Menu

Winner of PITCH by CAMPUSPEAK

CAMPUSPEAK Announces PITCH by CAMPUSPEAK’s Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors Annual Meeting Winners December 12, 2017, Orlando, FL – CAMPUSPEAK is excited to announce that the winners of PITCH by CAMPUSPEAK for this year’s Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors Annual Meeting are Zachariah Pfeifer, Coordinator and Kayley Weinberg, Graduate Assistant for the Fraternity and Sorority Life at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. “This is truly a dream come true to be able to work with the CAMPUSPEAK team to combat this issue,” said Zachariah. “This opportunity will allow us to challenge hyper-masculinity and hyper-femininity in a way not possible if not for the PITCH competition.” The winners will be provided a customized program, keynote presentation, and graphic design support for an educational campaign and assessment resources to address the issues of hyper-masculinity and hyper-femininity within the context of belonging. “Our goal at CAMPUSPEAK is to help make a long-lasting, positive impact on students and through them… the world,” said David Stollman, President of CAMPUSPEAK. “With PITCH, we are giving winners $15,000 worth of educational programs to bring innovative ideas to life!” Registration is still open for students to compete in PITCH by CAMPUSPEAK at AFLV-Central and AFLV-West. Those who wish to learn more and sign up can visit campuspeak.com/pitchbycs for more details. About PITCH by CAMPUSPEAK PITCH BY CAMPUSPEAK is an opportunity for innovators to propose solutions that will make a significant and long-term impact on issues facing college students. Pitches will be heard at the AFA 2017 conference and the AFLV-Central and West 2018 conferences and implementation will begin in Fall 2018. Winners of PITCH BY CAMPUSPEAK would...

Treasures Buried Deep Within

By: Kinja Dixon, CAMPUSPEAK Speaker Have you ever thought? “If only that person knew what they were capable of?” or better yet “Am I on track to be all that I am capable of?” I have asked these two questions many times during my 39 years of being on this earth, but about a decade ago, there were some very dramatic changes I made that impacted everything afterward. After almost 30 years of believing that the most valuable treasures in life would be gained by reaching in an outward direction, I finally turned inward and what I found out answered the first two questions of this message and many more. There are infinite amounts of invaluable jewels in every human, but as soon as we are born, the outside circumstances begin affecting our internal treasures. Unless you grew up in an environment that was considered “perfect,” every single human being can benefit from digging deeper. Some of us need to go deeper than others. As a person who has a decade of experience in uncovering my own hidden personal jewels, I would like to share three of the many treasures that I found underneath the surface. The Treasure of Mental Control As soon as we were born, one of two dominant emotional vibrations traveled through each of our households. Emotions that were built on growth, love and connection or emotions that were built on decay, fear, and disconnection. These emotions were seeping deep into each of our tender little minds before we realized we were learning. The way each of us feels is heavily dependent on these invisible yet...

The Problem With Reporting

By: Tracy Maxwell, CAMPUSPEAK Speaker Why we can’t wait for or rely upon hazing being reported This summer, Congressional Representatives Pat Meehan (R-PA) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH) introduced legislation called the Report and Educate About Campus Hazing (or REACH Act) that would require colleges and universities to both educate students about hazing and report hazing information in annual crime statistics required under the Clery Act. I want to state unequivocally up front that I am in favor of this legislation for a number of reasons. In the past few decades, hazing has finally begun to be treated like the crime that it is in most circles rather than dismissed as “boys will be boys” fun and games or pranks as it has been in the past (and still is to some extent in professional sports). The Clery Act, signed in 1990, required colleges and universities to maintain and report statistics about crime on campus in response to the rape and murder of Jeanne Clery at Lehigh University in 1986. Since 44 states have passed anti-hazing laws, it is high time for it to be included in these statistics. As a hazing educator and consultant, I strongly believe that the educational requirement can have a significant impact on the community’s understanding of hazing and its consequences. However, I want to caution against a wholesale belief that this legislation is a magic bullet to this very complex and long-standing social problem. One parent said of the legislation, “If it had been in place in 2007, our son would be alive today.” I completely empathize with a parent’s desire for that statement...

Surviving and Thriving in the Wake of Oppression

By: Stacey Pearson-Wharton, CAMPUSPEAK Speaker Over the past few years, I have had the privilege of speaking with students about the impact of implicit and hidden bias within all of us. Recently, students have begun questioning whether microaggressions aimed at them are, in fact, macroaggressions that are intentional, premeditated, or deliberate. Given the rash of hate and bias incidents on campuses, including tiki torch-wielding white supremacists; an African American student being harassed by a roommate who suggests that she put her toothbrush “where the sun doesn’t shine,” and swastika stickers appearing in greater number, it is reasonable to expect that students who have marginalized identities are increasingly concerned and anxious. This article will provide some real, practical help in dealing with blatant, in-your-face racism, sexism, homophobia, cis-genderism, classism, ableism and other forms of oppression, that will allow individuals to thrive in the wake intentional hate and bias. Healthy Cultural Paranoia is Real. Healthy Cultural Paranoia is an inherent mistrust that is required to survive in society. It is not your imagination to feel that all eyes are on you every time slavery or the Japanese internment camps come up in a history class. You are not wrong to feel a little unsettled when you have an encounter with the police, or even to question whether you are being unfairly targeted for being late to class by a professor. This vigilance is important and has served as a successful survival strategy for many generations. It is normal to take precautions to avoid danger in the form of failure, injury or prejudice, oppression, and hostility. Continue to stay vigilant, but don’t...

#Activism or #Validation?

By: James Robilotta, CAMPUSPEAK Speaker #Activisim or #Validation? Over the past couple months I have been trying to think about why I post what and when I do online. Is social media all just one big pat on the back? Or is “#Activism” important and effective? I wonder if I should Snapchat about the service work I occasionally do. I debate about ranting in a political post about piss-poor leadership. I toil over posting, “I believe you.” Here are some of the questions I ask myself: Do I do it because I hope it inspires others? Or do I post because I want to feel better about myself? Do I post to enlighten? Or do I post because I am not good at convincing myself that I am enough? Do I post because I care? Or do I post because if I don’t then I’m afraid people will think I do not care? Do I post because I have a louder microphone because of my privilege and I should use it to help amplify those who are silenced? Or do I post because I can? Do I post because change needs to happen? Or do I post because I happen to want change? Do I post to let others know they are seen? Or do I post because of white male guilt? Do I post because I believe you? Or do I post because I want you to believe me? Do I post because I am an activist? Or do I post because I just need validation? I am sure my answer to all of those scenarios somewhat depends...

Headbands of Hope

Jess Ekstrom started Headbands of Hope when she was in college. For every headband sold, one is given to a child with cancer. Recently, she teamed up with Vistaprint to show their DIY Headband Days that they bring to kids with cancer all over the world. Interested in bringing Jess to your campus? Visit...

