Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My New Perspective - Inclusive Leadership

By Chelsea Simmons, Alpha Gamma Delta, Chapman University

As someone who has attended many different leadership conferences, I sometimes get frustrated by the repetition in the topics and discussions. One thing that I rarely have conferences focus on is inclusion. The AFLV Session of LeaderShape is an exception to that experience.

After spending the morning learning about the power of us as individuals, we spent the night relating that to how we can work as a team and what we need to do to include everyone. The conclusion that I came to is that I am discriminatory. No one ever sat me down and taught me to be. No one ever explained privilege to me, or taught me how to use it to my advantage. Even without someone teaching me that, I still have these thoughts. I still make rash judgments based on what people look like, where people come from, their gender, their religious beliefs, and basically anything that I am unable to relate to. I am not proud of these beliefs, and in no way is this me saying these thoughts are right. But my goal after LeaderShape is to work on acknowledging these thoughts so that I can work on eliminating them.

No one is perfect, and I don’t imagine we will ever live in a world free of judgment. But I do hope that we can find a way to realize the fault in these thoughts. That we can work as leaders of any organization to be inclusive and tolerant. Just because I see the world a certain way, that doesn’t mean that everyone views the world that way. I want to work on being open to sharing my opinions and experiences without projecting those on my peers. I am hoping by the end of the week LeaderShape will give me the tools to be able to do that.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

An Unexpected Life Changing Experience

By Anthony Ferguson, Jr - University of Iowa - Alpha Theta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc

Unexpected. Inspirational. Exciting. Life Changing. All words that can describe what today was like at AFLV LeaderShape. Today we talked about vision, passion, and drive, and how we could go about effectively constructing these things to better help out our organizations. This was very hard for a person like myself who is usually pretty fast at turning an idea into action. Today however, I learned how to take that vision, sit with it, mold it, and than sit with it some more.

Possibly the most exciting piece about this segment was watching another student boldly share his vision in front of the rest of the group as two other students challenged him and asked tough questions. This process helped not only the person sharing his vision flesh out his ideas further, but it also gave everyone in the room a chance to think critically about our very own visions, dreams, and aspirations. The next great part of the day came after dinner when our panelist arrived.

Not knowing what to expect from this panel, I sat back in my seat, ears relaxed yet still very attentive. I had no idea of the magnitude of knowledge that these people would be bringing to the Beta Class of LeaderShape.

The panel spoke on everything from more effective recruitment, to challeging our entire organization when things don't line up with our own personal values and beliefs, to my favorite topic, men and their sometimes disregard for others. I had no idea that this would even be touched on this week but I am certainly glad that it was. After hearing this open, honest, and very direct call out to fraternity men it reconfirmed for me that we as men have to do better, and have to hold one another to a higher standard. Our panelist described for us that this standard not only included social, but academic standard as well.

This type of leadership and call to action requires us to call out members of our organizations that we hold near and dear to us when we see them misbehaving, acting out of charecter, and not upholding the standards of our fraternity or sorority. This type of leadership is crucial and I am glad that I had the opprotunity to be reminded of my job as a leader and a brother. This conversation was unexpected, inspritaional, exciting, and life changing, and I cannot wait to get back to my campus to spread what I learned.

Monday, July 16, 2012

I Can See Clearly Now

By Diana Soria- Texas State University- Sigma Delta Lambda

Coming into a house full of strangers, I didn’t know what to expect but I must say that I am pleasantly surprised. I have made such deep connections with my colleagues and it’s only been day two!  I came to AFLV Leadershape thinking that I already knew what it takes to be a leader but today’s curriculum has shown me otherwise. First of all, I really appreciate that the facilitators make us feel comfortable with each other to discuss issues that can be a sensitive subject for some people. They allow us to share our stories so that others can take something valuable from it and vice versa. Secondly, the discussions that we had today were very stimulating. It has really pushed me to think outside of my comfort zone and that’s okay with me. I needed an experience like to help me shape my potential abilities so that I can be an effective leader. You see, I learned today that in order to be an effective leader I must be willing to go out of my comfort zone. After all, how can I lead with a vision and work towards a greater good of my council if my vision is blurry? Because of this institute, I feel a new sense of ambition to do great things on my campus this upcoming school year. I look forward to tomorrow as well as the rest of the week. This has truly been an interesting, fun experience. I highly recommend any leader in Greek life or not, to take advantage of participating in an AFLV Leadershape Institute. It is a fun, eye opening experience that you will never regret!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

My First Day at AFLV LeaderShape

By: Brandy Flatley, Elmhurst College, Phi Mu

Going into this amazing opportunity I had no idea what to expect, I have never been to a leadership conference that was involved with my love for Greek Life as well! I was nervous just as much as excited to embark on this new adventure, but right when I walked in my nerves went away when I met the facilitators, and volunteers. They were so welcoming, and made me feel at home. I was somewhat expecting the typical ice breakers and leadership activities, but AFLV LeaderShape was much different than what I thought I was walking in to. We jumped right in on the definition of leadership and what core values a leader was to have, some that I have never even thought of before. One thing that I learned today that really stuck with me was how important relationships are when becoming a leader. Everyone has friends and family, but these types of relationships are so much more than I realized. I learned how important it was to build trust in a relationship because without trust, no one will try to follow your lead and have faith in your advice. We talked about using the people in your life to help you become the best leader you can be. I would not personally be here without Liz Doyle, who is our Greek Advisor at Elmhurst College, who is also here with us. She really has pushed me to become the leader she knew I can be and has given me the opportunity to be here, and thanks to that one relationship, I am growing as a leader so much within just 6 days while being here. So do not take advantage of any of your relationships, because they will help you grow to be the leader you are meant to be! I am so pumped up and excited to see what tomorrow and the rest of the week have to offer!