Episode 17 - Jonathan Kroll: Leadership Skills Make All The Difference

It might not always be clear in the moment where the road is taking you but eventually you’ll be able to connect the dots when you look back.

Sometimes it can be difficult not really knowing how something will benefit you or really just being able to know to the answer to the question: “what's the point of doing this?” It’s not always going to jump right out at you which can be frustrating and cause you to panic. If it’s something you’re passionate about, then keep chugging along because no matter what it’ll be a learning experience.

Jonathan Kroll thinks back to his first experience with leadership when he was on a six week trip to Israel and saw that there were two groups that were separated from each other and he took on the role to bridge them together. He was the one to break the ice and open up the communication line, which ended up working in his favor.

Following along with his passion, he got very involved in student activities during college, which led him to explore the role of leadership. He wasn’t sure about where it was taking him but he knew he was onto something. It wasn’t until after he had gotten his Ph.D and traveled to Nicaragua when he realized what he wanted to spend the rest of his life doing; he hasn’t looked back.

Over the past ten years he has been facilitating leadership programs in the country to help empower & educate the youth. Within the past few months, Jon has launched The Leadership Institute for Development, Education, and Research (LiDER) where they envision a “world where individuals and organizations effectively lead their organizations and communities with compassion and resonance.”

Episode takeaway: If what you’re doing feels right even when people are telling you otherwise or you’re unsure of where you’ll be next month or six months down the line… take the risk and follow through with it. Worse comes to worse you learn from the experience & you’ll be glad to know you followed through with it.


  • Podcast Outline

  • Who is Jonathan Kroll today?

  • First opportunity for Jon to step up into a leadership role

    • 6 week Youth trip to Israel

  • Went to Quinnipiac for undergraduate degree & got involved within student life

    • Student government, orientation, residential hall assistant, etc

  • Mentors guided Jon to pursue his masters as well as his PH.D

    • Two things to grow to the top in the industry of education  

      • Have background in residential life

      • Needed a PH.D

  • Asking different questions in the education system

    • What’re you passion about versus what do you want to major in

    • Create spaces to journey along with students

  • Technology affecting higher education for the future

  • Leadership Institute of Developed & Education (LiDER)

    • Went to Nicaragua in 2005 for six months that he realized his passion & how his PH.D fit into it

    • Started facilitating leadership programs & loved the work

    • Why Nicaragua of all places?

    • Leadership opportunities here in the U.S.

    • Everyone having the potential to become a leader

    • Operating a nonprofit in Boston, thousands of miles away

  • How to build your leadership today

    • Think about what you want to do for the world grand scale/today

    • Take this vision and turn it into action

  • The importance of traveling abroad to other countries

  • Getting involved with the LiDER

    • Volunteer three different ways:

      • Time: help with events and coordinating everything  

      • Talent: Leadership educator or background experience to help build organization

      • Treasure: Dollars or things to donate

  • Three things Jon is most grateful for today

    • Privilege he was born with, family & friends, & determination to continue with his vision

  • What does Jon want to be remembered for?

    • Being known as someone who created different leadership cultures around the globe

  • Picture frame on the wall 10 years from now, what/who do we see?

    • Surrounded by the people that Jon is serving

  • Ask Bobbbaaaay 1 question

    • A leadership defining moment that changed your perspective?

  • Where can people find Jon on social media

    • Facebook

  • What 2-3 pieces of advice would you give to someone on the pursuit of their own purpose/passion?

    • Keep getting at it - there might not be a “aha” moment right away

    • Find mentors/advisors/supporters who can help you process it & that ask questions

    • Put yourself in uncomfortable situations