Diversity & Inclusion: Actions Speak Louder Than Words

By: Suzette Walden Cole, CAMPUSPEAK Speaker Have you noticed an uptick in the number of incidents on campus involving hate speech and bias incidents, including racism, transphobia, anti-immigrant, etc.? Has an incident happened on your campus? In your fraternity/sorority or other organization to which you belong? Has it happened to someone you know? Or have you directly experienced an incident? BuzzFeed News reported on September 27, 2017, and shared they explored over 400 alleged incidents reported to the Documenting Hate project, a database ProPublica established to capture information about hate crimes and bias incidents. Through interviews, police reports, public statements and media coverage, BuzzFeed News could confirm 154 of those incidents on more than 120 campuses across the country since the 2016 election. There was no rhyme or reason to any one type of institution or locality. Public, private, ivy-league, community colleges, institutions large and small have seen these types of incidents manifest. Before you run out and organize a campaign, let’s reflect on a few things. Be careful about being “color-blind” – no, I’m not talking about the legal definition. As I’ve traveled the country and spent time with students, I’ve heard a growing number of people begin to say things like, “I don’t see color, Suzette. I see the person.” Well, Pumpkins, let’s break down the wrongness of that statement. Research shows, “it is nearly impossible not to notice race, especially the physical features of people of color” (Sue, 2015). In fact, “of all the dimensions of social categorization, psychologists overwhelmingly conclude that racial categorization and recognition are among the quickest and most automatic cognitive processing responses...

Overcoming Adversity: From Foster Care to Yale

Trigger warning: This article includes some of the speaker’s life experiences that are graphic and violent in nature. By: Rodney Walker, CAMPUSPEAK Speaker As a former ward of the State of Illinois, I am privileged to be where I am today. Of the nearly 400,000 youth in foster care, less than a quarter will go on to obtain a bachelor’s degree, and less than 5 percent will go on to earn an advanced degree. Half of all foster care youth will be incarcerated before the age of 25 and experience homelessness, unemployment, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or some form of undiagnosed clinical depression. So for any of us to find the audacity to get over the fact that our mother left us in the hospital and our relatives did not want to keep us, or our mother beat us because we grew up to look just like our father and hated our father because we were the product of his raping her, or that she somehow thought it was acceptable to send us back to school the next day after having beat us with her bare hands, it takes a hell of an attitude for us to say after all of that, “I can still be something, I can still defy the odds, and I understand my parents and love me anyway.” Not all stories are the same, but our adversity is unmatched. When you have been disconnected from your roots and asked to grow in a different kind of soil that does not fertilize you and find a way to grow anyway, that is the definition of courage. In...

Combating a Culture of Silence

By: Lorin Phillips, CAMPUSPEAK Speaker There is nothing scarier to me than an organization where their members feel silenced. The leaders stand in front of the room during a meeting, share decisions made by leaders, tell the group what is happening next, and there is a quiet, emotionless head nod. Then on to the next topic. The meeting concludes in 30 minutes or so without a single question or discussion beyond perhaps repeating the time or location. Some time passes and then the after-meeting discussion starts to happen. Often it starts in smaller friend groups and eventually someone is fired up enough or has enough support of close friends to make a declaration in GroupMe. Rapid fire opinions follow; screenshots are taken and sent on to officers or advisors, and the officer GroupMe begins to blow up with various forms of “Why didn’t someone say something? We just talked about it at the meeting.” Then enters the dialog around respect. The next meeting a direct statement is made to the group about needing to speak up and ask questions…how are they (the officers) to know something is wrong if people don’t speak up? Someone rolls their eyes in the back row signaling the obvious irony just observed. Why would I speak up and say something if this is the response? The cycle of silence begins again. If none of that sounds familiar, you have a group culture that encourages and welcomes healthy conflict. Be proud of that environment and continue to encourage caring and constructive disagreement. If it sounds all too familiar, here are four critical components to help...

Circles of Grace: Taking Diversity from Head to HEART

By: Justin Jones-Fosu, Speaker Have you ever wondered how one event can happen and yet so many people see it from so many different perspectives? I remember about three years ago I was perplexed by an event, and I saw people on social media taking a whole different perspective. I couldn’t accept the “let’s agree to disagree” moniker. I really had to know WHY I saw it the way I did and WHY they saw it the way they did. I began researching and what I uncovered is that we perceive people and events in a society based on WHO is in our “circles of grace.” The closer to the center they are, the more grace, benefit of the doubt, and patience they receive. We tend to give ourselves (1st circle) the most grace. We then give family and friends (2nd circle) grace. Following that, we then give grace to people like us or people like someone you love (3rd circle). If they are in the “everyone else,” category they are outside the circles of grace and they are given (1) little to grace, (2) no benefit of the doubt, and (3) are guilty until proven innocent. Understanding your circles of grace could really impact what you support and don’t support. We tend to lump people into categories (many times not maliciously) because our brains are wired to do it. Have you ever been driving or walking in a direction and you were supposed to go one way, but you went the way you always go instead? (This is embarrassingly true for me.) It’s because your brain moves to auto-pilot lumping...

Calling All Future Leaders

By: Tom Healy, CAMPUSPEAK Speaker 4 Key Reasons Why You Should be a Leader in Your Greek Community A few years ago (okay, more than a few) I had the awesome responsibility of being the IFC President at Ohio University.  As we approach November, your community is getting ready to elect a new group of leaders to set the direction for the Greek Community on your campus – I believe you should strongly consider running for one of those leadership positions.  Here is what I learned from this valuable experience and how it served me well moving forward: Exposure to Diversity:  I wouldn’t classify my college experience prior to joining IFC as involving much diversity in terms of the people I surrounded myself with; this wasn’t by choice but simply the realities of how we all typically gravitate to those that are similar to us.  Because I was IFC President I met a lot of people, interacted with Presidents of other student organizations and attended way more campus events.  All of this collectively exposed me to diverse people by every measure possible and gave me such a better perspective of our entire campus community, as opposed to just my little bubble of friendships.  I believe this has served me well in life because I can understand a wide range of viewpoints, challenges, attitudes, and behaviors, as opposed to only those that are very similar to me.  As an adult, you are far better off understanding a variety of perspectives as opposed to only those that view the world the exact same way you do – understanding people from all walks...

Why Your Feelings Have Everything to Do With Changing the World

“It’s all Just Too Much.”   My girlfriend and I had just hopped on FaceTime to catch up. At first glance, I knew something was wrong.   “Hey. You ok? What happened?” I asked, my voice quickening as I watched her fingers anxiously tap the sides of her face.   As she gave a big sigh, my heart beat faster, now seriously worried.   “It’s North Korea.” Wait. What? I thought. “…and Florida, and Houston. It’s the earthquake and the landslides. All of it.”   I stared at my girlfriend for a long hard second, trying to discern if she was serious and if more was coming.   “It’s all just too much. All of it.”   Looking up finally, she glanced at me, surprised, asking   “Why are you staring at me like that? Don’t you agree?”   I exhaled. Realizing she was ok, I responded back,   “Of course. I agree. I’m surprised you feel that way.” I’d been wrestling for the past few weeks under the weight of all the recent events, and often felt alone in my musings. It felt good….comfortable….to know someone else was struggling with the same.   For the next hour, we unpacked our worries and feelings about the events happening around us. We lamented over the those who’d lost their homes in Texas and Florida. We cried over images from the hurricane damage in USVI and Puerto Rico, the earthquake in Mexico, and the flooding in parts of Sierra Leone and Nigeria. We expressed our outrage and fatigued hope in the aftermath of Charlottesville and the continuing dialogue on race in...

