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Dec. 6, 2017

Virginia senior Logan Carrington (Leesburg, Va.) attended the 2017 NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum in Washington D.C. November 16-19. Carrington shares his experience and takeaways from the NCAA event.

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WASHINGTON– Looking back at NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum in Washington D.C., I was blown away. Past participants said this would be a life-changing experience; however, I never imagined that four days could really make me look in the mirror, and find my true core values and discuss how my core values were incorporated into my leadership philosophy.

We learned about growth versus fixed mindsets and discussed what truly constitutes an effective leader in facilitation team rooms where we did team building activities that showed different ways we could be a leader, either by influencing, executing, being a relationship builder or being a strategic thinker. Every day was a new experience. Outside of the classroom, I also had the opportunity to discuss student governance and get ideas from other schools’ Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) programs to help UVA’s for years to come.

When I think about it, how often do you get the chance to be around people who are just as driven as you are, from all walks of life and socioeconomic statuses, while in the process forge a relationship where you become lifelong friends in a matter of days?

Looking back on the entire four days of the form, one of the main reasons that I really wanted to bring all that I had learned back to UVA was related to the guest speakers. Curtis Hill, one of the speakers we had at the forum, had a talk regarding managing the chaos of diversity and inclusion. We discussed how to address people correctly when it came to race, what truly constitutes privilege in society, mental health awareness and defeating the stigma no matter how awkward or uncomfortable it is. We also looked at our circle of trust in order to know who is in our support system, while also trying to formulate relationships with people who are outside of our perceived normal. As Hill pointed out, “diversity is about who is on the team; inclusion is about who plays in the game” and “privilege is when you think something is not a problem because it isn’t happening to you.”

Another moment that stuck out to me was when all 350 student-athletes came together for acts of service and arranged donation bags with an assortment of products for underprivileged children. Although I have been heavily involved in the Office of African American Affairs, the Collegiate 100 and the Society Athletes Committed to Education, where I tutored and mentored children, to have 350 people from all across the country come together and accomplish this in a timely fashion showed to me how blessed I truly was to be a part of this program.

Being a leader is more than just leading a group of people. It’s an accumulation of different principles, which includes being relatable, admitting when you make mistakes and forging real authentic relationships. I am entirely grateful to be a part of the NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum in 2017 and I will make sure I continue to #LearnLead in all my endeavors going forward.

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