Monday, June 01, 2009

Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference

On May 28th-29th the Tutor/Mentor Connection side of the organization held it's 30th Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference at Northwestern University's Law School. For those who have never attended or who don't know what this event is all about, this event that takes place in May and November is really an opportunity for people who truly care about the importance and need of tutor/mentor programs to come together to share ideas, techniques, skills, and resources to enhance our own knowledge and our respective programs, businesses, and organizations. The event was filled with great workshops, panel discussions, keynote speakers, and formal and informal conversations that can and will hopefully lead future partnerships and collaborations.

Hopefully throughout this week attendees will be debriefing about their experience at the conference and will be sharing their own stories through various face to face conversations, emails, and through blog articles so that the power of the conference can be felt even by those who could not attend.

I personally felt really good after walking out of the conference! Unfortunately, I was unable to attend every workshop and I'm sure I did not have a personal conversation with every person who was present, but the people that I was able to connect with and the workshops I did attend I feel very good about.

Thursday morning's keynote speaker, Jeffery Fields, kicked off the conference in a big way. Just his personal story alone of growing up in Humbolt Park and living in an abusive household and going on to now having a successful life after having two of his brothers killed not only caught the attention of every person in the audience, but provided me with even greater hope that each and every student in the Cabrini Connections can succeed in life.

Following the keynote speaker I had the opportunity to start attending the various workshops that were provided. The workshops I selected were because I either felt that I could obtain information that we could benefit from having in our organization or because I felt that I was not as knowledgeable in a certain area and felt that I could strengthen my skills professionally by attending that particular workshop. And that is exactly what took place. There is not one person in this field or this world that knows everything, but at the Leadership and Networking Conference we have the opportunity to get information that we may not have, connect with people we may not already know, and use this opportunity to all get the valuable information needed to become even better professionals.

On Friday I not only had the opportunity attend the Media Panel that started the day and again visit some of the workshops that were provided, I had the pleasure of actually sitting on a panel. Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection's Board Members Steve Miller and Kurt Kittner(former NFL quarterback), former Northwestern University football players Chasda Martin and Torri Stuckey, and myself provided the "Engaging Athletes, Business Leaders, and Celebrities as Advocates for Volunteer-Based Tutor/Mentor Programs" panel discussion. This panel discussion was really not intended to share football stories and stats and/or our accomplishments in athletics, we discussed how we all used resources such as tutor/mentor programs, sports, and even just a positive role model in our school or neighborhood to assist us all to getting to our respective professions today. We then provided information on how those who attended the panel can not only connect with other athletes but how these athletes can help them in their respective programs.

Unfortunately, I had to depart the conference following the panel discussion, but I'm 100% sure that the remainder of the day was again filled with resourceful workshops and speakers. Although the Leadership and Networking Conference was a great opportunity for people to all come together and share information and ideas, it's what take place in between this conference and the next that will determine how successful and useful this opportunity was. Are people not only taking information back to their respective places of business and sharing the information that was obtained at the conference to those in their networks; hopefully attendees are building upon the relationships that were established as a result of the conference.

Over the weekend and throughout this week I will not only be sharing my experiences such as what I'm doing now in this blog, but I will be following up on any and all of the individual conversations I had with those that I met at the event. And hopefully as a result of attending the May 2009 Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference I can grow professionally and as a leader of the Cabrini Connections' program, and I can continue to assist others with their efforts, in their programs, businesses, and organizations as well.
~See You ALL in November~

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