Overcoming Tragedy: 4 Steps for Healing

By: Brittany Piper, CAMPUSPEAK Speaker October 2, 2017. Las Vegas. Life is bleak sometimes. More often, lately. For many of us, these near monthly tragedies open old wounds of violence, terror, and loss. The harsh truth is we’re all recovering and healing from something. Whether directly affected by a tragedy, or reeling from its powerful tremors, we must remind ourselves that it’s the reactions to these earth-shattering events in our lives that define us, not the events themselves. As we move forward in recovery, self-care has to be priority number one.   Feel – On days like this I am emotional, as my gleaming optimism often takes a seat to catch its breath. My heart is sorrowful for the state of this country. Today I feel the hurt. I feel it because I have to. I feel it because my life’s history has shown me that every long road to healthy healing must first begin with felt understanding.The trick—don’t get stuck there. I know it’s hard to take the cold plunge of vulnerability. I also know it’s almost easier to let ourselves sink so deep into our grief and turmoil that we become trapped beneath the ice. We cannot spiral into a permanent dark hole when the world is heavy and the heavy just gets thicker. We cannot become so consumed by our brokenness, so committed to it, that to heal it would erase who we’ve become. So how do we accomplish this? We embrace the vulnerability by wrapping ourselves up in a blanket of our feelings, but we never let it become our emotional straightjacket. Because eventually, we...

Permission to Screw Up

“Having a young leader like Kristen Hadeed in the world gives me hope for the future. In a world in which numbers often seem more important than people, Kristen remains steadfast in her belief that her people are always her priority.” —Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why and Leaders Eat Last   Kristen Hadeed unintentionally launched Student Maid, a cleaning company that hires students, while attending the University of Florida in 2007. Since then it has grown to employ hundreds of people and is widely recognized for its industry-leading retention rate and its culture of trust, responsibility, and compassion. But Kristen and her company were no overnight sensations. In fact, they were almost nothing at all. A few months into her new venture, disaster struck when 75 percent of her cleaning team quit on the same day. Reclining in a comfy armchair, Caesar salad in hand, Kristen watched in shock as forty-five grimy, sweaty employees marched up to her and resigned on the spot. Her company was about to crash and burn, with an unfulfilled contract to clean hundreds of apartments. What had she done wrong? How could she get her team back? And how could she keep this from happening ever again? The mistakes leading to that mass walkout weren’t Kristen’s first and definitely wouldn’t be her last. But that humiliating experience sparked her obsession with learning how to be a better leader and inspired her to make Student Maid a place her people couldn’t imagine leaving. This is the story of how Kristen built a company where people are happy, loyal, productive, and empowered, even while...

Why We Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

By: Saul Flores, CAMPUSPEAK Speaker Why We Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month From our sandy shores to our brightly colored homes, our heritage is rooted in a diaspora of cultures that are spread across Latin America. We celebrate Hispanic Heritage month to encourage students to remember where they came from, where they are, and where they will go. We look into our past to understand our future, and to discover the great potential we have as students from immigrant backgrounds. Where we’re from. Latin America is a kaleidoscope of 21 countries, with hundreds of cultures and influences from around the world. Our diverse heritage spans the glistening lakes of Guatemala, the trembling volcanoes of Nicaragua, the highest peaks of Colombia, and the dry deserts of Mexico. In Guatemala, you will find rich and vibrant textiles. In Argentina, you will dance to the rhythms of tango and hear the echoes of ancient folk music. Across every Latin American nation, you will find a unique blend of tradition, community, and pride. Where we are. In today’s shifting political climate, it is common to see our Latino, Latina, and Latinx students facing challenges such as fear, uncertainty, and instability. Policy changes continue to contribute added pressures for members of our community who have worked tirelessly for an opportunity. Recent changes to immigration policies are separating families, alienating communities, and affecting students from immigrant backgrounds. These shifts in climate are making it increasingly difficult for students to focus, be confident in their abilities, and remain ambitious toward reaching their dreams. Where we’ll go. Despite the challenges, our communities continue to persevere and our students remain...

Old Keys Don’t Open New Doors

By: James Robilotta, CAMPUSPEAK Speaker One of the biggest threats to organizational success are individuals who were part of a system or team when it was working in the past. Reason being, these are the first people to say, “This is the way we have always done it.” AKA, the leadership phrase of death. Sometimes, the most experienced person in the room can have the most negative impact. Older members gain a somewhat deserved sense of entitlement in our organizations. They have the most experience, have seen what’s worked and what hasn’t, and therefore have earned the right to be listened to. Being the most experienced person does not automatically make them a leader though. There is a big difference between being a leader and being a resource. Leadership is an action, not a title. Leaders innovate, they are never stagnant, and sure as heck never say “That’s the way we have always done it.” If it ain’t broke, leaders still seek ways to improve it. A good leader does not change everything; a good leader challenges everything. Here are a number questions to ask your executive board members, advisors, and/or co-workers as you seek to be more innovative in this upcoming academic year: What programs have we put on in the past few years that we are no longer excited about? Remember, just because it’s a tradition, doesn’t mean it’s good. What events do we do more out of a sense of obligation than out of “our organization gets a lot out of this”? How can we utilize our more experienced members to make sure they feel valued in...

Anyone That Truly Cares About Their Organization Has Thought of Quitting

By: David Stollman, CAMPUSPEAK President & Speaker Nobody talks about it, but anyone that truly cares about their organization has thought of quitting. It might be a fleeting thought, but it is there. Don’t feel guilty about it. It is a natural part of caring as much as you do. You’re reading this because you’re a leader or want to be one. You care deeply about your organization. You love what it is, almost as much as what you know it could be. You have a vision of how to get there, and you want to make a difference. Members want things to be better but are resistant to change. Change is scary, uncomfortable and risky. It takes strong leaders to shoulder the responsibility and to suffer the frustration and setbacks in order to guide a group through change. “The pose doesn’t begin until you want to quit.” Huh? Sounded like some Zen, Yogi bullshit to me at first. But, it’s true. We only grow at the edge of our comfort zone. When we are pushed and think we’ve arrived at our limit… we grow. Our muscles, both physical and emotional, don’t grow when we are comfortable. Leadership is filled with challenges and disappointments. For each success, there are thousands of pain points along the way. Take them with poise and even gratitude – they make you stronger. Expect that friends will let you down. Some will – but, don’t focus on the disappointment. Instead, pay special attention to those that stepped up; especially the ones you never expected would. When it happens, when you hit that wall… know that...

3 Things We Can Learn From Students’ Secret Fears

What if you could jump into your students’ minds and see what is preventing them from being the person they aspire to be? For the past few years, I’ve collected thousands (and still collect) thousands of students’ fears as a way to connect and speak specifically to their internal struggles with the hope that it will help them move closer to success. Every fear is collected anonymously; typed, analyzed, and then categorized through ATLAS software. Here are three things we can learn from students’ secret fears: They need to know they’re not alone. I can’t say it enough. After reading note cards and private messages, too many students think they are alone, not realizing that their peers are experiencing the same thoughts. I still get goosebumps at the silence of a room, filled with hundreds of students, when their fears are read out loud. I’m convinced that part of the silence is due to the students’ realization for the first time that they’re not the only ones dealing with a problem. We need to continually stress that whatever they are experiencing, ten times out of ten, someone else is as well. Their past is heavily influencing their present. We often attempt to pile leadership techniques on a shaky 18-year old foundation of self-doubt, confidence issues, and pressure from family and friends. Allowing students to talk about life experiences that shaped them is the first step to rebuilding. Creating safe spaces, small discussion groups, and ways to speak anonymously are all ways in which students can share with their peers their experiences in an open and honest environment. Students will be...

