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This post will be a little different than usual, because I spent a good portion of the past week in sweltering Tucson, Arizona at a conference! Despite my reservations about the 111 degree weather, it turned out to be a wonderfully refreshing and transformative leadership retreat.

Prior to enrolling in the Carolina MPA program, I was employed as a Collegiate Leadership Consultant for Gamma Phi Beta Sorority. As a CLC, I served as an international representative of Gamma Phi Beta, providing leadership training, guiding chapters in self-assessment, facilitating workshops, and assisting with recruitment processes. Post-employment, I now volunteer as a Chapter Advisor for Gamma Phi Beta at Coastal Carolina University in Myrtle Beach. In addition to supporting the efforts of chapter officers and supervising a full advisory board, I am able to participate in amazing leadership development opportunities throughout the year!

Last week’s event was the REAL Leadership Institute, which is a “four-day in-person leadership event for Gamma Phi Beta volunteers, professional staff, and chapter advisors. The purpose of this conference is to provide the opportunity to enhance existing talents and develop relevant skills essential to volunteering and working for Gamma Phi Beta.” The weekend began with a keynote address by Alexis Jones, the founder of I AM THAT GIRL, about how to be a “modern girl on a mission.” Her inspiring talk was the perfect introduction to the weekend’s programming: learning about how to use positive habits to improve efficiency, effectively train advisory boards, and prevent sexual misconduct on college campuses. Ginny Carroll, a nonprofit consultant and the founder of Circle of Sisterhood, also led us in a DiSC Preview assessment. For those of you who know me, you likely won’t be surprised to hear that my dominant behavioral style is C (conscientiousness), followed by S (steadiness). This result means that I emphasize quality, accuracy, expertise, and competency; but that I also value cooperation, sincerity, and dependability.

In a break from the conference, I was able to admire the beautiful Catalina Foothills!

I’ll spare you the details of each session, but let it suffice to say that I will certainly be able to apply my learning to my personal, professional, and academic life. It was fascinating to make connections between Gamma Phi Beta’s programming and our MPA courses (especially Organization Theory and Human Resource Management). It was also thought-provoking to draw connections between the conference and Girls on the Run, which just so happens to be Gamma Phi Beta’s philanthropic partner. I thoroughly enjoy how my life is well-rounded and yet fits together perfectly, just like a puzzle. Each aspect of my life – Carolina MPA, Girls on the Run, and Gamma Phi Beta – stands alone but still influences the other aspects through the acquisition of knowledge, professional development, and life experiences.

I came away from this conference remembering that a REAL leader is responsible, ethical, authentic, and lifelong – and this is how I try to frame my own leadership journey. It might also remind you of some key elements in the Girls on the Run vision statement: empowerment, responsibility, intentionality, diversity, connectedness, joy, optimism, gratitude, nurturing, healthy, open-hearted, and compassion. Perhaps that’s why my Professional Work Experience is such a perfect fit for me!

I’ve covered all of the Girls on the Run values during my weekly highlights, so I’m going to be making the rounds again. This week, there’s nothing more relevant than the GOTR value of “nurturing our physical, emotional, and spiritual health.” Gamma Phi Beta truly fills my cup – and weekends like this remind me how important it is to reconnect with something that lights up my life and energizes me to chase my dreams! I hope that, this week, you all get to nurture your own health – whether physical, emotional, or spiritual – and partake in something that fills your cup, too.

The opinions expressed here are solely my opinions. Content published here is not read or approved by Girls on the Run® International and does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Girls on the Run® International.

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