Joseph G. Bonito Award
The Joseph G. Bonito Servant Leadership Award is presented to a Jenks graduating student who is unanimously selected by the student directors as the person who best exemplifies the Jenks program's motto “learning for leadership and leadership for service.”
ABOUT JOE BONITO
Joe Bonito '79 is the Senior Vice President, Learning & Leadership Development Executive at Bank of America. He holds a BA from Boston College, an MS from the University of Pennsylvania and an Executive Masters in Human Resource Leadership from Rutgers University. As an undergraduate student, Joe participated in what was then the Paraprofessional Leader Group (PLG) and later served as a student director. Dubbed by Sandy Jenks as a "rough gem," Joe admired and emulated Sandy and since his graduation from BC has continued to give back to the program by leading workshops year after year. In the words of one student who benefited from Joe's tutelage, "Joe has been an invaluable foundation and glue to Jenks, and the PLG before that. His unselfish commitment and service to this organization has been exemplary and in the true spirit of Sandy Jenks." Joe gave almost four decades of service to the Jenks Leadership Program, and when we marked the 50th anniversary of the Jenks program, the Joseph G. Bonito Servant Leadership Award was created in his honor.
PRESENTATION TO CLAIRE GREYDANUS '21
Over the past two years, I have had the honor and the privilege of observing this individual serve as a trailblazer, role model and constant motivator for her fellow Jenks members. Always the first to arrive, eager to engage and constantly pushing her peers to think deeply about relevant ideas and topics - Claire Greydanus has been an invaluable member to our class. It has been through the various workshops, team building activities, and in particular throughout her team project that Claire has continued to shine brightly and challenge herself to reflect on her own leadership style.
Even after the initial idea for her team’s project continued to shift as they came across potential barriers - Claire remained positive and determined to find success. “No” is truly a term that is not in Claire’s vocabulary and instead of seeing these as a moment to give up and change ideas, Claire saw these interactions as opportunities to refocus on their mission and decipher what she and her team members could accomplish in order to serve as advocates for the students of Boston College. I was truly so impressed by the panel that Claire and her team members organized and I hope you all feel incredibly proud.
Claire, I hope that you never ever doubt yourself and that you continue to fight for what you believe in. I hope you continue to reach for the stars, dream big and remain so incredibly persistent. One of my favorite quotes come to mind when I think about you - so as Tinkerbell once said “all you need is faith, trust and a little bit of pixie dust.” I cannot wait to see all that you are going to accomplish in your time here left at BC, and although I am incredibly beyond sad to be leaving this “home” that I have built these past four years, it is because of people like you that I know I am leaving BC in the most incredible hands. So now, let's go out and continue to set the world aflame!
Natalie Hession '19, Jenks Student Director
PRESENTATION TO SUSAN KOURTIS '18
Over the past sixteen months, I have had the privilege of getting to know this inspiring individual and have only grown to respect and admire her more. Susan Kourtis is an involved member of her Jenks class and several other organizations on and off BC's campus—always championing something close to her heart. She is rarely the first to speak in workshops, but she always contributes something thought-provoking, and others are interested and keen on hearing each word.
When her Jenks group had to shift their project focus, she quickly adapted and reshaped her group’s priorities. She is organized to a T. No matter what the situation is, she never fails to be positive. She embodies the Ignatian mindset of “finding God in all things.” She sees good and potential in everything and everyone. She is genuine and sincere in her desire to make the world a better place and exemplifies the Jenks motto of “leadership for service, service for others” in her everyday life.
Whether volunteering with your church or laughing and talking about your mom’s delicious Greek food as you squeegee windows at Covenant House, your passion for serving others is contagious and inspires others to follow. I am so excited to see where life takes you after graduation in May and I am honored to present you with the Joseph G. Bonito Servant Leadership Award.
Ashton Gillespie '18, Jenks Student Director
2017 Joseph G. Bonito Servant Leadership Award Recipient
PRESENTATION TO ASHTON GILLESPIE '18
Over the past two years, I have had the pleasure of getting to know Ashton Gillespie and witness the incredible work that she has done. Not only has she grown tremendously as a leader, but has helped those around her to do the same. Ashton’s caring nature, drive, passion, and can do attitude makes her an exemplary leader. Always seeking to improve and learn, she embodies Sandy Jenks motto “learning for leadership and leadership for service”. While she may not be the loudest or most talkative voice in the room, when Ashton speaks she commands the attention of all those in her presence.
Ashton’s hard work does not go unnoticed, and her passion for her group’s service project was instrumental to its success. I remember talking to Ashton individually during the planning phases of her group’s project. I asked her, “Why do you want to build a garden at a school?” and she responded, in her southern charm, “You should see how ugly this poor elementary school’s playground is! Imagine how much we can inspire these kids to be the best they can be if we can make this school look a little bit more beautiful!” Ashton had a vision and worked with her group to accomplish it. I can hardly wait to see the impact that her group’s work will have on the community.
Ashton, you have motivated and pushed others to be the best they can be for themselves and more importantly, for the community. Speaking on behalf of myself and many others, it has been a privilege to work with you, learn from you, and see you grow. Your charm makes us all smile, and your leadership makes us all want to follow. I am excited to see where you and Cody can take the next Jenks class.
It is my honor to award Ashton Gillespie with the Joseph G. Bonito Servant Leadership Award.
Carson Truesdell '17, Jenks Student Director