A few weeks ago, I attended my second LEAD conference. I was more excited for this one because I knew what to expect from it. Additionally, it was in Chicago and I had never been there before. The six hour drive to get there was very long, but the brothers I rode with made it fun. In the morning we started off with a speech from the event’s keynote speaker, Mitch Matthews. His high-energy speech revolved around the idea of dream jobs. He told his own story of how he achieved past and current dream jobs and followed with several inspiring examples of the journey that one must take to reach their dream job. For me, it was the best way the day could have started. His energy and humorous attitude woke me and got me excited for the day.
I attended many sessions throughout the day, each one varying widely in subject matter. I started off at a leadership session. This session helped me discover what my leadership style was and allowed me to see how my leadership tendencies can affect people with different personalities than my own. It gave me a lot to consider for when I find myself in a leadership role in the future. The next session I attended focused on reducing worry in stress, something that I found very relevant and many of the other college students in the room seemed to agree with. Mitch Matthews led this session and brought a unique perspective. Going in, I expected it to focus solely around the habits that people used to deal with stress. I was right, of course, but he also used biology to explain how the human body deals with short-term and long-term stress. Matthews layered this with experiences from his own life which could certainly be classified as high-stress such as getting caught in a thunderstorm on a mountain. After I left that session, I went into one about time management. It was there that I thought a lot about the way I balance the obligations I have every week in college and what I could do to make myself better equipped to handle them. The final session I went to was, once again, led by Mitch Matthews. He had been such a great speaker throughout the day that I had a hard time considering any session but his for my final one of the weekend. I am extremely glad that I ended up going to this session because it turned out to be my favorite one of the day. At this point, I had been sitting a lot, paying full attention to the speakers, but was starting to get a little worn out. The final session was like drinking a cup of coffee. I was more alert and engaged than I had been all day because I found the subject material to be so interesting.
After the conference events had wrapped up, we went to downtown Chicago. I had never been to Chicago before and it was amazing to see the massive skyscrapers and artwork throughout. It was a bit rainy when we arrived, but that didn’t stop us from going to see the Bean in Millennium Park. For dinner we went to eat some Chicago-style deep-dish pizza at Giordano’s. It was a fantastic experience made better by sharing it with brothers.
Even though we left early the next morning, it felt as though an entire week had been packed into a weekend. LEAD has once again proven to be an engaging, inspiring, and informative experience for me. All of the time and effort it takes to go to these events pales in comparison to the value gained through the sessions and the brotherhood experiences. I cannot wait until I have the opportunity to go again.