Annual leadership summit communicates to new heights

Mines held its fourth annual Leadership Summit on January 28, 2012, a day full of speakers and breakout sessions focused on enhancing student leadership and communication skills.

Before the session began, the McBride program presented a light breakfast and CSM alumnus Matt Lengerich spoke on leadership and his experience in McBride. Dr. Bill Scoggins, President of CSM opened and acknowledged the importance leadership, saying that “leadership is all about positively impacting organizations of people.”

This year’s summit featured keynote speaker Erik Weihenmayer, who, in 2001, became the first blind man to summit Mount Everest. Author of two best-selling books, Weihenmayer is an internationally recognized speaker on overcoming challenges and taking advantage of adversity. His confidence and sense of humor was apparent when he first took the stage with his service dog. Despite all of his accomplishments, “I’m used to taking a backseat to the dog,” he said. He spoke much about his climbing adventures around the world, sharing stories to inspire.

According to Weihenmayer, everything starts with a vision, which is more than a list of goals. It is “how we see ourselves living our lives, impacting the world, and leaving a legacy,” he said. “A vision is a manifestation of values.” Weihenmayer lost his sight just before his freshman year of high school, and after signing up for his first blind rock climbing class, he found his mental vision and continued to seek new adventures and challenges. “I don’t see myself as a crazy blind man,” Weihenmayer said. “I see myself more as a problem solver, an innovator. I like looking at things that people say are improbable or impossible, and I like figuring out a way forward.” Weihenmayer’s approach always includes a road map, a team of people, and a system of strategies. For him, it is a discovery process in figuring out what works for each situation.

Weihenmayer acknowledged the fact that he made it so far because of the people he surrounded himself with. “This adversity doesn’t own us. We own it. We’ll get through it together,” he said. “There are going to be challenges all throughout our lives… there are sometimes days when we all feel like we’re climbing blind, but I don’t think this is the time to lose our will… if anything, do it for this wonderful world we live in.” Weihenmayer’s speech received a standing ovation.

Picture of notebook and book caption: “Each attendee went home with a copy of Erik Weihenmayer’s book “The Adversity Advantage” as well as an E2 paper notebook and mechanical pencil.

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