2013 ACUI Women’s Leadership Institute Reflection and Impact

Last week I attended ACUI’s Women’s Leadership Institute. The event was held at theĀ Ritz Carlton on Amelia Island in Florida. You cannot beat the beauty and comfort of the location! The content was wonderful, the people were amazing, the food was to die for and the views were breathtaking.

I attended with expectations of having my mind blown by the content of the experience and the opportunity to meet new people. What happened instead, has had my head spinning for the last few days.

My group arrived at the hotel five minutes before I was scheduled to meet up with a few others who were also attending the conference. I rushed to my room, literally threw on appropriate attire and raced to the meeting location nearly out of breath. From there, dinner were served and the networking with new people began. As an introvert who rushed into the event, it took me a few minutes of observing others before I caught on to how I should behave in this environment. I began to slowly make connections while internally editing my behavior in relation to others. The night ended much later than my usual bedtime – it had been a busy but good time to this point.

The following day, a more typical conference style structure provided me with a bit of comfort. I took in what was being shared. Shared my thoughts and dreams with small groups and took time for an afternoon run to reflect. Again, the night ended much later than my usual bedtime – the good time continued.

I found my grove the next day. I branched out and interacted with many more people as well as shared more and more of my thoughts during the small group time. The content was seamlessly orchestrated and I was finally riding the high I had expected. Another afternoon run provided more endorphins to fuel my conference high. That night, however, was brutal.

My roommate was a woman I had never met in person. As it turns out, we were a perfect match and hit it off from the beginning. Candace Denning is an amazing woman! We had been engaging in great conversation each night thus far. This night was not any different; until she unintentionally and unknowingly shoved me off the proverbial cliff with one short sentence: “You will find your voice.”

Hearing that sentence was like my mind running full speed into a closed glass door. I asked for clarification and she explained. Her feedback was legit and continues to haunt my thoughts. To steal an out of context quote from the movie Juno, “What does that even mean? I continue to reflect and journal on this one sentence and what it means for me.

I am grateful for my roommate and that sentence for creating the most meaningful experience of the institute for me. My reflection on that little sentence is far from complete but, thanks to my roomie, it has at least begun!

#WLI13 wasn’t what I expected. It was so much more!

Have you ever had someone make one small statement to you that quickly altered your thinking?

Until next time, keep it real and keep showing up!