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Gonzaga Comprehensive Leadership Program Students Capture International Case-Study Competition

The winning Zags (from left): Joseph Decker, Piedmont, Calif.; Constanza Ponce de Leon, Chula Vista, Calif.; and Nick Mamolo, Laguna Niguel, Calif. They are members of Gonzaga’s Comprehensive Leadership Program, directed by Josh Armstrong.

SPOKANE, Wash. – Three Gonzaga University seniors in the Comprehensive Leadership Program captured first place in the annual International Leadership Association Student Case Competition in Montreal. Constanza Ponce de Leon, Chula Vista, Calif., Nick Mamolo, Laguna Niguel, Calif., and Joseph Decker, Piedmont, Calif., won a $1,000 prize for their proposed leadership strategies for Tim Hortons, a Canadian public fast-food company and the subject of the case study.

Competing against student teams from a dozen other outstanding universities including Claremont-McKenna College, Georgia Tech, and University of Minnesota, the Gonzaga trio submitted a 1,600-word brief and developed a poster presentation 10 days before the competition held Oct. 30-Nov. 2 at the ILA international conference. Drawing upon Ron Heifetz’s Adaptive Leadership model, they developed a two-step plan for Tim Hortons to strengthen its internal structure and expand internationally. The Gonzaga team was among three finalists selected to give a 15-minute board-style presentation before a panel of faculty judges.

“Our education has prepared us much more than we’re aware of,” said Ponce de Leon, “This conference was a chance for us to prove that. We also had great support from Gonzaga faculty who peer-reviewed our work and gave us interesting insights that enhanced our thinking. Most importantly for our success, though, was the team.”

Three Gonzaga University seniors in the Comprehensive Leadership Program captured first place in the annual International Leadership Association Student Case Competition in Montreal.

The students and the proposal for which they earned a $1,000 prize.

This was the first ILA conference attended by Gonzaga under-graduates, who study leadership through the Compre-hensive Leadership Program. The ILA, a global network for those who practice, study and teach leadership, has been holding student case-study competitions since 2007, giving both undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to “analyze real-world cases involving contemporary leadership issues.”

Previous winners of the undergraduate division competition include University of San Diego (2012), Kansas State University (2011) and Claremont-McKenna College (2010). This year’s ILA winning undergraduate case was titled “Tim Hortons in 2013: Can Its Success in Canada Be Exported Globally?”

CLP Director Josh Armstrong attended the conference and called the victory “a great honor” for Gonzaga and the CLP.

“The ILA conference provided an excellent opportunity for our students to display all that they have learned over the past three years,” Armstrong said. “I’m proud of Constanza, Nick and Joe for the rigor that they brought to the case-study competition.”

For more information, please contact Rachelle Strawther at (509) 313-3579 or via email.

  1. The Mamolo's
    Posted November 8, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    Congratulations Leadership Team! And congratulations Gonzaga! We are so proud of you!
    -The Mamolo Family

  2. Andria
    Posted November 8, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    Way to go, Zags! What an amazing achievement and wonderful way to honor your teachers and school!

  3. Segio Ibarra
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Congratulations Constanza and Nick and Joe!

    Teamwork of students + support of the Gonzaga faculty + family support is the success formula.
    Fine for promoting this kind of programs.
    And sounds good the solution: 2 step proposal looks not complicated and effective. Lean internal structure looking forward the external expansion !!
    Is the case study available ?
    Best regards
    Sergio Ibarra