November 21, 2018
by Leanne Grahn
Attending the Coalition for Collegiate Women’s Leadership Conference for the first time was honestly one of the most intimidating things I’ve had the opportunity to do in my time as a leader. Brand new in the role as my chapter’s Risk Manager, I had no idea what to expect, what I would gain, and what I could offer to such an already strong and capable group of women. However, like a kid in a candy store, I went in smiling, ready to tackle whatever the conference had to offer me.
By the time the first keynote speaker was done sharing her advice and experiences with us, all intimidation was gone, replaced only with an ever-growing excitement for what was to come. CCWL allowed me to find a new purpose in my position, providing a platform for me to not only learn innovative ways of implementing rules, but also to share ideas that were solely my own, and were proven to be beneficial to women across the southeast. There will never be a moment quite like that one, where I felt the true measure of my own confidence and knowledge.
This moment happened for me during the “Peer Perspectives” session, which required attendees to sit at tables of their choosing based on different topics, ranging from Risk Management to Recruitment. These round-table discussions provided an environment for us to engage in active conversations, sharing ideas and questions with one another. The amount of inspiration I felt walking away from this session is unmatched to anything else I’ve experienced in my time as a collegiate.
Igniting a spark was the conference theme, and from this moment on, the spark within me became a forest fire. Not only did I gain an abundance of knowledge from the women surrounding me, but I also pushed myself to continue carrying this momentum back to my chapter once returning from the conference. I began collaborating with my Standards Chair and our entire Executive Board to make these ideas a reality. Now, nearly nine months later, I have not only seen but also been a key part of improving my chapter’s bylaws, procedures, and policies; something the newly elected, pre-conference version of myself could have only dreamed of accomplishing.
So I ask you, how will you ignite a change?
Soak in every second of this conference, there will rarely be another opportunity to be surrounded by so many strong, encouraging, and capable women who are openly sharing their knowledge and experiences. Don’t just attend the Annual Conference for Greek Women Leaders, but be present; learn new ways to improve yourself, your leadership skills, and your chapter. Go to sessions that push you out of your comfort zone. A leader who is complacent is no leader at all.
Leanne is a senior studying Editing, Writing, & Media and is a member of the Beta Mu chapter of Gamma Phi Beta. She currently serves as her chapter’s Risk Management Chair and has held several other positions within her campus’ Panhellenic Association.