Buffalo, NY – The NCAA Leadership Forum provided two D'Youville student-athletes with the opportunity to not only learn about themselves, but learn about how to work better and lead others.
Over their four day experience, junior goalkeeper Megan Dulniak of the women's soccer team and senior Justin Losowski of the golf team were able to attend the NCAA Leadership Forum in Washington DC. Megan and Justin were two of hundreds student-athletes from throughout the country and all three Divisions of the NCAA that attended the forum.
The two were able to meet various student-athletes from throughout the country and work together in developing their leadership skills. Amongst the exercises they did, they worked at length with core values and the things that they valued in their everyday lives that made them who they are.
Over the four day course the group also discussed strengths-based leadership, effective communication skills, bystander intervention, emotionally intelligent leadership, and a growth vs. fixed mindset. Megan shared part of her experience and what she was able to learn about being a leader.
"Attending the NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C taught me that being a leader is more than just leading a group of people," said Dulniak. "While there, I was able to find my core values and how those core values are incorporated into my leadership philosophy."
With so many individuals attempting to lead at once, it is often difficult for everyone to work together. Communication was difficult at times because there were so many trying to take the lead, resulting in people not listening together. Justin learned that everyone can lead, but working together and communicating can result in issues resolving much faster.
"Since we were at a leadership conference, at times it was tough to communicate through what one would think are easy tasks because everyone is trying to take charge," said Justin. "It was very easy once we all determined that we can still be a leader even if we are the main leader and we can lead our self in the right direction. It makes life a lot easier if there is a group of leaders trying to accomplish something."
In addition to learning about themselves and leadership skills, the two took part in a special event in which the student-athletes came together to do community service. Megan spoke about the experience and how great it was to be part of it.
"We were given the task of putting various hygiene products, blankets, hats, and gloves inside bags that were to be given out to less fortunate people on the streets of Washington, D.C.," she recalled. "We were able to make about 2,500 bags in under nine minutes. It was amazing to see all 350 student-athletes work together to get this done in such a timely and well-organized fashion."
Reflecting on her time at the leadership forum, Megan found out a lot about herself and new friendships that will carry on into the future. She plans on bringing her new leadership skills to her final season on the field for the women's soccer team.
"It was truly a remarkable experience to be in the same room as hundreds of other student-athletes who have the same drive that I do," Megan said. "I not only walked away with new friends at this conference, but I gained a renewed sense of leadership that I plan to bring to the field for my last season here at D'Youville. This is definitely an experience I will never forget, and I will forever be grateful that the administrators from D'Youville College chose me to represent the college."