Connections Leadership Conference is full of insightful speakers, and dynamic workshops that guide you in a positive leadership direction. During the conference we were given the opportunity to make connections with other leaders at CMU. However, it wasn’t all work and no play, we had most of Friday evening to ourselves. The conference was held at the Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City, which meant we got to utilize the water park. One of my favorite parts of this weekend was having my LAS mentor at Connections with me. She is such an amazing person, and such an influential person in my life. She was selected to be on the committee.
The first order of business was to meet for our first institute session. The institute I got to be a part of was the Wagner Institute. When we got to the sessions, we started different activities. One of the things we worked on was filling out a community asset chart, and the different levels of it. The levels were individual, institutional, governmental, organizational, physical, and cultural. The activities we did during this really made me think about how lucky I am to be surrounded by such an amazing community. The one that really meant the most to me from this session was “assessing the community”. This included “behaviors to begin, behaviors to end, behaviors to continue, behaviors to decrease, and behaviors to increase. I assessed my LAS cohort.
After the institute sessions, we had free time until 10:30, then we did “speed-connecting”. This was such a fun and interesting way to meet new people. That was what concluded our Friday evening. Saturday was the day we got to go to different sessions, and listen to different speakers. “Gettin’ Dirty: The Dirty Dozen” was the first educational session I attended, and it was one of my favorites. It was about the decisions we are faced with as leaders, and the choices we make. I really enjoyed this one, and I also enjoyed the speaker, Erin Smith-Gaken. The second session was called “Branching Out of Your Free Time: Netflix and No Chill”. It was about assessing how you spend your leisure time, and if it is productive, and making you a more effective leader. The third one I went to was “Leadership Through the Eyes of Disney”. This was my favorite session I attended during the whole conference. It was a questionnaire of sorts. I chose my favorite disney character, and then had to think about what made them a leader. Then towards the end of the questions, we connected our values, and how they related to the character. The fourth session was “Leadership in Action”, and I really did not take a lot from this session, and it wasn’t very good. After the last session, we met back with our Institutes and closed out the conference. Overall, it was a great experience, and I really enjoyed my time there. I can’t wait to hopefully go back and help next year!