Leadership tips from West Point

Lindsey Danilack was the top cadet in West Point’s graduating class this May, only the fourth woman ever to hold that position.

Tips from Danilack and other women of West Point:

  • Don’t let others determine your future. “In high school, one of my teachers actually told me that I would never get into West Point, that it was too hard,” Danilack says.
  • Learn acting. “Being a performer will help being an officer,” says Alexandra Efaw, explaining that the old saw, “Fake it till you make it,” really works.
  • Put others first. As first captain, Danilack made it her practice to wait until everybody else found a seat in the mess hall before she sat down to eat. “It was important to me to ensure everyone was taken care of before myself,” she says.
  • Surround yourself with outstanding people. “You get into West Point because you’re good,” says Arianna Efaw, Alexandra’s sister. “Then you get here and realize that everybody’s exactly like you, only better.”
  • Remember who you are. “If someone tells me I can’t run as fast as the guys running the two-mile, I say, ‘You’re right,’” says Danilack. “But if they say that I can’t be as good a leader as them, oh, I’ll challenge them on that.”

— Adapted from “The Women of West Point,” Kevin Cahillane, The New York Times Magazine.