Monday, November 3, 2014

Looking Back to Move Forward

by Marie Brewer

Recently, five members of the Alpha Theta Phi officer team attended the NY Region Honors in Action/Leadership Conference at Suffolk County Community College (SCCC). We had three jam-packed days of speakers, seminars, and even some fun activities to keep us going. There were numerous opportunities for fellowship and connections with neighboring chapters were made. After we arrived on Friday, we headed right to SCCC for registration and the first general session and opening keynote speaker. Opening the first general session was NY Regional President, Amie Bernstein. She took the podium confidently and introduced the other regional officers. Soon came roll-call (which I am told is very exciting at the International Convention!) where each chapter is announced and someone (in this case me) stands up to share how many officers, members, and advisors are in attendance. During her introduction, Amie spoke briefly about the Honors Study Topic, “Frontiers and The Spirit of Exploration,” the format of the conference, her own experiences with the benefits of Phi Theta Kappa. We played a fun icebreaker called thumb ball, and then Onjalai Flake, our district director came to speak. She spoke briefly about the societal structure of Phi Theta Kappa and showed a trailer-like video about the benefits of becoming a Five Star Chapter (which we are!). We also took an awesome group selfie – the conference so far was quite fun. The keynote speaker for this first general session was Frank Vino, the SCCC Director of Campus Activities. Mr. Vino spoke about leadership and what makes a great leader. A point he made, look back to move forward, is one that holds a lot of weight. By looking at past leaders – examples Mr. Vino used included Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks, and Mother Theresa – we can identify what attributes made them great and what made them weak. This is an excellent way to identify in us how to be great leaders. This consciousness of self leads to social change. Three points Mr. Vino left us with to end the first general session were: failure is an excellent opportunity to achieve greatness, you can learn something from everyone, and finally, dream big, but start small. The conference got off to a great start and only got better going forward!

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