NCCPA LEAD conference comes to Guilford


Naari Honor

Individuals from Guilford County attended the North Carolina’s College Personnel Associations 2017 Lead, Explore, Accomplish, Discover conference which was hosted on campus this past Saturday, February 18.

“It is not the position or role that defines us as a leader,” said keynote speaker Dr. Marin Burton a senior faculty member for Societal Advancement at the Center for Creative Leadership. Some attendees had traveled from Wilmington to join and others were from a wide array of areas of expertise at Guilford College.

On Saturday, February 18, 2017, Guilford hosted North Carolina’s College Personnel Associations 2017 LEAD conference. The NCCPA’s president and Assistant Academic Dean for Career Development Alan Mueller said the event was created out of a need to aid student leaders in North Carolina.

“(NCCPA’s) focus is to provide support for student affairs professionals,” said Mueller. “LEAD started about 15 years ago and what led that was a question of what are we doing for state leaders?”

Burton kicked the morning off with a lively inspirational talk that discussed key principles to being a good leader. She shared pivotal moments in her life that helped to develop her into a successful leader equipped to share her tools for success with aspiring leaders that sat in the audience before her.

“Believe you are powerful for the good,” said Burton.

Additionally, Burton encouraged students to be consistent, to lead for a positive end, to understand that one’s beliefs drive initiatives and to remember that actions always speak louder than words. She drove this point home with a comedic demonstration.

“Everyone make the OK symbol with your fingers,” said Burton. “Now place it on your chin”

However, Burton held her hand to her cheek and most the audience followed her movement. When she asked the audience to look at their neighbor and find their chin, the audience burst into laughter because a majority were holding their hands to their cheek and not their chin as she had asked.

Burton explained that no one was wrong, they were just given two sets of commands, verbal and behavioral. However, her little joke proved that actions spoke louder than her words, something, that as leaders, we all must be aware of.

The lessons for the day did not end in Joseph M. Bryan Jr. Auditorium. The attendees had the opportunity to participate in three different 50-minute sessions throughout the day that tackled a variety of subjects school administrators and student leaders face within their fields.

“Turning Today’s Leader into Tomorrow’s Boss,” taught by Assistant Director for Student Life at Guilford Technical Community College Pamela Pinnix, not only discussed proper interviewing etiquette and debunked resume myths but also provided tips on how students could use experience they didn’t think was noteworthy into credible jib experience.

“You weren’t just a cashier,” said Pinnix. “You were a handler of money for customer service needs.”

Pinnix also suggested, when composing resumes that attendees list conferences as training, only list relevant work experience for the job, use 10 to 12-point Arial font as New Times Roman had become outdated, and utilize page space appropriately.

Attendees were surprised when she debunked the myth that resumes should be one page long. According to Pinnix, experience can weigh heavily on resume length.

Discussions on interviewing techniques, proper interviewing attire and next steps after the job interview were hot topics as well.

Sarah Grossman, a sophomore from Wesleyan North Carolina College, wondered how one would go about making themselves stand out in a group interview.

“Group interviews are about how well you can interact with people,” said Pinnix. “Be super polite and super confident. Make them ask you questions.”

Some individuals in the audience expressed their fears and nervousness when it came to the interviewing process. However, one student felt the complete opposite.

“If you know who you are as a person, then there is no need to be scared (in an interview),” said Angelique Taylor, a junior at Wesleyan North Carolina College.

Unfortunately, one of the originally scheduled workshops to be held during the first session of the conference was cancelled. However, Mueller, who also works as an improv comic held an improv session where he also demonstrated his lota Phi Theta frat stepping skills for the masses. Now that is quick leadership thinking on your toes, literally. The video can be seen floating around on Twitter.

Mueller also held a workshop during the second session of the conference entitled, “What Leadership is NOT!” where he left attendees with one powerful lesson.

“It’s all about the movement,” said Mueller. “Leadership is about the movement. If leadership is not about the movement, then it may not be about real leadership.”

The 2017 LEAD conference served many purposes: new friendships, a renewed sense of purpose, creative ideas and the start of a new beginning for many. But one thing was crystal clear. Even in leadership, it is never about the one, but the power of many.