ACPA 2011 “Be More” Reflections

“Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.”

– Peter F. Drucker

Exactly one week after my departure for the ACAP 2011 conference in Baltimore, I notice a difference in myself. Nothing drastic has changed, but there is a subtle shift in focus on myself as a person and professional and I am anxious and excited to see where this shift takes me. Below are some of the most impactful moments from ACPA.

Be original and be who you are: The ACPA opening speaker Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark, New Jersey, shared one of his favorite quotes by Abraham Lincoln, “Every man is born an original, but sadly, most men die copies.” This was one of the many amazing, inspiring, and hilarious things he had to say, it was also powerful for me personally. I have a strong personality and a lot of conviction. People are usually trying to change these aspects of who I am, it was refreshing and inspiring to hear not only a different message, but one that encourages me to be myself.

Twitter: Oh you glorious social media tool, how did I not see your splendor before? I have been a passive twitter user for a year or two, but this year at ACPA, I decided to dive head first and embrace twitter as a means to engage in the conference. This turned out to be an incredibly rewarding and educational experience! The positive connection and opportunity for education from others compounded with the ability to share these connections and educational opportunities with others is truly – awesome.

Powerful Woman: I went to these two amazing presentations. The first was on intersecting identities. The second was about empowering women in student affairs. These presentations helped me realize something intensely powerful: I am an educated, confident, intelligent, capable, strong, woman, feminist, higher education professional. Wow. This, for me, went above and beyond the usual “aha” moment and pretty much knocked my socks off. For the first time, I am starting to recognize and embrace my identity as woman and a professional in HE (with confidence & enthusiasm).

Emotional Intelligence: Twenty minutes before giving a presentation on utilizing CAS standards at a small school, I was told that Meme (little old French grandmother – see About Me) would be taken off life support and was not expected to live. She had a sudden stroke Saturday and passed away on Tuesday. I was grateful to be busy at the conference during this terrible time, and was impressed by my ability to keep my tears and emotions in check, but also knew that I needed to take some time in the evening to acknowledge and managed the emotions I was feeling.  This was a significant challenge, and I feel I succeed.

Finally, I realized with full conviction that ACPA is a place where I feel I can grow personally and professionally. Between the commissions and the standing committees, the presentations and the socials, the twitter posts and the IRL conversations, I realized that I felt empowered, motivated, inspired, confident, and encouraged to grow personally and professionally.

Now what? What am I to do with all of these reflections? How can I “be more” as a result of these experiences? Now that I have one of a million ideas for posts down and out, I can focus on the implications and impacts and much much more.  I am going to continue to read, write, and reflect. Stay tuned.

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