Saturday, December 10, 2016

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Diverse hands holding up a globe Diverse hands holding up a globe

Conference Creates Diverse Leaders

The Leadership and Diversity Conference takes place Feb.18, reinforcing the idea ‘Leadership Starts Here.’
By Glenn S. Robertson

San Diego State University will host a Leadership and Diversity Conference, titled “Differences Affirmed: Making an Impact in our Global Community,” Feb. 18 at the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center.

Registration is underway for the full-day conference with a joint focus on leadership and diversity, and is open to all SDSU students.

The annual conference is aimed at developing students into future leaders by preparing them for a rapidly changing society. Through diversity appreciation and leadership skills training, the summit organizers hope to help students recognize the value of making a positive difference in a diverse community.

Leadership with awareness

Solid leadership skills have always been central to success, but the event organizers hope to look at leadership education in a different light — one that stresses giving to others while fostering an awareness and appreciation of different cultural backgrounds.

“Leadership education is the catalyst for academic and life success, and the summit is designed to equip students with the knowledge, skills and values to make a positive difference in the assorted worlds they inhabit,” said Tim Quinnan, associate vice president for campus life.

“We hope to inspire them to see issues, causes or organizations in need of attention, and to take on leadership roles that improve the quality of life for those impacted.”

Out of the ‘comfort zone’

Marrying the concepts of diversity awareness with leadership training worked well with the theme of Aztec unification, a driving idea behind all campus life programming this year, Quinnan said.

“In the past, different student audiences attended the conference that spoke to their personal interests. While learning more about a familiar topic may be enjoyable, it isn't particularly broadening,” Quinnan said.

Participants will interact with fellow students they might otherwise never have met, added Quinnan. And if new friendships develop as a consequence, that will be a welcome development as well, he said.

Preparing for the future

Ensuring SDSU students are prepared for the changing face of American society and an increasingly globalized business world is of great importance for the event’s organizers.   

“The workshops offered will really prepare students for real-life encounters,” said Lauren Sparacino, a conference organizer with the Office of Student Life and Leadership in Student Affairs. “They will be able to take the skills they learn and apply them in future situations, preparing them for the reality of a diverse American culture.”

Additionally, taking part in events like the conference can appeal to prospective future employers as well as increasing their network of contacts — which can make or break a job search.

Previously, the Office of Intercultural Relations conducted a Diversity Summit while the Office of Student Life and Leadership organized a Leadership Conference. The two were combined for the first time this year.

For more information or to register online, visit the Diversity Leadership Conference.