The Excellence in Leadership Conference, hosted by Troy University’s Freshman Forum, was held on Thursday, October 2. High school leaders from all across the state and surrounding areas engaged in leadership sessions and activities focusing on “Leading Beyond Borders.”
Freshman Forum students and directors facilitated aspects of the conference by taking on roles such as group leaders, transitioners, and runners.
Ashli Morris, a freshman broadcast journalism major from Athens and Freshman Forum President, describes her group leader role as helping students become acquainted with one another and discussing more in depth the principles taught by the speakers.
“My role was to help students get comfortable with each other and further discuss the topics our speakers presented in order to ensure that the students could apply the lessons they learned to their own schools, communities and lives, “ said Morris.
Session speakers encouraged students to be creative in their problem-solving efforts locally, statewide and globally. Others stressed the importance of professionalism in developing a resume and in other correspondence with colleges, the significance of cultural diversity and the influence and interconnectivity of leaders.
“Be an influencer” because “leading is vital’ but “typically the heavy work is done by followers,” urged Chris Shannon, lecturer and associate director for the Institute for Leadership Development. He said that students should stay focused and express conviction, commitment and courage.
John Kline, director of Troy’s Institute for Leadership Development, said the key aspects of servant leadership included character, competency and confidence.
“The tips that the students were given were definitely applicable, and students left with a better understanding of how to transfer leadership from high school to college and beyond,” said Margaret White, a freshman elementary education major from Huntsville and Secretary of Freshman Forum.
The John Kline Excellence in Leadership award was granted to Katie Connolly, senior of Baldwin County High School in Bay Minette. The award is given to “a student leader of Alabama that has exemplified all of the attributes, and also the qualities, attitude and servant hood of an outstanding Troy University leader.”
“Our aim was to further strengthen the leadership skills of the students who attended the conference, and I believe we accomplished that, ”said Morris.