Asking for help shows strength, not weakness

From left to right: Dr. Patty Perillo, Josh Redding, Anna Bondy, Laura Sands, President Tim Sands. Photo credit: Christina Franusich
From left to right: Dr. Patty Perillo, Josh Redding, Anna Bondy, Laura Sands, President Tim Sands. Photo credit: Christina Franusich

Not all leaders have formal titles. Some are simply called “friend” or “mentor.” They lead by example in their communities and peer groups. They lift others up and bring them along. They know that relationships are the heart of leadership.

Graduate student Anna Bondy is one such leader.

It is no surprise that her Strengths are Communication, Restorative, Woo, Input, and Activator.

Anna puts her leadership skills to work in the Recovery Community @ Virginia Tech—a student organization that supports those who are in or considering recovery from substance abuse.

Her nominator wrote, “Anna didn’t know it, but the Recovery Community needed her just as much as she needed us. Anna is fiercely vulnerable and courageously kind. Since joining the community, she has been a role model for others in our group. In spite of circumstances, she always shows up to groups. And I don’t just mean she attends. She SHOWS UP!”

Her nominator continued, “It takes special courage to stand up for what is best for you and it takes leadership to bring others along for the ride. Anna has done just that this year and deserves to be recognized for her efforts to make the Virginia Tech community stronger, more inclusive, and resilient.”

Anna is willing to do the difficult work that recovery requires. Her journey to Virginia Tech was not easy or straightforward. It included both drug and alcohol addiction.

She wrote, “In April 2015, I hit what would be considered my bottom. It was at this point that I saw my life was out of control and asked for help.”

She was eventually able to earn a bachelor’s degree from Emory & Henry College, where she graduated magna cum laude. She chose Virginia Tech for the Master of Accounting and Information Systems Program offered by Pamplin College of Business—and she chose the Recovery Community.

She said, “The Recovery Community at Virginia Tech has really helped me find my place. Through this community, I have been able to share my experience with other students who are in recovery or struggling with addiction. It has allowed me to find a robust social life, and I am extremely grateful.”

Anna believes she is a good leader because she can empathize with others.

She said, “I am humbled to know others think I have affected their lives in a meaningful way in such a short time. I have learned that you cannot do it alone. I have always been an independent person, but I could not achieve anything until I reached out for help. I feel like so many people think asking for help is weakness, but it has been my greatest strength. Now, I get to return the favor and help others who reach out to me.”