My Experience at President’s Academy

This past weekend, I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Alpha Kappa Psi President’s Academy in Phoenix, Arizona. Alongside networking with over 300 other chapter presidents from all around the globe, I was exposed to new perspectives on conflict resolution, stress behavior, and the true meaning of leadership.

Alpha Kappa Psi is the oldest and largest professional business fraternity in the world, and our members are dedicated and motivated leaders. After I served two terms as the Vice President of Membership for the UT Dallas chapter of Alpha Kappa Psi, I gained a solid grasp of recruitment strategies and how to work on a high-paced executive board. Now, as my chapter’s president for the following two semesters, I am looking to take our members to new heights. I am ecstatic to work alongside some of the brightest and most driven people that UT Dallas has to offer. However, to be an effective leader that inspires success within my team, I first had to truly understand the subtle nuances of leadership. Attending President’s Academy was a pivotal step in my personal leadership journey as I learned from industry professionals about how to effectively lead at the collegiate level and beyond. Here are my five main takeaways from this influential experience:

  • Trust is essential.

It is human nature to doubt yourself. Whether you are undertaking a risky task, venturing into unknown territory, or trying something completely new, you may find yourself doubting your abilities or competency. After meeting with so many great leaders at this academy, I realized that even the best of the best have their own fears, doubts, and apprehensive thoughts. However, trust is crucial to conquering your goals and maximizing your success.

  • Leadership ≠ management.

While all great leaders are managers, not all managers are leaders. Understanding the difference was eye-opening and very interesting for me to discover. As John Maxwell said, “Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.” With this in mind, I now realize that that leadership is more than telling people what to do, scheduling events, and signing off documents. Great leaders inspire change, influence others, and are constantly available to help in any way they can.

  • Stress is inevitable.

The Birkman Method is a fascinating approach to understanding your unique personality interests, behaviors, needs, and environmental stresses. While the Birkman Method is usually distributed at the corporate level, I am grateful to have been a part of one of the first student groups to be introduced to this assessment. From the in-depth analysis of our results from the Birkman Assessment, I learned all about my personal leadership style. While I am enthusiastic about innovation and strictly organized, my personal reactions to stress may inhibit overall success. Through this analysis, I have gained new techniques to addressing, mitigating, and preventing stress from overshadowing my personal and professional goals. Let’s face it, stress is bound to happen in school, work, and life. Nevertheless, how we deal with stress and how we resolve conflict is essential to the success of our overarching objectives.

  • Find your motivators in life.

Find your “why” in life. What gets you out of bed in the morning? What inspires you to keep pushing in the face of adversity? Life is tumultuous and has its fair share of trials and tribulations. Despite this, I was reminded to always have my motivators in mind to push me to become better every single day. Without your “why”, your motivation, and your drive, it is difficult to keep your personal momentum long-term.

  • Always be hungry to learn.

Finally, this weekend was the best reminder of one of my favorite quotes by Steve Jobs, “Stay hungry, stay foolish.” College is the prime environment for me to not only grow professionally and academically but personally as well. With the introduction of the new decade and my journey into the second half of my college career, I am promising myself to continue learning outside of the classroom to grow into the best version of myself.

I am so grateful for the relationships I have built and the lessons I have learned from this past weekend. Alpha Kappa Psi is truly building the next generation of future leaders, and I am honored to be part of this movement. I would like to personally thank Thomas Tran, our Fraternity President, Steve Hartman, our Fraternity CEO, and Heather Robinette, my chapter’s advisor, for encouraging our members to constantly grow, ask difficult questions, and spark change in our communities.