As we start a new year already looking ahead to our next conference, we want to share a few looks back. Today, we’re sharing with you a paper our intern Mike Cronin wrote while at the conference. Which of the lessons shared below resonated with you the most?

Value. As I write this paper, a man is on stage in the next room talking about it. He is talking about value and cost: what they mean, and how we live every day, down to the details of buying even the simplest things. Do we need this, or do we want people to see we have it? For me this is a paper on an experience costing me nothing more than a few questions and hours to write. On the other hand, for you Professor Malfitano, this paper may, or may not, have value.

This conference came about from Nancy Hunter Denny and her ability to create. As a collegiate leadership speaker, she has seen the good and the bad of leadership conferences, and knew that she could do much better. Her friends and colleagues jumped to be a part of this, which had its first conference this past March (and its second this past week). For this paper I asked these people what they wanted these students to take away from the conference.

Judson Laipply is famous. You probably don’t know his name, but you have definitely seen a YouTube video of his: The Evolution of Dance. His response to my question was “that our choices are more of a reflection of our values than our words.”

Dr. Maura Cullen, an authority figure on diversity and leadership (and also a board member for Lead365) said that she “would love for them to understand the concept of intent verses impact.”

Paul Brown, a social media expert, said that “social media perverts reality” and that everyone gets presents perfected images and consumes perfected images. He wants these students of leadership to know better and be better.

Joshua Fredenburg had one word to say, “Purpose”. These speakers have come from around the country to speaker at this little conference of 380 student leaders, where I can guarantee they are not making money, to give back and help repurpose the leaders in our colleges and these future leaders of tomorrow. Dr. Lucy Croft, who is the associate Vice-President for Student Affairs at the University of North Florida said that she wants these student leaders “feeling empowered to make a difference and making their vision come to fruition.”

Students came from around the country and Mexico too, to take part in an experience that was put on by the elite in collegiate leadership. For me, this was just a part of my internship, to help others have an experience that they will not soon forget and can use to build their soft leadership skills. Lastly, what I hoped these students took away is optimism. People will forget what you said, what you did, but that they will never forget how you made them feel and if all they took optimism in their ability to make a difference in one life, a hundred or the world then we did our job.

We want to hear your reflections on the conference too! Have you put what you learned in Orlando into action? Let us know!

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