When the clock struck midnight on August 31, 2022, a mass of orange and pink posters were swiftly hung on the iconic blue wall of Spelman College’s Manley Student Center announcing the candidacy of a first-year student that proudly proclaimed she was The Definition of a Leader: Kyla Emory. Like all her opponents, the Chicago native had a resume that read like a laundry list overflowing with impressive accolades, but it was the promise of equal empowerment that charmed the ears of her new peers, set her apart
, and ultimately earned her the role as first-year class council president. During the first six months of her tenure, Emory has made a name for herself within the Spelman community and beyond. She’s quick to lend a hand, eager to share a smile and became every bit of the leader she promised she would be. Now, fresh-off the trail of her second successful presidential campaign, Emory is taking the time to reflect upon her time in student government thus far and to think about her future.
Keep reading to learn about Kyla’s experience as first-year class council president:
Q: What inspired you to run for office for First Year Class Council and again for Sophomore Class Council?
KE: In high school, I wasn’t really involved in my student government as heavily as I wanted to be because of all of this fear. Fear of embarrassment, fear of rejection, fear of losing, even though I knew that I was capable, and I had the right tools to really succeed in those roles, I was just too scared. But in college, I vowed to myself that I would stop being scared and just have faith and hope. And trust that if I did the work, that everything would work out in my favor. Student government was always something that I’ve always wanted to pursue, but I decided to step out on faith. They ended up working out.
I decided to run for sophomore class Council. Because I really enjoyed the work that I’ve been doing with FYCC. I’ve gained a close bond with the girls on my council, I really enjoy doing things and creating initiatives taught by my class in the AUC community in general, and I really appreciated the network.”
Q: How would you describe your leadership style? Has it evolved at all over time?
KE: I’m a leader that is very open to everyone’s ideas. I often let my counsel express how they feel about a thing first, and then I put my input in. And together, we create one solid voice for the Council, which includes everyone’s voice. Prior to getting to college and into this position, my leadership style tended to be more of a control freak. I felt like I had to do everything because I wanted it to be perfect. I’ve learned that you can get exhausted trying to do that, so you have to make space for others
Q: On a council as large as first-year class council, how do you all work to make sure that everybody is heard while also being as efficient as possible?
KE: At the beginning of the year, we set strong expectations for each other knowing that we all have a specific role for a reason. We won the positions that we did because of the strengths that we have, and recognizing that really helps. As a president, I cannot also be the class justice, the Treasurer and the Secretary. I’m just the president and understand that is how we are able to work as efficiently with a Council of Nine people.
Q: What is one lesson about Spelman you or your team learned the hard way this past year?
KE: One lesson that we’ve definitely learned is to expect the unexpected and make sure we’re prepared at all times for anything to happen.
Q: If you could be remembered for one accomplishment during your time as FYCC President what would that be?
KE: I would definitely say bringing back the Regional Step Teams. That hasn’t been a thing since the graduating class of 2022 were freshmen, So it’s been at least four years since they had regional staff here at Spelman and the council and I intend them in tandem with SGA.
Q: How would you describe the career plans you have for after Spelman?
KE: After Spelman, I plan to attend law school. I have aspirations to be a corporate attorney and political commentator.
Q: Do you have aspirations to run for any political positions after graduation?
KE: At this moment in my life? No, I do not. I think that my political course will end at Spelman, but you never know. You never know where life takes you. But right now it’s a no
Three Tips for Running for Office
Tip #1: Keep it real
Tip #2: Be prepared at all times
Tip #3: Trust your voice
KE: Don’t try to you know, make yourself somebody that you’re not in order to gain votes or to gain popularity, just be who you are. If you are a good person, people will attract that and follow that. I think that during the campaign season, especially at Spelman, it gets really competitive. So just remain kind and remember that at the end of the day, we are Spelman siblings, and everything will work out in your favor.