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OUAZ growing leadership program in Surprise


Ottawa University-Arizona is growing its Leadership Development Program, a partnership with the city of Surprise that creates leadership, networking and soft skills opportunities by promoting local businesses.

Doug Doran, coordinator of the OUAZ Leadership Development Program, said he is thrilled to be growing the program, both through recruiting new students and working with Surprise on special projects.

“It’s a great opportunity for our students to learn and practice leadership skills while expanding their network by working with the wonderful people from the city of Surprise and local businesses,” Doran said.

Recently, students in the program worked on a project called “Snacks with Surprise,” which promotes community businesses.

Russell Baker, Surprise economic development analyst, and Mike Hoover, the city’s economic development assistant director, have worked closely with Doran and the OUAZ students in the program.

“We really enjoy leveraging the close partnership that we have with Ottawa University, and helping the students work on these types of skills that will contribute to the student’s success throughout their lives,” Baker said.

The “Snacks with Surprise” project focuses on a student’s ability to script and conduct a 30- to 40-second video showcasing a local business and its owner or manager. Once the students become proficient with this project, they share that learned expertise with other students.

“It’s a very effective networking tool, so much more than a simple business card exchange because the interaction is more memorable and fun,” Hoover said. “Afterword the interaction is promoted on social media, which creates a longer lasting partnership and dynamic between our local businesses, the city of Surprise, OUAZ and the students.”


About Ottawa University

Founded in 1865, Ottawa University prepares professional and liberal arts graduates for lifetimes of personal significance, vocational fulfillment and service to God and humanity as a Christ-inspired community of grace and open inquiry. Ottawa University is a comprehensive, not-for-profit educational institution, serving more than 4,500 students through its residential campuses in Ottawa, Kan., and Surprise, Ariz., and adult campuses in Overland Park, Kan.; Surprise, Ariz.; Brookfield, Wis.; and online. Visit for more information.

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