Marymount Majors at the VFIC Women’s Leadership Conference

By Kembry McNeil-Thompson

The only way to become a great leader is to take the next step.

English and Criminal Justice Majors Kembry (left) and Naiya (right) at the VFIC Women's Leadership Conference

English and Criminal Justice Majors Kembry (left) and Naiya (right) at the VFIC Women’s Leadership Conference

At the beginning of November, I found myself in Richmond, Virginia, with nearly a dozen other Marymount women, en route to participate in the first annual Women’s Leadership Conference hosted by the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges [VFIC]. The foundation is partnered with roughly 14 colleges and universities around the northern and northwestern Virginia area, and each of the universities sent a few recommended students to Richmond to represent them at the conference.

The women’s leadership conference spanned three days, each packed full of leadership sessions, socializing, professional development, and fun. Each day consisted of a number of engaging sessions on topics ranging from mindfulness to networking to being a woman in the workplace and more, as well as free time and icebreaker activities. Each session was delivered by a woman who was in a leadership position of her own, and some of the speakers were from the many companies that sponsored the event. There were opportunities to connect with a number of powerful, inspirational women, and there was also time to connect with people from your own school as well as others.

So much transpired over the course of those three days that it is hard to try to sum it up, but there are three major takeaways that I will not forget from my VFIC experience: 1) there is no one way to be a leader, 2) you must lead by example, taking care of yourself as you do others, and 3) there are opportunities, adventures, and memories around every corner. Being a leader encompasses so much more than what we previously grew up believing, and the only way to become a great leader is to take the next step.

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