My Experience at the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders 2014
“Leadership is the ability to translate what you want to see in the world.”
My ears rang with Chelsea Clinton’s opening words. Her voice rippled throughout the Grand Ballroom of the Stamp Student Union at the University of Maryland.
She continued: “Think about what angers you. Think about what inspires you and what you’re passionate about.”
I sat at the edge of my seat, intently listening, craning my neck, quite aware of the 900 other young women assembled around me. The energy and excitement were contagious, a common theme throughout the weekend.
This was early June when I had the opportunity to represent the George Washington University as an Elect Her alumna at the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL). Along with hearing Chelsea Clinton, NCCWSL’s featured speaker, we interacted with other successful women, including Women of Distinction award winners Hattie Kauffman, television anchor and news correspondent; Lily Liu, cofounder of PublicStuff; Pamela Ann Melroy, NASA astronaut; Derionne P. Pollard, President of Montgomery College; and Judy Smith, Founder and President of Smith & Company (and co-executive producer of ABC’s Scandal).
What did these accomplished women and the 900 young women at the conference have in common? We all had the drive, spirit, and dedication to be empowered. Though we came from different backgrounds, different colleges and held different points of views, we were all united in our desire and commitment to change the world.
The weekend featured several workshops, leadership activities, and networking opportunities allowing the passionate attendees to take advantage of being gathered together in one place. It was an experience unlike any other – the community we formed was incredibly diverse and burst with copious knowledge which was only matched in size by the hearts and minds of its members.
When I think about what I will take from this experience as I enter my senior year at GW, I am drawn back to Chelsea’s definition of leadership: translating what you want to see in the world.
This year, as Executive Vice President of the GW Student Association, how will I use both what angers me and impassions me to translate the vision Nick Gumas (Student Body President and another Political Communication major) and I have for the university? As a Resident Advisor this year, how will I use what irritates and inspires me to guide my relationships with my residents? As a student, how will I use my gripes and inspirations to drive my learning? And as an upcoming graduate of SMPA, how will I use these forces to better frame messages that effectively communicate enough to spur action?
Whatever the answers are to these questions, I will remember the importance of bringing people together, as NCCWSL did. Together, empowered as individuals and as a community, we can share in the necessary and important conversations—conversations that set the agenda and can inspire true action.