My Experience at the IDSA Leadership Conference

On November 18, 2020, I, along with a few more Regina girls, were offered an experience that I didn’t know would have such an impact on my life. 

When I was asked if I wanted to attend an IDSA Leadership Workshop Conference (Illinois Directors of Student Activities) that would take place from 12 pm to 3 pm, I was unsure if I should take advantage of the opportunity. I questioned if I would be wasting my time and a leadership conference for that long. I attended many workshops, conferences, and events that I thought to myself, “what could be so different about this one… it’s going to be like all the rest.” After going back and forth with myself, I decided I’d go ahead and push myself to just do it. Pushing myself to sign up for this conference was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Over 40 schools all over the Illinois region participated with approximately 500 students attending.

At the beginning of the meeting, we listened to Phil Boyle, a speaker from North Carolina. I can say with 100% certainty that he may have been one of the most influential speakers I’ve listened to. As he continued to speak, he encouraged us to take notes… turns out he didn’t even have to say that because a bunch of us already had a pen and paper in hand jotting down points we thought were most influential. 

In this article, I want to share some of his key points that influenced me the most in hope that we can all take notes from him and be better together. As a community, it is important to better one another. I’m lucky enough to be a writer on the Crown, so I have this opportunity to share with the readers some of the most important points I left with after the conference. 

I’ll start by paraphrasing Boyles’s words. He started by saying that “life happens.” He asked us, “as leaders, how do we create a place where people genuinely care?” 

This initial question is what got the gears going in my brain and had me think. I thought of his question over and over again and began to think of my life. I was class president my freshman and sophomore year and I cared about my grade: what they wanted, how they felt, and all of that good stuff; after hearing Boyle ask this question I began to question myself and my past actions. Did I create a place where people genuinely cared? “I did, but I didn’t, yet I kind of did, but I don’t think I did” is what I thought to myself. Then, I began to stop worrying and stressing over the past. The Lion King phrased it best… “Hakuna Matata.” Whatever I did before is in the past and I can’t change the past, but most certainly can create my future. I now know that when leading a group, I’ll be asking myself if I created a place where people genuinely care. 

Another point and rule he talked about was the “10×10 rule” or “5×5 rule” (due to COVID). Boyle stated that this rule means you say hi to 10 different people by 10 am, or 5 people by 5 pm due to COVID and it’s restrictions. He talked to us and asked us, “how many people go by and not say hi?” He continued going along the lines of not knowing what people might be going through either. Someone may be having the worst day and feel so lonely, but who knows, maybe you can change that. Maybe a “hi! How’s your day going so far?” from a stranger could make them feel a little bit better. We should all try our best and hopefully one person at a time we can make this world a better place.

Boyle also talked about “Magic 4.” Magic 4 has to do with being in a classroom. Unfortunately, we are remote learning so this will be kind of difficult, but try and save this tip for when we do go back to school. Magic 4 has to do with seating arrangements in a classroom. This rule/tip is done by interacting with a kid that sits in front of you, in the back of to, to your right, and to your left without the teacher even knowing. Boyle declared, “it’s hard to hate someone whose story you know.” By getting to know one another, we can create a bond with each other and hopefully slow down the spread of hate in the world, especially now more than ever.

As far as Magic 4, The interaction can be something small maybe just asking them for their birthdate. Boyle told us a story of someone who had used the Magic 4. He had asked one of the kids for their birthday. He wrote it down, and when the time came he had wished one of the kids a happy birthday. This kid began to tear up. The kid said something along the lines, “you are the first person to remember and wish me a happy birthday… thank you.” These small acts of kindness slowly make the world a better place and we can all learn and take notes from this.

We can all learn a little about someone every day. A device Boyle introduced to us was WHEAT.

W- where… (you from? are you going?)H- how… (are you?)

E- excited about?

A- afraid to do?

T- travel? time?

Don’t be afraid to reach out to new people, you never know what they might have to offer.

In conclusion, this conference was a great experience for me and I’m so glad that I had a chance to share what I learned with those who read this. If this conference is ever offered at Regina, I highly recommend that you sign up for it, you won’t regret it.

Be kind and take risks.