I am beyond thankful for the opportunity to attend and represent SUNY New Paltz at the BGS summit in Dallas, Texas last year. At this summit, I networked with like-minded student leaders and rising business professionals from all over the globe. These people defined leadership not in words, but by their actions. They were passionate about leaving a mark on the world and had taken initiatives to solve the problems around them, both locally and globally. It was an honor to share their motivation and learn from their successes and failures.
If it were not for this conference, I would not have known what my greatest strengths are. But, before we arrived, we were asked to complete an assessment that would help us identify our top five strengths. For me those are restorative, learner, communication, positivity, and individualization. I gained experience and new found insight into the development and application of the following leadership skills: influence, persuasion, strengths based leadership, ethical leadership, data analysis, presentation skills, personal inquiry, social consciousness, entrepreneurship, team development, group communication, networking, problem solving, and vision for the future. Although there was a competition element to the summit, we focused more on what we could learn from each other. I was paired with team members who had different strengths than me, and it was exciting to work with them when coming up with a solution to the problem we were presented.
This summit brought the business world to life in front of my eyes, which sometimes doesn’t happen in a classroom setting. It allowed me to define my biggest strengths and gave me the confidence to use them to my fullest advantage. When I returned to school after this conference, I was able to engage myself in my classes in a way I had never done before. The semester after this conference, my team won the Entrepreneurship and Business Plan contest hosted on campus, and I think this is partially because of the skills I gained from the BGS summit. The most valuable part of this experience was listening to the stories of successful academic, corporate, and non-profit leaders who were once in my shoes. I learned that anything is possible as long as I have the confidence and passion to work towards my goals.