Heather Hamilton’s presentation began with her asking everyone in the room to raise their hand if they considered themselves a leader. Ironically enough, though I was currently attending a leadership conference, I neglected to raise my hand.
During the various sessions I attended that day, we discussed what traits we associate with being a good leader and how leadership can mean different things with different personality types. While many people typically view leaders as those with natural confidence and a strong personality, we spent the day debunking that myth.
Heather Hamilton’s presentation quotes “leadership is an action, not a position”, meaning that just because you haven’t yet been given a leadership role, doesn’t mean you can’t strive to be a leader to your community and your peers, in your everyday life.
Following the morning’s presentation, with a presentation by Tatiana Gilbert, Caitlin Orteza, and Nathan Lane. I was relieved when Nathan Lane opened by describing the same feeling that I had felt so many times before, of not belonging in these leadership roles, unsure of whether or not I was capable of fulfilling the expectations others had placed on me, and I on myself. It’s an extreme source of comfort to hear someone voice your own thoughts out loud, and even more comforting to hear that they’ve managed to overcome their fears. Caitlin Orteza shared a similar sentiment, reassuring us all that even shy and anxious people can come to leadership roles; it’s all about approaching leadership in a way that best suits you. Tatiana, Caitlin, and Nathan continued their presentation, concluding with a message that, the most important part of leadership is building community, as well as, listening and working with others.
Needless to say by the end of the day, I was definitely rethinking my answer to the morning’s question. I had a wonderful time at TRU’s first Leadership Conference, and it truly made me view “leadership” in a new light.