Communication in Leadership

     COM 461L is a class taken with our cohort in the second semester of our Sophomore year. Out of all the LAS classes we are required to take, this class was the best class for becoming better leaders, learning a lot of valuable skills, and putting them into action with the leadership roles we have around campus. Our professor was so awesome and I highly enjoyed taking her class. The class allowed for a lot of conversations on the information presented in class. We learned the many ways that communication is a very important part of Leadership. We also learned that leadership needs communication, even non-verbal communication, but to communicate one does not always need to have leadership skills. 

     Throughout the class, we would have to do a reading every week. These readings consisted of many leadership situations and how they played out. They were in things like businesses, expeditions, and simply leading a group of people. All of these people had unique leadership skills, and some even misused or did not have the skills necessary to be successful. The readings provided many different ways that leadership can be effective and not effective, while also being interesting and showing great examples.

     I definitely enjoyed the class and learned a lot. I was able to expand on the knowledge I had already, and was able to expand on it even more. I think these skills will help me in the future with my future leadership endeavors. I will continue to improve on these skills even after the class concludes. I never have a bad experience taking a class with the LAS cohort and this class did not prove to be an exception. This was one of my favorite classes of the semester and I am glad I was able to take it.

Connections on Connections

Connections Leadership Conference is an event put on by the Leadership Institute that takes 15o leaders on campus, including all LAS freshman and students involved in RSOs, student council, and other groups on campus,  to advance our Leadership skills and make connections with our fellow CMU leaders. We woke up on November 7th to travel up to Traverse City and stay at the Great Wolf Lodge. I was ready to listen to some great speakers, connect with Central Michigan students, and of course get a little wet at the water park. As i traveled on the bus, I did not quite know what I was getting myself into, this being my first conference, but I left 2 days later on the same bus thinking just how great my first conference was.

I learned a great deal at Connections Conference. I attended four speakers at Connections. The first speaker talked about our D.A.M.N, then I attended Power of Positive Change: Start the Ball Rolling, Fierce Conversations, and Gaining Momentum on the Grid. I highly enjoyed every Speaker I went to and my favorite by far still was Fierce Conversations(I have a blog specifically about this so check it out). After the first night we got to have a fun night at the water park. Following all the fun we got to play a game that allowed us to mingle with all the CMU students here at the Conference.

For being my first Conference, I’d have to say it was quite a good one. I enjoyed every Speaker that I attended. The food was great despite what I had heard. How could I not enjoy, I mean anything you do surrounded by fellow Chippewas will be a good time. Overall, Connections was a great experience and if i would ever get an opportunity to be more involved in it I would in a heart beat.Thank you LAS and CMU for the opportunity as always!

image

Chase and I looking good at Connections.

 

A Spark of Leadership

The Spark Leadership series is put on by the Leadership Institute to give students a passion for Leadership and make connections with other students. Spark is a four week program that is 2 hours every Thursday night. More info can be obtained here. LAS is required to attend once our Freshman year. I enjoyed the experience and hope to be able to be a co-coordinator in the future.

Spark started with a presentation from our coordinators, followed by getting into our groups. I was lucky enough to be on Team Collaborated lead by Sophomore LASers James Barber and Angie Distelrath.

image

Team Collaboration!!

 

We got to do some activities to bond with our group. The next week got to learn our Leadership styles. I am a Direct Leader which means … The third session was a Challenge day with our groups. Each person got their chance to take a lead on a challenge. I love participating in team challenges like this. I love a good challenge and enjoy the comradery you feel in succeeding in a group. The last day of Spark put everything we learned and know about Leadership into one activity. Everyone was split into two groups that were given different cultures, ways of speaking, and rules to follow. It is hard to explain in full, but basically the culture I was in started every confrontation with a hug and asking about a male in their life. You proceded to play a card game. Students from the other group came over to participate in our group which lead to mass confusion. Personally, if you did not get to visit the other group the activity did not have much of an effect on me. This also might have been due to me being sick.

Overall, I thought Spark was a good event and I am happy I got to participate. The best part of my experience was being able to learn about my Leadership style. Now that I know my style I can work on my weaknesses and continue to do the things I do well. Spark is just one of the many things the Leadership Institute puts on to spread Leadership throughout campus at the wonderful Central Michigan University.

Mentor/Mentee Retreat

Every year during the second weekend being up at CMU the incoming LAS class and all of their Mentors go on a retreat to Eagle village in Evart, Michigan. This is a fantastic thing we do as a part of the LAS protocol. The first two weeks of college are very tiring and full of new experiences. This weekend is used to finally get to spend some great time with our Mentors who we are paired with to help us get through this transition. I was lucky enough to also have a brother in this process. My Mentor is Bellal Ammar and my “twin” so we say is Nate Stempky.

image

Bellal(middle), Nate(left), and me!

I was ready to have an amazing weekend of leadership and bonding and i was not let down!

The retreat started with breaking into small groups and us sharing our Road Maps which was a basic outline of big events in our life. We would be in these groups throughout the week. Each day we got to participate in one large event. The first day we got to go on a High Ropes course. It was a great experience and got to test people in many different aspects whether you were afraid to be suspended that high or challenged yourself such as doing certain parts blindfolded. After the activity got over we got free time to bond with both classes of LAS. I spent most of this time playing volleyball which was a blast! We ended the night by having a bonfire together and moving all of the mattresses into the main room and having a big slumber party. The first day was definitely a success with tons of bonding! The next day my group had some leadership activities we went through. We did 4 activities included having to move different sized tires from 3 poles with many rules that made it a challenge and getting everyone across a fake river of tree stumps. We ended the day on going over peoples best memories, what they learned, and some reflection. To see a video of our trip click here.

I had such a memorable time at Eagle River with my class of LAS and the sophomore class! This is just the start of the bond that I will form with all of these fantastic people. It was great to see how close the Sophomore class was and them telling us how that will be us. The future is bright and I am excited to participate in the Mentor/Mentee retreat next year as a Sophomore with my own mentee and to spend the next four years with the LAS class of 2015 at the wonderful Central Michigan University.

 

Leadership Safari

Leadership Safari is a great way for incoming freshman and transfer students to get introduced to Central Michigan University’s campus and meet many incoming freshman. Leadership Safari started in 1996 when it had 65 students to 2014 with 1,976 students and even more in 2015. I am lucky to have been able to attend the program this year. I was a participant this year and hope to be a part of the staff this upcoming year. Coming into Safari, I was worried if I would like my group and if I would actually meet anyone cool. I had seen the video from the year before and had high expectations but a little doubt always comes with that.

The very first night of Safari, we got to meet with our groups and introduce ourselves. The first two days we were pretty separated form our groups. On the third day we started being with our groups most of the day and we started to gel. By the end of Safari our group was very close and I feel as if i could ask any of them for help or their opinion. A big point that was being pushed during Safari was that everyone has a story and you can not tell that by just looking at them. All groups are random and many activities work to put you in groups with people you do not know and forces you to participate. This helps you learn more people and put yourself out there.

I think this event was very eye opening and gives you an advantage coming into college that someone who didn’t participate would not receive. We got to talk a lot about how the world is avery judgemental place where people are judged before someone has time to get to know them. I am going to personally work on not judging anyone by appeatance and give them a chance to show their personality before I come to conclusions. I think anyone can benefit by having this mindset. In my opinion this is an important trait for a leader to have. They must gain relationships to have more of an effect on somebody and for them to listen to what you have to say. I am very happy to have had this experience at Leadership Safari and can not wait for many more in my time at the wonderful Central Michigan University.

image2