OP: Changing the game – UCCSlead brings out your inner leader

17 September 2019

Douglas Androsiglio

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What comes to mind when you think about leadership? You may think of certain qualities of a leader, like confidence or assertiveness. You might also be thinking of certain people who exhibit those qualities. They could even be people you know in your personal life. All of these are perfectly fine examples of leaders and leadership. Have you ever wondered, though, if YOU could be a leader?

If you’re anything like me, you entertained the thought and dismissed it. Not because you didn’t want to, but because you don’t believe you can.

Cristal L. McGill is a professional speaker who specializes in engaging seminars on shaping leaders of all kinds. She was one of the main speakers at the UCCSlead event. When I asked her who the target audience of the seminar was, she told me that UCCSlead reaches out to those who don’t believe that they are leaders.

UCCSlead is open to all undergraduates interested in attending, yet it is aimed at those who are inexperienced or unsure of themselves and their abilities (i.e. freshmen). Truth is, anyone can be a leader. That’s what I learned when I attended the “UCCSlead – Game Changer” seminar earlier this month.

Game Changer is an all-day event that is filled with different activities, presentations and discussions geared toward bringing out that inner leader.

The day started with a light breakfast and some ice breakers. Then we learned about various opportunities to flex our skills as future leaders through joining the many clubs, organizations and jobs the UCCS campus has to offer.

In the manual given to me at the beginning of the event, they defined leadership as, “the process by which a person influences others to accomplish a task.” In other words, leadership is not just a position to be held. It all starts with the actions one takes to inspire others.

As the morning turned into afternoon, we formed small groups, met our peer leader and participated in more activities and discussion. The second half of the day focused less on what leadership means and more on how to be leaders in our own lives.

The activities of the seminar are designed to bring us out of our shells. They were silly and fun, rather than serious and dry like you might expect. Their purpose made more sense to me as the day went on. I also really enjoyed the discussions I had with my group and peer leader.

I caught up with the program director for UCCSlead, Sloan Gonzales, and asked her to define leadership. To which she replied: “To me, leadership means being active and engaged in your community.” But how does one act like a leader? It all boils down to the example you set for others.

Whether you know it or not, people pay attention to you and what you do. By taking a positive initiative in your life, no matter how small the action, people will take notice. And there you go. You just influenced others to do the same.

Is “UCCSlead – Game Changer” worth eight hours of a perfectly good Saturday? It depends.

It is geared to the younger, freshmen class. Yet, as a junior myself, even I came away from it more cognizant of ways I can improve myself. Most importantly, I realized just how much of a leader I already am.