January 27, 2019

Going to CCWL two years in a row has caused me to grow so much more than I could have ever imagined. The first time I went, I was shy and reserved. I had just gotten into my position and was more nervous than I probably have ever been. I wasn’t sure how I attained my position or how to execute my role, and I generally lacked self-confidence. Looking back, I didn’t take full advantage of my first experience. Sure, I took the notes and went back to school with a lot of ideas and excitement. But, I didn’t truly take in the whole experience and utilize the resources and network the conference provides.

A few weeks after the conference, I found myself missing it and really wishing I could go back and try harder to meet new people, make connections with others in the same position as me, and network with vendors and speakers. I was ecstatic when I realized I would be on the Panhellenic Council at Montevallo for a second time because it meant I had the opportunity to attend the conference again. This time, I was more confident in my leadership abilities and a little less nervous to be attending with hundreds of other Greek women leaders. Leading up to my return to CCWL, I set some goals for myself:

  1. 1. Meet at least three new people.
  2. 2. Have meaningful conversations with some of the vendors who could benefit me in the future.
  3. 3. Allow the conference leave as big of a mark on me as it could.

While I wanted the conference to leave an impact on me, I was unsure of what that would look like. Was it going to be something a speaker said that completely changed my perspective on a topic? Was I going to connect with a vendor or sponsor and finally decide what I want to do when I graduate college? While I did find these things in some respects, the biggest impact the conference had on me centered around my professional development and the confidence I gained from the experience of becoming a Conference Coordinator.

Heading into the conference, I didn’t even think about applying. There wasn’t any reason that I shouldn’t, other than I thought I’d never get chosen. At the Affiliation Meet and Greet, I met some sweet sisters who were also their council’s Conference Ambassadors. We went to the meeting and sat with each other and they talked me into taking the first step and at least applying. They told me that even if I decided not to go to my interview, I wouldn’t even have the chance if I didn’t apply at all.

The first full day of the 2018 conference, I went to my spotlight session and immediately knew this year was going to be different. I met the kindest Greek woman and we immediately made a connection; she knew and was affiliated with the same organization as my cousin. We spent the session getting to know each other, encouraging and building each other up. Our speaker had us discuss goals and conflicts that we had in our lives. Though I didn’t mention my interview during our discussion, the connection we made in our session sparked my love for the conference and motivated me to go to the interview. What did I have to lose? If I didn’t get chosen, at least it was interview experience. I would never know if I didn’t try.

A short while after my interview, I received a text from one of the conference coordinators. I was terrified and thrilled all at once! She asked me to meet her in the lobby and my heart pounded all the way there. I was ecstatic to learn I would be a Conference Coordinator for the 2019 Annual Conference. I was, and still am, on top of the world. I’ve met and interacted with some of the most amazing women since attending my first conference in 2017! Now, I am able to give back to this conference that gave me so much, and let it continue to leave its mark on me.

Don’t miss the 2019 Annual Conference for Greek Women Leaders! Register now.

And, if you’re interested in volunteering with CCWL, consider applying for the 2020 Collegiate Leadership Council.

About Celia Venable
Celia is pursuing a degree in Communication Studies with double minors in Public Relations and Marketing at the University of Montevallo. She is a member of Phi Mu Fraternity and has served on her campus’s Panhellenic Council as the Administrative Vice President and President. She is involved in several other campus and local organizations, as well.