Samantha Riley is proud new member of the Class of 2016 College Leadership Rhode Island, and she's surrounded by stellar company, motivation and the promise of being a part of something inspirational.
I am a leadership conference addict.
There I said it. To be honest, I am not quite sure if I have ever heard those two words used in the same sentence before today but there is not a more suitable phrase than that to describe me. Ever since the ripe young age of 13, when I was invited to my first one, I never revolved back. Around March, I became aware of an opportunity to participate in a leadership conference titled College Leadership Rhode Island. After extensive research, I began to understand how significant, powerful and impactful College Leadership Rhode Island and its parent organization, Leadership Rhode Island, truly were. Leadership Rhode Island boasts an impressive array of past participants that consist of high-ranking politicians, CEO’s and other important frontrunners. In addition, it has had a role in one notable project, initiative and collaboration after another, throughout the state. Leadership Rhode Island understood that in order for Rhode Island to reach its full potential, the young adults of tomorrow had to prepared to be leaders as well, thus in 2004, College Leadership Rhode Island was born.
From that point, I submitted my application into an already competitive pool of candidates, successfully navigated my way through multiples stages of interviews and much to my delight, was formally accepted as a member of the 2016 class in the beginning of the summer. In all, 37 other undergraduates, graduate students or recent graduates from Rhode Island received the same uplifting news on that fateful day. 11 of those selected represent Johnson & Wales University, myself included, with there being seven undergraduates, one graduate student and three recent graduates.
Flash forward a few months to Friday, September 9th at 9:00am in the Lincoln, Rhode Island Amica Mutual Insurance Headquarters, home to the first of four sessions. The sessions will amalgamate community & social issues, civic engagement & the business community, community leadership, and public service into the three central topics of nonprofit, for-profit and government sectors in Rhode Island. The participants will congregate once a month on a Friday for the entire fall semester before being awarded a certificate for successful completion of the program. The itineraries are not released until as close to the next session date as possible but we do know that what is in store is going to be life-changing.
There is something indescribable about stepping into a room filled with student leaders whose goals in life are to dedicate themselves to making the world a better place. It is this electric sensation that is almost tangible. The day began with guest speakers like Robert DiMuccio, CEO and President of Amica, sharing valuable advice into the requirements of being the best one can be. He proceeded to patiently answer questions even after the end of his scheduled presentation time, providing us with even more insight. Moving forward, the session progressed quite briskly from team-building activities to another guest speaker, Timothy Horan, President of National Grid, to finally, a small group panel discussion. Overall, the conference was a breath of fresh air. There was not a single moment where I did not feel empowered by both those around me and those in front of me. At the end, the doors were flung wide open and each of the attendees soared out on the wings of inspiration, like caged birds set free, to spread the messages learned throughout that memorable day.
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