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Leadership Profile: PJ Dudinetz

PJ Dudinetz

Peter Joseph Dudinetz, or PJ for short, is a senior student at Landmark College who happens to be a Resident Assistant (RA), Campus Ambassador, and staffer for on-campus events. He has stated that he plans to graduate in Spring 2024 with a major in Psychology and a minor in Education respectively. He has agreed to an interview on his leadership style, where the following concepts of his responsibilities, and how they reflect him, were discussed.


What makes PJ an effective leader?

PJ says that his leadership policies are to their full effect as an RA when he provides a listening ear for other students, trying to understand their problems as empathetically as he can, and writing things down as he understands them (1). He uses the approach of Humanistic Psychology, an idea developed by Abraham Maslow, involving the need to “understand people, ourselves, and others, as a whole greater than the sum of their parts, to acknowledge the relevance and significance of the full life history of an individual, to acknowledge the importance of intentionality in human existence, and to recognize the importance of an end goal of life for a healthy person” (2). Using these ideals, PJ tries to alleviate issues in any aspects of individuals’ lives—mental, physical, or emotional. PJ uses an open-door policy to let students know they are heard because it can make a huge difference when others know someone is listening to them.

Those who know PJ say that he is experienced, a good friend to others, and does not crack under pressure. They state that these traits make him a good leader in the Landmark community. This reflects the fact that leaders are empathetic and resilient and show care for others.

Traits that PJ shows when pulling off his leadership include sociability when he invites peers to come in and talk with him during his RA shifts, as this gives people a chance to make conversation, which is crucial for building and using communication skills to pass messages along to people in one’s environment. PJ’s ability to understand how others are feeling also lets him show off his charisma, which lets others connect more readily with him given the appeal of his character and commitment to helping those around him. According to the book Introduction to Leadership: Concepts and Practice by Peter G. Northouse, charisma is seen as a sign of a reliable leader (3).

How did PJ become the leader he is now?

PJ started work at nineteen when he got his first job at Walmart in Midland, Michigan, where he worked for about four years until he was twenty-three. He then went on to work as a Nursing Assistant in a nursing home for another five years, and then another two years at a call center, all while studying at a community college for various intervals. Over time, he learned about how different leaders approach subjects, whether they are rude and difficult, or friendly and laid back. Either way, each policy could have its effects for better or for worse and did not have an immediate impact on a leader’s work. He learned how to find this balance from the most effective leaders he had.

It is also of note that, as others have acknowledged, PJ applied for the job of being an RA, as he knew that this would benefit his resume. He, therefore, knew that leadership roles would have personal benefits for him, and for anyone he supported, should he carry them out well. This is something that all leaders should keep in mind, even though they would ideally not be taking these positions for personal benefit.

PJ has been very determined throughout his life, which is another key quality according to Introduction to Leadership. Determination helps people work their way through tough circumstances to reach a goal, and PJ has focused on his. He is aiming to have a successful life after education, and regardless of any personal or professional conflicts he has faced, PJ has persisted over the years to get to where he is and is using this to forge an optimistic path going forward.

What other leaders have influenced PJ?

PJ has learned most of his facts about leadership from job supervisors, including Cathy from his call center, who was very nice and caring while also being tough and knowledgeable about the capabilities of working hard in strenuous situations. Another example he acknowledges would be Wendy, a manager from the Walmart he worked at, who was always happy and upbeat, even in rough or uncertain times. He also said that he picked up traits from his father, who being a tenacious leader, managed to help him with math studies when no one else did, and maintained his prominent role in the family despite a pelvic injury and the onslaught of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Others have also pointed out that PJ’s parents were influential to him, along with examples that PJ did not list himself, namely his professors. It can also be noted that some of his friends are viable to have helped him forge his distinct path.

PJ appears to find a balance between leadership styles that focus on tasks and relationships. He values passion for goals, and sees that in the people who he has gained this trait from on his leadership journey. At the same time, he values the relationships with people around him and has used these as a subject to leaders he knows and has known, and therefore tries to be the type of leader he has seen in these people while trying to form healthy and meaningful relationships with his subjects.

What challenges has PJ encountered in his leadership journey?

PJ has been challenged by the heavy presence of conflict in his life as a leader. He understands that conflict comes naturally but has previously shied away from it as best he can. By contrast, these days he has often had to talk with students who are grappling with issues surrounding academics, social anxiety, or any troubles with their personal lives. These moments have taught him how to deal with conflict more healthily and how to talk about it in a meaningful, relieving way.

He has also experienced reminders that leadership is a vital responsibility. He has been flagrantly mindful of his words and actions knowing that these can impact subjects’ views on him. As such, he has done his best to show care and commitment to Landmark, trying to leave his best possible mark.

PJ also grew from challenges, like being held back in school. This can be detrimental to one’s learning career and can require great efforts to rejuvenate and stay on track toward one’s dreams. He has used Landmark as a means of repairing any obtained damage and having a fresh start to his working life.

In overcoming these obstacles, PJ has developed his skills in managing people. He has carried out similar tasks before, but now has more direct, hands-on experience; with a role to play at Landmark in helping the student body function and get along while staying safe. These practices fall into the category of what is called, “management by walking around,” or understanding the needs of others by connecting personally with them and ensuring they know what needs to be accomplished. This involves helping people stay on track and responding promptly to others’ requests.

PJ has made his presence known to Landmark as an effective leader who acts in his colleagues’ best interest. He uses his knowledge and experience to help those in need and keep the campus functioning properly. He has overcome obstacles in the process of getting to where he is, and his persistence and loyalty have rubbed off on the people around him as he uses his authority to paint himself in the best professional and personal light.



  1. Interview with PJ Dudinetz on November 7, 2023.
  2. Benjafield, J. G. (2005). A History of Psychology. Don Mills, Ont.: Oxford University Press.
  3. Northouse, P. G. (2021). Introduction to leadership: Concepts and practice(5th ed.). Sage.
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Ian Pearce
Ian Pearce lives in Newton Massachusetts and is currently a junior at Landmark, where is he majoring in Liberal Studies. He lives in the Eastern United States but identifies with his English routes having family in London. Ian hosts “Musical Themes Explored” every Sunday from 6:00pm-8:00pm! His show focuses on how music is able to affect our everyday lives!

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