Alexia’s Legacy: You Can Be a Friend and a Leader

She was tragically taken from us, but her legacy lives on.  Every few weeks we will share excerpts from the book.

Alexia had the best blend of fun and work. Anytime it was late and I was tucked away in my stairwell getting my work done, I would look forward to seeing her on rounds because she was a fantastic one for banter. At the same time, when she laid down a rule or reminded me of one, she meant it. It wasn’t ever overtly harsh, just firm, and she managed to still be the person I bantered with. It isn’t easy to carry yourself that way; she rocked it, and I really admired it. She was always ready to smile and laugh with me, and that helped me feel more at home in Honors than I would have otherwise.

Her work ethic was incredible; a few times I tried to get her into tea because she was sick and at the desk – not even because she was working, but just because she felt the need to study. She took incredible notes; they were full blown color-coordinated notes, and she didn’t mind my curious questions and examinations thereof. When she worked, she really worked. Dedication is a virtue, and she had it in spades. I could never convince her to really like tea but she was always game to try my new blends.

I would never say her last name right, on purpose, because it was so much ridiculous fun for me to find new convoluted ways to say it. It was a little game we had, trying to one-up each other with jokes or jibes, and it never felt mean. Her badinage was one of my favorite things about Honors. Jena


Alexia was a true, kind, and beautiful friend. She was an inspiration for me daily and watching the way she approached life taught me how to believe in myself when it seemed impossible for me to do so. In some of my darkest hours she could pull me through by just being there. I feel truly blessed knowing my sweet friend, for all of our wonderful memories and for her sharing her heart with me.          Ashley Dixon


This year for Christmas, Alexia gathered the five of us girls together; her, Caitlin, Shannon, Kristen, and I, to give us all our Christmas presents. She told us how important we were to her, and that this was our last semester being RA’s and all living on campus together. She, Shannon, and Kristen would be in apartments, Caitlin would be graduated, and I’d hopefully be at Disney (I didn’t know if I’d get it at the time, but she always had faith in me.) She gave us all matching bracelets that say, “love much…laugh often…LIVE WELL”; so we’d always remember our friendship and being together. Alexia was selfless and always put others first. I am only one of hundreds of people who had their lives touched by Alexia. She always went out of her way to help others.      Suzanne Peterson


Lesson: You can be a friend and a leader.

Leadership is not about separating yourself from others; it is about becoming an integral part of the team. The more friendships you have on the team, the better your chance of influencing its direction. Your friends become a coalition of leaders who share common goals and values. They can lead when their strengths are needed and you can lead when your strengths are more helpful. You will trust your friends and they will trust you which will help move initiatives forward, even when the outcome is uncertain. Your friends will be more honest with you about what the team needs and how you can become a better leader.

Also, people want to know their leaders care about them. They want to follow leaders they like and admire. Be the best person you can be, so you will stand out and earn the right to lead, but don’t forget that includes being a real friend to others and helping them grow and improve as well. You will be happier and more fulfilled as a leader if you nurture your friendships and make them a key part of the team’s success.

Opportunity: Identify those on your team who need a friend.


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My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

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