The Best Advice About College I Ever Received

By: Tom Healy, CAMPUSPEAK Speaker The best advice I was ever given about college came just a few days before my freshman year at Ohio University, when someone bluntly said to me “do not let your classes get in the way of your real education.”  The message was clear: for you to thrive personally and professionally, it isn’t about what you learn in a textbook or memorize for an exam, it is about your ability to get involved in student organizations, develop critical life skills and ultimately tap into your extraordinary potential as a leader. I have the unbelievable opportunity of working with student leaders around the country – here is some of my best advice for those who want to take ownership of their college experience and thrive as leaders: Learn more about Tom Healy and his programs at...

Few Talk, Many Affected: Changing the Culture About Men’s Mental Health

Dr. Kevin Snyder has presented over 1,150 programs in all 50 states and has been with CAMPUSPEAK for over a decade. He’s also a former Dean of Students, an author with a best-selling book, and a professional speaker with a wealth of unique expertise both in Student Affairs and in corporate America. We sat down with Kevin to ask a few questions about his perspective on what makes a great leader, and to learn more about his new 2017 presentation Few Talk, Many Affected: Changing the Culture About Men’s Mental Health – a program designed to change the culture about men’s mental health. Kevin’s nuggets of wisdom below are ideal to share with your student groups and organizational leaders. Question: Reading your bio, you have an interesting background. How did you get started in Student Affairs? Kevin:  As a new student in college, I struggled. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was depressed, anxious, and miserable. I tried dropping out on numerous occasions, but someone always stepped in to convince me to not to – usually, my RA or the Dean of Students because he had to sign my withdrawal paperwork. During my second year, I decided to give college one final shot at getting outside my comfort zone and more involved on campus. Becoming more engaged changed everything. I went from near drop out to Homecoming King and Greek Man of the Year. Although I graduated with a degree in Marine Biology, I knew I wanted to work on a college campus so I could help and support other students like people did for me. That’s...

Back to School: How to Prepare as an LGBTQ+ Student

By: Jeremy Wallace, CAMPUSPEAK Speaker It’s back to school time again, and for many students, time to head to campus! Attending a college or university is exciting, but can also be overwhelming, and the apprehension and nervousness may be even greater for those students who identify as transgender, gender queer or gender non-conforming. The best way to alleviate some of the concerns and fears is to be prepared, or as prepared as one can be. What does that look like? Well, the number one thing to do is ask. Ask as many questions as you can think of and continue to ask different people or departments until you get an answer. Ask before you get to campus, so you will have a heads up and the opportunity to voice your concerns privately. For example, housing is a large concern for students, and transgender students need to know what their living arrangments will be, before arriving on campus. Make sure to ask the college or university for specifics. Are dorms coed? What is the campus policy as it relates to gender specific housing and how do they support transgender students? What policies or procedures are in place if a transgender student needs assistance or feels threatened? Campus housing, especially the dorms/apartments on campus are there to provide a safe living space for all students, and it’s the school’s duty to make sure that it truly applies to ALL students. Secondly, take time to find the campus LGBTQ+ center or pride group if they have one, and stop in. These groups are equipped and prepared to help LGBTQ+ students’ transition to...

My Biggest Takeaways as a Non-traditional College Student

By: Ethan Fisher, CAMPUSPEAK Speaker It seems like college was only a short time ago. College was a part of my life for over a decade – and no – I’m not a doctor. In 1998, I started my freshman year, and I didn’t graduate with my first bachelor’s degree until 2010. I received my second bachelor’s degree in 2011 and my master’s degree in 2014. I think it is safe to say that I know the college world better than most. The majority of my time on campus was filled with nights and weeks of constant binge drinking and partying like many students. Every morning, I woke up with a headache and a dry mouth. My body and brain hurt so much that I wouldn’t get out of bed; pulling the blankets back over me and sleeping the day away. I would attend classes occasionally, neglecting my responsibilities as a student and student-athlete. Midterms and finals would come and go as laid in my bed waiting for the evening to come so I could start drinking again. The end of the semester showed this with transcripts of grades that consisted of D’s, F’s, Incomplete or Withdrawal. Already knowing I was failing out of school, my bags were packed and ready to move back home and attend the local community college. This reoccurring lifestyle lasted the next half decade, thinking college was just a game. In total, I failed out of five schools and re-enrolling at the same community college five different semesters. In 2003 that all changed after getting invited to a local house party. It was a typical night...

CAMPUSPEAK’s Response to Recent Events in Charlottesville, VA

We Will Touch People’s Lives – It’s the only reason we are in business—to deliver important ideas which empower students to make a difference in their communities and in their own lives. Everything we do will honor, respect and promote human dignity and potential. This is the first of our five CAMPUSPEAK Core Values. It has not changed. It will not change. We believe that it all begins by acknowledging that all people are equal and deserve our recognition and respect. Anything short of that is simply unacceptable. We can’t limit the fear-mongers right to freely speak their hate. But, the RIGHT to spread their hate must be overpowered by our RESPONSIBILITY to spread love. It is for us to recommit ourselves to the unassailable dignity all human kind. For the simple, unqualified rejection of hatred in any form – whether by race, religion, creed, sexual orientation, gender identification, physical or mental ability, or any other element or difference that makes humanity so beautiful. We must use what has happened in Charlottesville, VA  as a reminder to recommit ourselves to support all those who are oppressed, marginalized, forgotten, abused, and mistreated. We must ensure that anyone whose basic human dignity and worth is questioned feels our support. We will NOT allow hate to spread in a vacuum of OUR silence. “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke DO SOMETHING. Speak out – act out. Support organizations that fight hate and spread love. Challenge others to see the value of diversity and the responsibility of inclusion. Don’t be silent. We won’t. David...

Four Tips For College Students For the Back to School Season

It’s that dreaded back to school season. We’re almost there—with the exception of you lovable overachievers going year round or on trimesters—the countdown to the fall semester officially has begun. Many students are probably wondering: How am I going to start off strong? How am I going to juggle classes along with my new relationship and a full-time job? How will I find an internship or the job that I love? Some students are probably feeling intense pressure to succeed and to be some sort of “perfect” (what does that mean anyway?) from professors, parents, and those carefully placed TV PSAs. It’s enough pressure to make a person break into two. To have a successful transition back to school and to stay in one piece, you need to develop resources to live mentally healthy and to repair those metaphorical cracks in the brain when everything around you seems like it’s falling apart and you feel like you might crumble. Here are four tips for back to school: Know how and where to find your campus resources: One of the biggest keys to success while in college is to know where and how to access resources of help. That could involve hiring a tutor, knowing where the counseling office is located, how to find events on campus, or which campus job is the cushiest. Developing healthy habits: While emerging from a six-week period of depression and suicidal thinking while I was in college, I realized I needed to develop new tools to dig myself out of the hole I fell into and give myself a fighting chance to keep myself out...

You Are Enough

As the school year begins, we place a lot of high expectations on ourselves. As great as it is to go into the year with goals, we have to be careful that those goals don’t turn into a competition with our peers. If we’re not careful, we’ll end up sizing ourselves up next to our classmates, our roommates—even our friends (without even realizing it!). All of sudden, we get those nagging feelings of resentment, jealousy, and uncertainty about ourselves. That little voice within tells us that we are inferior, insufficient—that not only will we not reach those goals, but we will also fail entirely. Well, that took a dark turn. Thankfully, we can turn it around. Rather than compare ourselves to others, we can find opportunities to learn from one another and in the process, learn to love ourselves. If you don’t foster a love for yourself and what you stand for, all of the knowledge, self-care, and resources are meaningless. I cannot make you care about yourself: only you can do that. Of course, I can tell you that you are valuable, worthwhile, and loved but only you can believe that. I know you might have doubts about yourself; perhaps you think you aren’t “enough,” but will you do something for me? Will you read the following sentence and truly believe it? I am enough. You are enough. I am enough. Just as we are. Do you believe this? Life is going to be a long journey if you cannot start accepting yourself for the imperfectly perfect person that you are. We all have made mistakes, and we...

