NOVA L.E.A.D.S. (Leadership, Education, Advocacy, Development & Service) was awarded a Virginia Community College System (VCCS) mini-conference grant for the 1st Annual Leadership Summit that was held July 10 at Junior Achievement Park. The Summit allowed its members to further develop the goals and tenets of leadership, advocacy, development and service as they relate to professional growth and career development.
One of the highlights of the Summit was a Leadership Panel that included Dr. Sharon Robertson, associate vice president of academic services, NOVA; Dr. James Perkins, former president, Blue Ridge Community College; Pamela Frederick, dean of students, Germanna Community College; and William M. Johnson, assistant vice chancellor for budget and planning, VCCS. Each panelist spoke about their path to leadership and success, addressing candidly their career choices and professional journey.
When asked about their mantra and/or philosophy for success, each panelist shared inspiring words that resonated with Summit participants. Robertson shared that she leads by example and suggested that “you do not ask for more than you are willing to do yourself.” Perkins viewed his style as “being a servant leader.” In his career, he has been most successful when he has helped others and focused on the whole, not himself as an individual. Johnson stated what helped him in his career was the realization that you “always know that you don’t know everything.” In other words, it is good to seek out the knowledge and expertise of those around you which is the only way you are going to make the best decisions. Frederick revealed that she still sees herself as “a counselor who got promoted.” She told participants to always find something interesting in what you are doing and do it to the best of your ability.
Before attending the Leadership Summit, participants were tasked with reading StrengthFinders 2.0 and completing the assessment. Part of the day included a StrengthsFinders Roundtable facilitated by Antwan Perry from Germanna Community College. The group discovered and explored their individual strengths while realizing and gaining new perspectives in how to work together as a team and best serve the community. As a result of the assessment and further roundtable discussion, participants were then able to write down and discuss their goals and how they can give back to NOVA and their community.
The successful day ended in a discussion and plan on how the group members will “pay it forward” and participate in different community service activities in the region. NOVA L.E.A.D.S. members left feeling re-focused on their goals and look forward to establishing their plans to give back to the community, building relationships among diverse professionals, and creating opportunities for collaboration.