On September 27, the Student Government Union (SGU) hosted their bi-annual leadership conference. Instead of having one day dedicated to both the workshop and the guest speaker, SGU decided to hold each event on separate days.
This year Saint Leo welcomed internationally known guest speaker and award-winning author, Tawan Perry, a remarkable individual who overcame adversity. Tawan took it upon himself to enroll in a local community college, but unfortunately, he failed both English and Math placement tests. He struggled to get out of developmental classes, and through his committed persistence he graduated. Due to his success, he traveled to various countries across the globe and has been interviewed on Fox News, NBC, ABC News, and other news broadcasting channels, giving talks and workshops centered on student leadership.
Smart strategies for college success and membership, engagement, and civility were just a few of the topics Tawan addressed. He was an interactive speaker who captivated his audience with fun and engaging activities. To kick off any presentation, why not start it off with a fun game of musical chairs? A few members of the school community participated and the audience all clapped to the beat of the Bruno Mars hit “Uptown Funk.”
Sometimes you have to fight for your chair; this was but one of the many lessons that could be taken away from the game. Tawan’s game of musical chairs imparted various useful life lessons. As students discovered while playing the game, not everyone can make it to the top, but it takes determination to try and get there.
The main focus for Tawan’s presentation was the definition of a leader. Pulling from his audience, he came up with the connotative definition that a leader brings people together.
“Leaders do not focus on scarcity but bring prosperity,” Tawan said. He then expounded on what makes up a perfect student leader. With the help of a volunteer artist from the crowd, he demonstrated how the word “leader” enlists various qualities, including strength, maturity, active listening, and heart to name a few. However, Tawan also expressed that there is no such thing as a perfect leader.
Tawan did not only come with his insight on college success, but he also brought with him one of his mentors, who also gave a compelling take on life. Millicent St. Claire gave us the truth to who we are, a “unique, one of a kind miracle of the universe.” She also taught the audience a little bit of important sign language. She taught students to sign “to let go and move on,” a mantra that some should learn to adapt.
“We have to be committed to bettering ourselves,” said St. Claire. The “Negativity and Drama Is Simply Ridiculousness” author encourages her audience to be their best self to bring out the best in others.
In her presentation, St. Claire talked about “ridiculous behavior.” 1. Listening to the voice of the other; who and what you give your ear to have an influence on thyself. 2. Holding on to the need
to be right “is simply ridiculous,” because, in life, you have to show up with a great attitude. Lead by example with optimism, passion and make the possible changes where one can.
To end the conference, Tawan spoke about membership and engagement strategies. He expounded on his 6 step process on how to maintain membership. Step 1. Compliment, step 2. Introduce yourself, step 3. Question, step 4. Invitation= features/benefits, Step 5. Close, and step 6. Get contact info. This process can be used within different student organizations.
“The experience from Tawan Perry was quite motivating. His execution was nothing short of inspirational and moved me in such a way it caused me to make changes in my life for the better,” said Jonathon Chan Jon Chu, a junior.
“I truly enjoyed the leadership event. I learned a lot about things that I deal with in my daily life involving stress. I learned to let it go and move on. It was refreshing to learn new techniques that I can apply to both of the organizations that I am actively involved in and both the president as well, IATG and Soc Club” said Andrye Austin, a senior.
The leadership conference was eye-opening and refreshing. Students enjoyed their time and the words imparted upon them by Tawan and Millicent. For further information, text “ligmo” to 50500 to be a part of Millicent’s “let it go and move on!” socially positive movement, or visit http://tawanperry.com/new/ to see Tawan in action.