Chase an Authentic Life

As an ethics professor and professional speaker on living an authentic life, my advice to students always begins with this remarkable fable: Imagine a racing greyhound named Cash. One warm summer evening, Cash sits outside on the front porch and discusses the future with his owner. The duo is world-famous and financially stable from the payouts of many big races. Between memories, Cash drops a bombshell and says, “I have made a decision. I have decided that I cannot race anymore. My career is finished!” His startled owner queries, “I must not have heard you correctly Cash, are you too old to race?” “No,” Cash replies, “I still have some race left in me.” “Well, do I mistreat you?” asks the owner. “No, no, you’ve always treated me wonderfully,” answers Cash. “Then why?” wonders the owner – still in shock – “Why would you give up on our chance to be rich and famous…” Cash cuts her off in mid sentence and makes a simple, yet profound statement: “After running and running and running all of these years, I finally realized that the rabbits I’ve been chasing all my life are fake and I don’t want to race anymore.” We all chase fake rabbits in one form or another. We desire popularity and respect from our peers and we strive to possess the same amenities as our neighbors. We tell white lies to avoid telling hard truths and fake it to appear more intelligent, more attractive and more accomplished than we really are. Worst of all, we readily blame others and avoid taking responsibility for our mistakes in order...

SMARTER Goals: Begin with the Change in Mind

This is an excerpt from Camille Nelson’s full article, SMARTER Goals: Begin with the Change in Mind Why are goals important? It is a complex question. It is a known rule that it takes an average of 10,000 hours to become an expert at a craft. So to become truly phenomenal at something, you need to focus consistently and routinely for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 44 weeks a year, for 5.5 years. That is both incredibly daunting and reasonable as a time frame. Yet the question again is not how long it will take to get there, but what the best path for you to take is. This is where optimal goals are truly needed. The goal of any business, organization, or individual endeavor is to be prosperous. However, for any initiative to be successful, there have to be goals that everyone can understand and relate to. For example, a person in sales is going to contribute to the success of the company in a vastly different way than the head of IT or finance. In order to set targets inside goals, there has to be a sense of equality for all participants. Why is this so hard to achieve in business, campus organizations and in life? Well, the honest answer is that at both the individual level and in organizations, society has an obsession with goal setting. In the current culture, neither an organization nor an individual can be considered successful unless goals are set and then met. The typical incentive used by leaders to achieve these goals is the continual focus on harder...

Getting Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

A lot of people get down on college students these days. “They complain too much!” “They don’t want to work!” “They have unrealistic expectations!” “They don’t want to work their way up!” “They can’t handle the pressure!” They are not “resilient,” they say. Even a simple Google search of “college students and resilience” will produce tons of articles on students’ declining mental health, grade inflation, and lack of coping, etc. I do agree that this generation has more pressure to succeed than any other, and along with that pressure comes even more challenges. Until just ten years ago, for example, if you were picked on in school, it at least ended when you got home. Now, with social media, it never ends. Combine this social pressure with increased tuition costs, more competition for fewer jobs, rising costs of living, how could anyone expect a developing adult to thrive in life, let alone college? Yet, as someone who has worked closely with college students for over a decade, I believe college students are more resilient than they think, and I’m out there to prove it. I’ve seen so many students accomplish extraordinary things which long-time professionals say they would’ve never dreamed of doing in college. From starting their own businesses, organizing and executing international trips with other students, to even raising $90,000 to bring a student from Haiti to college in the U.S., no one can convince me that today’s college students don’t have grit. The only thing we do have to do is unlock their potential and then be willing to show them the way. Here are just a...

Let’s Talk About Sex

I still remember the day my mom decided to give me “the talk.” During the prime of my 6th grade years, my school had decided to tell us all about the bird and the bees already and unbeknownst to me when my mom asked me to walk the dog; she was aware of their education as well. I thought nothing of our walk, until halfway around the block, she paused gravely and began. “Now Tim, I know your school has already done this with you, they sent home information saying they would do it, but I need to make sure they talked about everything…” And from there, I received what might have been one of the most awkward, yet illuminating talks of my life. My mom is quite the open person, and she led a very elaborate discussion on sex; much better than what happened at school. Even with how awkward it was, I am extremely fortunate to have been raised in a family where we talked about such things openly. As uncomfortable as it was, I am gracious I had such a conversation. My mother wanted to make sure that I knew not only how to have safe sex, but how to prepare emotionally, how to select partners and to drive home the ideas of sex as a partnership instead of a transaction. 6th grade me would never tell you this, but I was very fortunate that day. The truth of the matter is that in the United States, one of the biggest issues we face is the fact that we are failing to properly talk with our students about sex in all...

Letting Go to Get Everything

The more I have learned to LET GO, the more life fulfillment I have received. As I look back on the life lessons I experienced over the years, the Law of Detachment is one of the most valuable principles that I practice daily. The Law of Detachment enables a person to maximize growth within the present moment without factoring in what has happened in the past or what will occur in the future. To be completely upfront, there was a time in my life, about a decade ago, where it was all about me. Self-preservation is a must, but as I have analyzed my real intentions, they were very selfish. The words “I” and “my” were used as my go-to description of what my life objectives were focused on. My point had to be heard… My feelings had to be practiced… My way or the highway… I have to be #1… I have to make sure that I am taken care of. The list goes on and on. I sincerely had no idea how limiting this thought process was. I’m not trying to say that to maximize the quality of your life you should not take care of yourself. Please read on and be patient because by the end of this article it will make much more sense. In 2009, I started to transform my perspective. I starting learning, studying and implementing certain principles in my daily life. My perceptions of how to live changed, too. “My” and “I” became more inclusive because I started to look at the world as one moving part with trillions of subparts that...

Top 5 Ways to Kick Off the Fall Semester

We’ve all been there. It’s the first week of school, and everyone is reconnecting after being gone over the summer break, or new students are trying to make new friends within a new community. Whether you’re considering a new student organization, fraternity/sorority recruitment, a sports team, or even just wanting to make new friends, here are some tips to kick off your semester in a positive way: 1. Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint. The first few weeks of school will fly by, and you’ll be at mid-terms soon enough. There’s no need to feel the pressure to try to keep up with friends, go out almost every night of the week, and try and catch up with everyone you missed over summer break while drinking too much alcohol. Pace yourself, take your time and be strategic about which events you may or may not choose to drink. 2. The first week of school is the most important. You may not realize it, but the habits and thoughts you form during the first week of school will stick with you throughout the entire semester. Don’t allow alcohol to distract you from understanding the syllabus, setting a calendar or major deadlines for assignments and tests for the whole semester, or from keenly listening to instructions from your professors. Many faculty members report that students often overlook the syllabus, miss deadlines and end up earning lower grades because they either ignore or don’t pay attention to key instructions provided in the first few classes and the syllabus. 3. Your health is as important as your grades. Many students find themselves...

