Derby Lane hosted a corporate leadership retreat for USFSP students on Friday, Feb. 24 coordinated by USFSP’s Leadership Development and Programming office. The retreat marked an end to Lead Week 2012, which introduces students to the leadership programming available on campus.
Students began the retreat in the poker room with breakfast and a quick introduction to the history of Derby Lane. They learned of its recognition as the world’s oldest greyhound track, and how the 100-acre facility has been owned by four generations of the Weaver family. The group was given a tour of the various areas of business, including food service, poker, simulcast rooms, the track and dog kennels.
Each dog kennel on the property is owned by a different trainer or training family with one kennel reserved for Greyhound Pets of America, which adopts out retired or injured racing dogs. After the kennels, Derby Lane Director of Development Jerry Zimmerman hosted a discussion about the business structure of a dog track racino—a combined racetrack and casino.
“I learned that it really takes a lot of different parts to bring a company together and make it a profitable business,” said Patrick Corners, USFSP Lead-Learn-Serve student. The LLS program is available to freshmen that are interested in learning how to take a leadership role in their community. Students take four classes during their freshman year to learn the many different principles of leadership.
Following lunch, visitors met with the directors of poker, marketing and public relations. They learned about the different leadership roles that exist in a business like Derby Lane. The event gave students a chance to practice their interpersonal communication skills in a real business setting while learning from actual professionals.
“We believe there are some skill sets that you can teach to make more effective leaders,” said Charlie Justice, assistant director of leadership. “Self awareness, values clarification, communication, problem solving and conflict resolution; those are skill sets that make effective leaders but also make for a much happier life in whatever field you’re going into.”
Students interested in getting involved with leadership programming on campus can visit the Leadership Development and Programming office in the PRW Florida Center for Teachers building.
All photos by Daniel Mutter