By Chris Yee
On Jan. 29, Student Leadership and Development hosted the third annual Student Leadership Conference at Kwantlen. The theme for this year’s conference was “The Leadership Journey” – a fitting moniker, since although the conference introduced the practical skills of leadership to attendees, it could also be said that it was about forming a vision as a leader.
In light of this conference’s theme, the inspirational opening keynote, by leadership speaker and Beanstalk Project (thebeanstalkproject.org) founder Joel Hilchey, was as good an introduction as any introduction could be.
“I guess the best thing to do is to ask the audience what they thought it was about,” Hilchey said about the opening keynote speech.
“I think it’s about stepping outside your comfort zone and taking intelligent risks to get involved,” he added.
A smorgasbord of choices split across three sessions. The conference’s workshop offerings covered a variety of topics, such as networking, conflict management, creativity, self-awareness, and aspects of the social and green economies. A panel discussion on student leadership was held as well.
During the lunch break, an Opportunities Fair was held, with community organizations and on-campus leadership programs providing information on getting involved. The KSA and a handful of campus groups were also in attendance.
The fair also gave students a chance to enter a contest drawn at the end of the conference, with prizes like briefcases and personal coaching.
The final keynote speech, by leadership trainer and executive coach Ray Williams was a fitting coda to the conference. Decrying the “greed and hubris” he says has taken root in executive culture. Williams sets the stage for his “7 principles” of “leading from the heart” – knowing oneself, seeking to move past judgment to understanding, realizing others need what you need, letting go of the need to control people, knowing one’s impact, realizing one cannot make people follow and learning to trust.
“[The] biggest tip is to really get to know yourself well… and focus on personal growth,” Williams said, when asked about his tips for students. “Don’t focus so much on external things, like specific skills or technical stuff. You can learn that anytime.”
Student leadership panel member Colton Aston noted that going to the conference is only the first step.
“Don’t just ignore the posters or the flyers. Really take a look at some of the stuff – there are some great programs, it doesn’t have to cost you anything, there are a lot of free things that you can partake in at Kwantlen too,” said Aston, who is a Entreprenurial Leadership student.
About the Author: The Runner is owned by students and created for students. We are the premier news and culture source for students at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
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