A Letter of Encouragement to my Younger Self

When I was in college, there were moments when I thought I knew who I really was, but I was afraid to embrace the idea that I might be “different” from others, or that I may not be exactly what I thought was expected of me. I was scared to open up and explore my sexual orientation and gender identity, and to let others in on my struggles. As I had done in my earlier years, I went through my college years hiding my true self, and as a result, I excluded myself from enjoying campus life and being a part of my university, all because I was afraid. I was scared that my family and friends would leave me; afraid I would be treated differently, and even afraid of being hurt. It wasn’t until I graduated that I began to deal with my identity struggles, embrace my true self and live out loud in a way that best represented who I was. I know that many LGBTQ students feel this way. I can honestly say, if I could have a do-over, I would change some things. Now, as an out, visible transgender identified person, with much more life experience, I can reflect on my college days, and instead of wishing I known more, and come out earlier, I decided to write my much younger, closeted self a letter of encouragement. Dear younger, struggling, closeted me, First and foremost, you will be okay, and even though life may feel overwhelming and scary at times, have patience and go easy on yourself. You are doing the best you can, and that...

How to Fail Forward

What’s something that scares you the most? For some it’s public speaking, for others, it’s being alone, and for some, it’s the fear of failure. It seems like we’re too afraid to fail and too scared to show our flaws or imperfections. But that’s not life, that’s not real. What if, and just go with me on this, what if when we fail, we succeed? You’ve heard it before: “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” Ugh, I despise that question. And even though it makes perfect sense on a motivational poster, what if it actually demotivates us? Of course, you’d try anything and everything if you knew you could not fail! And while the whole concept is ideal, I postulate that the reason we don’t try is that we are worried we will fail. I know some people who are afraid of a project failing, so they never start. I call it the “analysis paralysis.” We feel so burdened by all of the possibilities that we opt never to try one and move on to the next. We’ve become so paralyzed, so fearful of failure, that we don’t see it as what it is meant to be – a possibility. What’s that saying? “The possibilities are endless.” It’s true, and so are failures. I remember the first day of English my sophomore year in high school. My teacher greeted everyone with “Good morning, and welcome to English – at some point in this class; I hope you all fail.” As a fairly decent student, I remember thinking to myself that this woman had lost all her...

CAMPUSPEAK Adds 21 New Facilitators to its Roster in 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   Jessica Goodbred-Warren Director of Marketing & Communications p: (844) 745-8570 e: [email protected]   CAMPUSPEAK Adds 21 New Facilitators to its Roster in 2017   May 19, 2017, Orlando, FL – CAMPUSPEAK announced today the addition of 21 new facilitators to its roster, focused on leading the company’s Interactive Workshops. CAMPUSPEAK offers 11 Interactive Workshops that encourage students to interact and take an active role in their own learning experience. These workshops are led now by a team of 41 highly skilled and qualified Higher Ed professionals. The CAMPUSPEAK Interactive Workshops cover topics such as exploring leadership values, igniting student passion, council and organizational development, and exploring social justice and diversity, just to name a few. CAMPUSPEAK has three lead facilitators, Angel Garcia, Austin Arias, and Victoria Lopez-Herrera, who are responsible for providing training and development to all facilitators, both old and new at this year’s company get together event called HUDDLE, in June in San Juan, Puerto Rico. “Angel, Victoria and I are so excited to welcome these new team members to the Interactive Workshops Division and join our dynamic group of returning facilitators,” Austin Arias said. “We offer the best facilitators from around the country because we carefully choose experts that will make the most positive impacts on students and their campus communities.”   The names of the new facilitators are: Keith Becklin, Bre Berris, Brittany Bowles, Nate Burke, Dennis Campbell Jr., Alexandra Federico, Patrick Fredricks, Amanda Horvat, Kristen Kardas, Lynsy Karrick-Wikel, Lauren Krznarich, Rafael Matos, Erika Michalski, Tony Miller Jr., Jameson Root, Michael Steele, Shane Taylor, Curtis Taylor, Rolando Torres, Kristen Vega, and Julie...

The Secret the Universe Wants You to Know

Want to know how to create the best life you can live?  Sure, you do. We all do. Let me fill you in on a little secret that the universe and life are working diligently to show us all the time. There is a way to get whatever we want in life, to achieve the life we are meant to live. In order to succeed at reaching our innate potential, however, we must make a choice. It takes real guts, and it’s totally up to us. We should choose to hear the voice within us, and then we have to vow to follow that voice to the ends of the earth, no matter what insanity, uncertainty or doubt it may lead us through. When was the last time you asked yourself, “What am I here for?” Do you already know your mission? Or, are you— like most of us— pretty clueless. Wherever you may fall on the spectrum, it’s all good. The great news is that we have the capacity to create our lives anew with the choices we make each day. Oh, I promised to tell you the secret. I bet you’re still waiting for that, huh? Ok, here’s the juicy insider scoop— only two emotions exist, and they serve as the foundation of everything. Those two emotions are love and fear. When we do what our heart tells us to do with love, we always win. Even when it hurts, and it’s confusing. Even when we don’t understand why painful things are happening, we must choose to commit to moving through it. Never quit. We are stronger...

Why The Best Students Seek Out Good Friction

If you’re striving to make progress on anything meaningful in your life, what you need most is something we all tend to avoid. Good friction.  What is good friction, exactly? It’s another way to describe getting real, constructive feedback that asks the tough questions, helps us find our footing so we can get traction, and pushes us to be a little better in our work and everyday lives. The rub is that even for the most confident among us, finding and dealing with good friction can be challenging. How do you get pushed just hard enough outside your comfort zone without being knocked flat on your back from fear of failure? Think of the last time someone gave you feedback, solicited or not, on something you worked hard on or care about deeply. Whether the feedback came from a professor, advisor or from a long-trusted friend, if you’re like most of us, chances are, you first heard the feedback as criticism. Maybe you even got defensive and thought, “What do they know anyway? … Idiot.” If that sounds familiar, don’t be too hard on yourself. This response is perfectly normal. Sharing our work with others — whether it be a blog post, a class project we busted our butt on, that piece of jewelry you made at your kitchen table, or that screenplay you’ve been toiling away at for years — is inherently vulnerable. Even if we know the feedback will help us, all that ‘red ink’ on our work can be hard to digest sometimes. But getting real, tough feedback doesn’t have to cut like a knife. How can you learn to...

How Women Will End Hazing

[This article is based on content contributed by the author for publication in the upcoming book – Fall 2018 – by Hank Nuwer titled Destroying Young Lives: Hazing in Schools and the Military.] “The world will be saved by the western woman.” When the Dalai Lama, who called himself a feminist, made this statement at the Vancouver Peace Summit in 2009, he may not have known what a sensation it would make. But a great deal of research of late has also proven the truth of his statement and reinforced what many campus professionals have believed for years. Namely, that women and feminine leadership styles are capable of fostering tremendous progress on some of our most intractable problems. As a speaker, prevention advocate, non-profit founder and frequent media expert over the past decade on the topic of hazing, I couldn’t agree more. In my 25 years working in and around higher education, I have often repeated to students what I was taught – that sorority women at the local level could change the face of a fraternity/sorority community by standing up for their values, refusing to participate in events or activities that were mean-spirited, dangerous or demeaning to women, and by exercising their leadership. Time and again, this has been proven by undergraduate women on campuses across North America. When women exercise their unique leadership approach utilizing long-term and global perspectives, nurturing, empathy, conversational turn-taking, credit distribution, inquiry and networked thinking, according to Janet Crawford who created a workshop for companies called The Surprising Neuroscience of Gender Inequity (Hwang, 2014), lasting change is possible, even probable. An MIT study...

