This weekend, students and faculty across campus will attend this year’s Academy of Leadership, a conference aimed at improving the teamwork and leadership skills of faculty and student council members.
Leadership Vice President Anna McCarty-Adamson planned the conference this year after helping plan last year’s conference. She said the conference is designed to help students realize their strongest asset in a team.
“We focus on students’ strengths as individuals,” she said, “and the different skills they can develop and strengthen to become leaders in their communities and schools and in everything they do.”
She said they also work on team-building.
“We teach them to work in teams, and we teach them to work with personalities they might clash with,” she said.
Lonald Wishom, diversity and unity vice president at WSU, echoed Adamson’s remarks, saying the conference usually gives him new ideas that he incorporates into his work with others.
“I hope to learn about other people I’m working with,” Wishom said. “It teaches a lot of team-building and shows people an effective way to be a leader.”
In the past, two leadership conferences have been held every year, usually during the summer break. Adamson said she wanted to change that this year.
“We moved it, hoping we could get more students involved,” she said. “We’ve definitely seen an increase with the numbers we have.”
Some of the increase, Adamson said, comes from holding the conference while students are already on campus, rather than on vacation or working. She also said they are trying to involve students who aren’t involved in student government.
“We are really focusing on getting students who come to school, but don’t really get involved,” Adamson said.
As a member of the student council, Wishom said he often takes what he learns from the team-building exercises and uses them when working in his WSU Student Association office.
“If you get to know a little bit about the strengths others have and how they react, you can be more cognizant of that,” he said. “It shows people there are so many different components of leadership.”
WSUSA President Kyle Braithwaite said the Academy of Leadership is one of the better leadership conferences on campus.
“For one, it’s dedicated strictly to leadership training,” Braithwaite said.
This conference’s theme is “Lead Your Reality.” Two keynote speakers from off campus will be addressing the attendees on how they can lead their reality into leadership positions. There will also be many breakout sessions and a service project in conjunction with “Make a Difference Day” on Saturday.
Braithwaite, who planned last fall’s leadership conference, said he is “really proud” of Adamson and others involved in planning.
“They’ve done an awesome job,” he said.
Braithwaite said he is most excited for the team-building exercises.
“You’re always teamed up with different people,” he said. “I learn a lot more from the team-building exercises than I do working only on myself.”
On those attending who aren’t part of student council, Braithwaite said everyone can learn something from the conference.
“Regardless of what role you play in student government or in the workplace, there is always something you can learn about yourself,” he said.