Estridge Homes president addesses problems in American society

Butler, we have a problem.

At least that’s what the president of Estridge Homes said last Thursday.

“Right now, our country has an anti-leadership movement afoot,” Paul Estridge Jr. said.

Estridge spoke to a half-full room of Butler students about their role in destroying the lazy mentality that he said many people have about leadership.

Some Butler administrators agreed, and they are doing something about it.

Frank Council, assistant director at the Programs for Leadership and Service Education, said the Division of Student Affairs tried to create some movement around leadership at Butler.

They revamped the leadership program, calling it “Bulldog Leadership,” and challenged students to get to know who they are and what they believe before they try to lead others.

“Goals are good, but to really be a great leader we’ve learned that you have to take time to make meaning of the gifts you have and what you believe in,” Council said.

The leaders of the program decided to bring in Estridge because he fit the model of leadership that the program was looking for.

Estridge is also a firm advocate of knowing one’s personal beliefs and gifts as a leader.

“There is nothing awesome about being a great leader,” he said.  “It’s about what is at the core.

“Leadership will reflect that core.”

Council agreed.

“It’s not so much titles, but more about the role you play in that position.”

Council said the program also asks students to consider the impact they want to have in the community, another reason why Estridge fit the bill.

“Estridge’s company and mission statement are about making an impact on those around him,” Council said.  “That was evident in his connection with Extreme Makeover Home Edition.”

Estridge Homes worked with the ABC reality show last year, transforming a home in an Indianapolis neighborhood.

Before the company agreed to work with the show, they ensured that the entire community would benefit rather than just one home.

They fixed up 22 homes in the area and helped to create a community center from an existing IPS building.

The company also donated 108 laptops to children in the neighborhood and created a free wireless network.

“People ask me, ‘Aren’t you just a home builder?’” Estridge said. “But as a home builder, you are actually building a community for people.”

The leadership program also emphasizes community and relationships.

“We want students to think about the impact they want to have in the Butler community,” Council said.

That’s exactly what Shelby Murdoch, a sophomore in the Bulldog Leadership program, said she has gained from the program.

“I have learned not only about my strengths and how to apply them in my life, but also how to help other people find theirs and apply theirs, and that’s a really valuable skill to have,” Murdoch said.

She said that hearing Estridge was an inspiring example of someone who is succeeding honestly and ethically.

“The wrong way to do things is tempting because it’s usually easier, but it won’t last,” Murdoch said. “In the end, good always wins, period.”