Listen Up!

When was the last time you really listened to someone? I mean really, truly listened—with no phone in your hand, no earbud in one ear, no inner monologue? Chances are it’s been a while. Listening is an incredibly powerful skill—and an even more powerful tool. By truly listening to someone, you’re ensuring their voice is heard, which sounds obvious, but it’s empowering. We’re often so caught up with wanting to chime in and relate everyone’s stories and problems to our own ideas and struggles that conversations become one person waiting for the other to stop talking so they can share what’s on their mind. And sometimes, when a friend comes to us and says, “I’m having such a bad day. You won’t believe what happened!” it’s tempting to immediately start offering advice and trying to help. But that’s not always what people need. Sometimes, they just need someone to listen to them. It’s just as important to give your friends space to talk as it is the people in your organization. At my company, our leadership team started doing what we call “check-ins” with our team members. The point of a check-in is first to get to know our team members better and for them to get to know us. But it’s also just to listen. We ask them questions about their lives, their families, their dreams, and then we sit back and let them talk. We hear amazing stories about their family members, their childhoods and their goals that we would’ve never heard otherwise. We also ask them about their jobs and what they think could be better....

Headbands of Hope: Celebrating Five Years with Five Important Lessons

April 25th will be the five year anniversary of my college startup, Headbands of Hope. For every headband sold, one is given to a child with cancer. I was inspired to start Headbands of Hope after an internship with a wish-granting organization. I discovered kids losing their hair to chemotherapy and wanting to wear headbands instead of wigs or hats. To date, Headbands of Hope has been featured on Good Morning America (we’ll be on again in May!), Vanity Fair, The TODAY Show, Seventeen Magazine (three times), Cosmopolitan and worn by countless celebrities. But the biggest milestone I’m most proud of donating over 100k headbands to every children’s hospital in America and six countries. Sometimes when you have a business or goals in life, you’re always looking forward, and it’s hard to realize how far you’ve come. Now five years later, I look back to my junior year in college when I founded the company, and I realize I’ve learned so much. I continue to learn every day (usually by making mistakes…but we’ll get to that later) but here are five key things I’ve learned the past five years since the start of Headbands of Hope… 1) Use your resources I started Headbands of Hope with a small account of funds I had saved up from my Disney World internship the year before. I never sought out investors or thought about the funding I didn’t have, I looked at what was on the table for me right then and there. Beyond money, the biggest resource I had was being a college student. As a communications major, I knew very...

Legendary Leadership: 4 Ideas to Transform Your Leadership from Average to Awesome!

Legends are not born, they are made. To be clear, legendary leadership is not about creating legendary individuals, but rather legendary organizations, movements, and causes. True legends are remembered, not because they focused on themselves, but because they focused on something bigger than themselves. Applying these 4 Ideas will move your leadership from merely average to amazingly awesome! Idea 1: Seek to Be More Interested, than Interesting There are not leaders of organizations; there are only leaders of people that make up the organizations. When we see ourselves as the leaders of organizations, the focus can stay on us, but awesome leaders realize their power rests on the people they are serving and helping to reach a common goal and purpose. When leadership is not about our resume or accolades, and it is about understanding how we help people to do amazing work – that is legendary leadership! Idea 2: When You Leave, It Should Be Better When you leave your position, do you want the next person to be better than you? Even if you said yes, many of us in our inner thoughts want to be the leader that everyone remembers and values. What if I told you that one secret to being an amazing leader is that when you are gone your organization should be bigger, better or both! If years from now you are the best leader that your organization or campus has experienced then you really didn’t lead, all you did was manage. Legendary leaders empower others to be better than them after they are long gone. Idea 3: Focus on Giving More than...

Picking Fights With Strangers (OK, not really.)

  I have an unusual hobby: asking random strangers about warm and fuzzy topics such as religion and politics. Where’s the best place to do that? Airplanes. Airplanes are perfect for such a conversation since your fellow passengers are stuck with you once they’re buckled in. I like to start off with something like, “Hi. I’m Tyson. Whom did you vote for?” At this point, our stranger has a choice to make: Engage in dialogue or try to avoid the topic for the 1 – 4-hour duration of our relationship. (If I’m in a talkative mood, ignoring me won’t be easy.) Why do I do this? The US political conversation is in rough shape. Strong opinions are everywhere, and even facts are no longer agreed upon. Plenty of us seem willing to talk, but listeners are in short supply. Perhaps even more troublesome in the long-term is that we sometimes choose to stay silent rather than risk an argument by even expressing our views. This leads to isolated silos of opinion, sometimes referred to as being in the liberal or conservative “bubble.” Campus advisors all over the country tell me that students are “in the bubble” on all sorts of issues. The trend over time is that they are less and less likely to have any difficult conversations – not just political, but personal too – with anyone. Instead many simply take the easy way out and gossip with a friend, rather than productively address a disagreement or conflict. This leaves us with a lack of basic dialogue skills, making it impossible to bridge the divide and solve problems...

Authentic Happiness

Life presents the ultimate challenge – to be authentically happy. Authentic people possess an outer persona that reflects their inner beliefs and character. The face they present to the world mirrors who they truly are deep down. Authentically happy people, in turn, possess and reflect contentment, gratitude, kindness, and joy. They have no need to fake happiness. They relish being around happy people and seek to persuade the rest. Essentially, their souls shine from the inside out. Authentic happiness is that rare goal that people seek solely as an end. Our other goals are mere means to become happy. Think about it. We get married and start families because being surrounded by people to love makes us happy. We work to find fulfillment and make our communities better because leaving a legacy makes us happy. We travel because new, adventurous, and memorable experiences make us happy. We exercise to become healthy because physical fitness decreases pain, increases energy, and releases endorphins and all that makes us happy. You get the idea. You rarely witness people seek happiness so that something better or greater or grander happens. Happiness marks the end of the road, our destination. An authentically happy life is within everyone’s reach, but it can be elusive. Life is tough, and the world often conspires against us. Our successes are followed by battles where magic formulas evaporate under pressure, Ten Steps to Happiness programs rarely push the right buttons or delve deep enough, and hunkering down to wait for a better opportunity consistently proves futile. These shortcuts are hardwired into our daily existence, but they prove ineffective here....

See something, say something: how confrontation makes us better

    Years ago, there was a student on our team—I’ll call her Julie—who did some strange things while cleaning our clients’ homes. She would try on clients’ shoes, spray on their cologne, play their very old, very expensive and very off-limits pianos (“Mary Had A Little Lamb,” no less), and she even made a long-distance call from a client’s landline once. And I, her boss, said nothing. Her teammates—and even a couple clients—had informed me of her antics, but every time, I’d swept the issues under the rug, thinking surely Julie would realize how bonkers this stuff was and quit doing it eventually—right? Wrong. One day, I drove up to our office and saw Julie’s car in our parking lot with “BLOW ME” scrawled across her dusty back window. I was furious. What if she pulled up in a client’s driveway with that written on her car? How bad would that make us look? Really, really bad. I was done letting this girl slide. She was about to get it. So, I called her into my office right away, sat her down, and let her have it. …not. Instead of talking to Julie face-to-face, I sat down at my laptop and wrote her an email. I saw this girl almost every day in our office, and I couldn’t work up the courage to just talk to her like a person. After I clicked “send,” I avoided Julie like the plague. Luckily, I sent the email right before the Thanksgiving holidays, so I had a ready-made excuse not to run into her for a while. A few weeks after...

