change and seek opportunities to contribute to our global society.

 Benefits of Attending Our Events

    • Improved leadership abilities
    • Networking opportunities with other student leaders
    • Outside Classroom Hours for the UW Leadership Certificate!
    • Build your resume with concrete leadership skills


To facilitate unique and intentional experiential opportunities to develop students’ sense of self and their potential to lead.


To inspire students to work together to positively transform their campus communities and beyond.

Request a Workshop - A Free, Interactive Experience for Your Organization

Mobile Workshops

Facilitators Brynn, Claire, and Rose in the Spring 2022 “Managing Transitions” workshop

The JLC is now offering personalized workshops for all student organizations on campus!  Our staff will work with your organization to create an interactive program that fits your group’s

goals and objectives. This is a free service designed to help students develop their leadership skills on campus. Request a workshop for your student organization or residence hall today!


2022-2023 Staff

Scout Umnus: Leadership Programing Specialist

Scout is the Leadership Programming Specialist within the Center for Leadership & Involvement and serves as the supervisor for the Jones Leadership Center. She is excited to work with this year’s amazing and dedicated team of student interns.




Brynn Flanders

Brynn is a senior majoring in Agricultural and Applied Economics with certificates in Entrepreneurship and Health Policy. This is her second year working with the Jones Leadership Center, and this year she is happy to be on the marketing and staff development teams. This year, she is most excited to work with her JLC teammates and continue to make memories in Madison. Her favorite places in Madison are the Capitol and Indie Coffee.



Chloe Hogenson

Chloe is a senior majoring in Consumer Behavior and Marketplace Studies with a certificate in Textile Design. This is her first year working at the JLC and she is currently planning the Emerging Leaders Retreat and works on the Speaker Series Team. This year, she is most excited to get ready for her future. Her favorite place in Madison is the Arboretum.



Melody Kulich

Melody is a sophomore majoring in Consumer Behavior and Marketplace Studies with a certificate in economic analytics. This is her first year working at the JLC and she currently works on the Authentic Leader of the Month and Assessment & Donor Relations teams. This year, she is most excited to spend another year at UW and for her internship at the JLC. Her favorite place in Madison is the terrace.





Kaely Nguyen

Kaely is a junior majoring in sociology with a certificate in entrepreneurship. This year, she is most excited to meet new people through CfLi. Her favorite spot in Madison is Lake Mendota.





Britney Patterson

Britney Headshot

Britney is a junior majoring in Biology with certificates in Leadership and Global Health. This is her second year working with the JLC and she is currently on the Authentic Leader of the Month and the Leadership Conference Series teams. This year, she is most excited for the JLC’s fall and spring workshops. Her favorite place in Madison is the Capitol.






Ella Rogers

Ella is a junior majoring in sociology and communications with a certificate in gender & women’s studies. She is excited to work with the other JLC interns and to learn more about leadership through CfLi this year. Her favorite place in Madison is Memorial Union.

Rose Weithaus

Rose is a junior majoring in Political Science and History with a certificate in Public Policy. This is her second year working for the JLC and she is currently planning the Emerging Leaders Retreat along with working on the Assessment & Donor Relations team. This year, she is most excited to spend time with friends and take classes that she loves. Her favorite place in Madison is Ancora coffee.



To view past years’ staff, view this document.

Leadership Conferences & Retreats

Emerging Leaders Retreat

We believe emerging leaders should develop agility and adaptability.

Students listen as the next activity in the 2022 Emerging Leaders Retreat is described by the facilitators, Brynn and Britney.

The JLC organizes and sponsors the Emerging Leaders Retreat to help current and aspiring leaders on campus explore leadership skills and practice leadership behavior. This year’s retreat will be held in the spring and is free to participants (UW-Madison students only). The event will cover managing transitions, teamwork and conflict resolution, giving and receiving feedback, etc. All costs will be sponsored by the Jones Leadership Center.

If you are interested in developing your leadership skill in a fast-changing environment and understanding the fundamental knowledge of being a successful leader, stay tuned for our Spring 2023 application.

Sponsored Leadership Conferences

Throughout the semester, the JLC sponsors several individuals to attend external leadership conferences. There are currently no applications available for the remainder of the 2022-2023 semester. Check back next semester for more opportunities, and in the meantime, check out our WIN page for JLC-sponsored events.

Bucky Awards Winners

Apply for the Outstanding Leadership Award Here!

Bucky Awards is sponsored by Student Leadership Program (SLP), and the Jones Leadership Center sponsors the Outstanding Leadership Award. This award is given to a student organization who displays excellent use of leadership skills to work towards a positive change on campus and in the surrounding community. The award recognizes organizations that consistently manifest the core values of the UW- Madison’s Leadership Framework, which are integrity, inclusive engagement, and connection with the community.

This past Spring, representatives from the JLC presented the Outstanding Leadership Award to the Wisconsin Consulting Club. They have made it their mission to provide opportunities for all students to network with industry professionals and alumni while promoting community and university involvement. They also try to educate on various industries in an inclusive and engaging manner, which they continue to work on improving. Congratulations to the Wisconsin Consulting Club!

Brynn and Rose, two JLC interns who presented the Outstanding Leadership Award, at the 2022 Bucky Awards.


Authentic Leader of the Month Winners

April 2023







Our April Authentic Leader of the Month winner is Payton Ruckdaschel, a senior majoring in Health Promotion & Health Equity. Her leadership involvement includes being a cadet in the UW ROTC program, being involved with APO, being social media chair of Cardiac on Campus, and being a group fitness instructor at Orange Theory Fitness. She has loved being part of APO and being able to help out her community in so many different ways.


March 2023







Our March Authentic Leader of the Month winner is Edie Vanderleek, a sophomore majoring in Political Science. Her leadership involvement includes being a member of APO, a service fraternity.

Her role model is her Grandpa Bruce, a top tier attorney and former President of the State Bar Association in Michigan. His example reminds her that you can achieve great things while remaining humble, generous, and kind. She strives to be like him everyday!

February 2023







Molly Paras

Our February Authentic Leader of the Month winner is Molly Paras. Molly is a junior majoring in Biomedical Engineering with certificates in Biocore and Biology in Engineering. Her leadership involvement includes being a BME Mentor, BME design team leader, and a peer advisor for biocore.

One of her favorite leadership quotes is “Success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.” -Michelle Obama

October 2022

William Darbyshire

Our October ALM winner is William Darbyshire. William is a senior majoring in History and Political Science with a certificate in Data Science. He is President of the Wisconsin Speech and Debate Society. He describes his leadership position:

“As President of the Wisconsin Speech and Debate Society, I was proud to be in such a forward-facing role; inviting new members into the organization and making them feel like part of a community was critical to creating a broad and diverse membership base: an important thing for a debating society, where new perspectives can be valuable.”

Click here to see our Authentic Leader of the Month winners from past years!