Conference Review: Circle of Change
Saturday, October 22, 2011
After the first day of the conference, all feelings of anxiety and nervousness were replaced with excitement and eagerness to begin the second day. The UMass team entered at 8:15AM sharp, the only group who had shown up early and ready to start the day. We were enthusiastic for the day ahead of us of great speakers, case study presentations, and the opportunity to meet every individual in the room.
The morning began with video clips of Marcus Buckingham’s “Trombone Player Wanted”. These videos shared tips and techniques on how to attain your goals by playing to your strengths, while also inspiring and effectively leading others. Once the video had finished, the Master of Ceremony, Mark Hartley, welcomed everyone and the day commenced with an opening keynote speech from Noel Massie, president of the UPS central California district. To be in the presence of such an accomplished individual, and have him share his experiences of hard work through perseverance, learning from his challenges, making every situation an opportunity, and sharing his keys to success with myself and the other individuals in the same room was beyond words. Mr. Massie identified and shared with us 10 key concepts that every individual should have in order to be a great leader and a successful individual: a winner’s attitude, intention, purpose, passion, a plan, resolve, responsibility, being conscious of your words and actions and finally, hanging out with peers that emulate success. After Mr. Massie’s powerful speech, Mark Hartley arranged for everyone to meet with their case study groups to prepare for the presentations later on in the day. My group’s case study involved an imaginary high school in which there was a lack of school spirit, grades and attendance has been continuously declining, and with a recent shooting, the safety of both students and staff were in question.
My team and I ran to the campus library to create a PowerPoint presentation and frantically brainstormed on ideas and programs to address the challenges of our case study.
I was extremely excited with the project. We collaborated and brainstormed even though we have just met. Everyone “played to their strengths,” and presented our fictitious developmental program on Crestview Valley High. As each of the five groups presented, everyone received useful feedback from the room’s facilitators. Everyone was asked to cast a vote for the strongest presentation, with winners being notified after lunch. My team had a great feeling about our chances. During lunch, I spoke with various students about their majors, goals, campus activities and organizations (especially if they were similar to CMASS), if this was their first conference in attendance, and their opinions of the days before and ahead of us. I spoke of my experiences of not only being a UMass student and how I was highly involved with CMASS on campus, but my love and passion for meeting people from all walks of life, continuously learning of new cultures and languages, my goals and aspirations after I graduate, and how the conference has been so life-changing.
After lunch, everybody gathered to find out who made the final round for the case study competition. Mark Hartley called up group numbers, my group members and heard him call the last group, 19. I jumped up and screamed, excited that the three of us were able to compete in the final round of the case studies. Even more exciting, every group that was selected to compete had a UMass student! It was a proud moment for all of us.
Following the excitement, the afternoon began with keynote speaker, Dr. Will Keim. Dr. Keim’s speech touched on his personal experiences, relating to college, parenting, public speaking, morals and ethics, and the experiences that life grants you. His emotional speech was deep and thought-provoking, sharing intimate details of how he overcame adversity, and was able to build resiliency in attaining his goals and becoming successful. Though there was a comedic approach to his speech, Dr. Keim was able to demonstrate and illustrate the successful techniques one must adhere to and build in order to effectively obtain one’s goals.
After Dr. Keim’s speech, the mid-afternoon session included attending a leadership panel of your choice. Amongst the many, I chose the Business Leadership Panel, which featured Brand Managers, CEOs, Presidents and Vice Presidents from companies such as Hewlett Packard, Alloy Access, San Diego District Attorney, and UPS, to name a few. Though I didn’t have the traditional background in business, I was able to take away key points, techniques, and skills from the panel of businesspeople. I learned the importance of developing community relations regardless of the type of business industry (such as restaurant, services, or traders). Notably, it was equally empowering to hear from a panel of racial/ethnic minorities who shared how they overcame personal challenges and their journey towards success.
Then it was time for the case study competition final! I was nervous, as my group and I were the first ones to present. At the end of our presentation, the judges commended our group for stirring participation within our demonstration, a challenging and sometimes overlooked practice. In addition to compliments, we also received useful feedback of how to better enhance our presentation for future situations, such as incorporating graphs and data charts.
Following dinner, the evening session included another opportunity to attend leadership panels. I was super excited to be able to attend the education panel because it allowed me to speak with fellow educators and hear of their experiences and stories of how they came about becoming successful. From the panel, I learned about how to serve as the leader you imagine to be, especially with the help of mentorship and guidance. I learned from the panel that one of the best ways at “becoming good at what you want to be” is by having internships, volunteering, and interviewing people absorbing all their information and advice. Like many of the keynote speakers and panels that I heard from and conversed with, I was strongly encouraged to hang out and learn from individuals who are successful and in positions which I would like to attain.
The night was ending with real-life “Dating Doctor”, keynote speaker Dave Coleman! Dave gave a hilarious speech on relationships, speaking of how it is of most importance to treat every individual with respect and kindness. After hearing and listening from the nationally-acclaimed speaker, I took away key tips to build stronger relationships professionally and personally.
The closing ceremony ended with revealing of who the winning group of the case study competition final. Regardless if my group was the winning team, I was extremely proud of how UMass Amherst was strongly represented at the Circle of Change Conference; we owned the floor by being active in all the exercises like that of the case study, asking phenomenal questions from the panel of leadership speakers, actively engaging, networking, and building rapport with the panelists, keynote speakers, conference organizer and keynote speaker Joshua Fredenburg, and the other student groups and representatives, and learning invaluable information which we plan to share with the UMass community, our peers, campus organizations, friends, and family. After a long held silence, Mark revealed group number 18 as the winner of the case study competition! UMass Amherst came back with winners, future leaders, students that gained immeasurable knowledge that’s going to be shared with the UMass community, and a clearer and more distinct vision of obtaining all our endeavors. The Circle of Change Conference has changed my life. I could not have a more clear vision of my goals, with outlined, identifiable steps needed in order to achieve my goals. I could not have the hunger for success mentality had I not attended this conference with the help of UMass Amherst and organizations like CMASS.
Certificate in Latin American and Carribean Studies, 2012
Visit our gallery for pictures from the event.