Spring Fever

Spring is officially here, spring break has likely come and gone, and the rapid pace of the end of the semester is about to begin. While this is often filled with exciting events, it can also be a time with numerous deadlines and long to-do lists. The stress of getting it all done may lead to us being less understanding of your roommate’s annoying habits, team member’s lack of follow-through, or people emailing you questions about things you just announced the night before. The end of the semester combined with a sense of responsibility leaves many leaders frustrated, confused, and over it. You have a choice – ignore it all and get through the semester or step up and address it. Susan Scott said it best in her book Fierce Conversations, “You get what you tolerate.” What are you tolerating? What needs to be discussed to help your organization focus more on collaboration instead of trying to resolve small personal issues? What decisions do you need to make to get results instead of just participating in every activity or event that comes across the calendar? Are those events even things your members enjoy and align with your values? What do you need to tackle today in order to have a clear list of priorities so you can stop feeling overwhelmed? What are those things that keep you up at night? Do you have that list? If you don’t, take a second and write it down. So what is stopping you from having that conversation? Do you find yourself saying things like: What do I know? I don’t want to...

Do you even care?

Over the past handful of months, social media has looked like thousands of people all trying to have a “conversation” with their own megaphone.  Most of it was an unproductive hot mess. I would be fascinated to see data about if Facebook posts actually changed people’s minds, or if it just caused us to fall deeper into our own worlds, causing deeper rifts between political colors, genders, races, religions, and socio-economic classes No matter what, what has not been happening enough is listening to each other. Politics and religion bring out the worst in us. Compassion, patience, and having an open mind all often get thrown out the window.  We are so set in our ways that we no longer regard others’ opinions and stories. If we are ever going to progress, this has to change. We have all been taught at some time or another what active listening is. For those who need a refresher, active listening means: Maintain good eye contact Square your shoulders to face the other person Nod your head at various points Then paraphrase what the other person said before asserting your own thoughts or asking another question. Those all sound great, and sure, they could work.  But I would like to offer an alternative: Care. Just care, friends. When you care about someone you naturally lean in, maintain good eye contact, ask better questions, etc. It is possible for you to fake active listening, believe me I have done it. But it is not possible to fake caring. When someone tries to fake caring it is so blatantly obvious. It’s time to start...

How does one find their life’s passion? By serving others.

Nowadays we are asked to volunteer for many different things – from serving at food banks, to walk-a-thons, to participating in breast cancer awareness events. All of which are important. But while volunteering, we often act mechanically without a thought – except to just to get it over with. To volunteer is to give of one’s self and to truly find out who you are and what you are made of. There are many advantages to volunteering, but I’d like to highlight three that I believe are the difference in finding one’s passion and determining one’s destination for life. Before I began my professional speaking career, my younger sister approached me and asked if I’d speak at her school about the topic of teen pregnancy. She indicated that they were having a panel of speakers to talk about their experience. I immediately said, yes. And the experience was life changing. I discovered that I had the ability to tell stories that were very relatable and at times even funny, but, I could get a serious point across. After my initial presentation, I was rewarded with a request from teachers asking if I’d come back to speak to the students because of their positive response. I found myself volunteering to go to the school once a month to speak with students. What I got out of the experience was well above what I believe my audience received from me. I realized I had the skill to speak. I also realized I had a story that needed to be shared, which brought value to others through my experiences and message. The...

5 Tips for a Safer Spring Break

It’s that time of year when college students around the country travel to sunny beaches and other vacation spots to enjoy their spring break. Unfortunately, some leave behind the knowledge they’ve gained and disregard some of the safer behaviors they’ve learned regarding alcohol use. Here are a few tips for a safer spring break, to help reduce risks and negative consequences associated with heavy drinking: Spring break is a marathon, not a sprint:  Several days of heavy drinking, let alone one night, can be very taxing on the body in terms of the liver and other organs. This also can affect your immune system, and many students have tests or exams immediately upon their return from spring break. Hydrate: Alcohol is a dehydration agent, meaning it take water out of your system. Consider limiting alcohol consumption while being out in the sun or on the beach all day, and consider alternating water for alcohol (drink-for-drink) throughout the week. Know your surroundings: Become familiar with where you’re staying and the neighborhood. Make plans with friends to meet up at specific locations or times. Watch out for each other. Keep your phone with you at all times, and avoid looking like a tourist with your phone in hand while attempting to look at a map.  Stay in groups and avoid going off alone. Intoxicated spring breakers often make easy targets for theft and other crimes. Predatory drugs still exist: Always watch your drink being poured by the bartender, and take your drink directly from the bartender. Carry your drink with your hand covering the open top of your drink, making it...

Monica McGee Appointed Chief Operating Officer of CAMPUSPEAK

March 8, 2017, Orlando, FL – CAMPUSPEAK announced today the appointment of Monica McGee as its Chief Operating Officer, effective April 3, 2017. “I’ve known Monica for over a decade and couldn’t be more excited for her to join our staff team. She has always had a student-first approach to her work that I admire,” says David Stollman, President of CAMPUSPEAK. “That approach will translate into ensuring that we continue to focus on outstanding customer service.” Monica McGee has been working in student affairs for over 15 years. Throughout her career, she has worked at both private and public institutions, including University of the Pacific, Marquette University, Carnegie Mellon University and Arizona State University. McGee has a deep affinity for the interfraternal experience, having joined Gamma Phi Beta while attending the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. She chose to pursue a career in Higher Education, earning her master’s degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Monica is a consummate student affairs professional and believes deeply in the engagement of students outside of the classroom. Before her role managing the operations of the Memorial Union at Arizona State, she was an award-winning fraternity and sorority life advisor. In 2011, Monica was recognized as the Campus Professional of the Year by Beta Theta Pi fraternity, and in 2012, Monica received the Outstanding Campus Professional Award by the Association of Fraternity Advisors and the Fraternity Insurance Purchasing Group. Commenting on her appointment, McGee says, “From the time that I was in college, I have seen the positive impact that CAMPUSPEAK has had on college students’ lives. I am truly excited to join the...

The need for conversations on masculinity.

For me, masculinity has always been an interesting concept. I grew up in a military family surrounded by what some might consider ideologies of “traditional” masculinity. My father was stoic and expected achievement. Our lives were heavily ordered, and he served as the primary breadwinner, while my mother was a source of emotional support and nurturing. I did not live in a military school by any means, but there were set expectations for how I behaved in public, how I tended to my responsibilities and swift repercussions for mischief. Which was a problem because, boy oh boy, did I love engaging in mischief. From breaking my bone to dismantling items to see their inner workings to drawing on items not meant to be colored, I broke the rules frequently, and I broke them well. Where, for other boys in my class, it was not uncommon to hear “oh, boys will be boys,” for me, this refrain did not come as much. For a long time, I wondered why but now I realize a little more. The reason I was never given leniency, is because of my actions, in a sense, were not inherently masculine. Creativity, the expression of visible emotion, challenging teachers, not about rules but about what we were learning. I broke the rules but in a different way than my peers. Reflecting on this, I was always curious about why sometimes, my decisions stood out, why adults bothered me, why I stood out from my peers and why I received more pushback against my behaviors, especially the more artistic ones. Growing up, I did not have the answers...

Tips for recruiting and retaining LGBTQ+ students.

  When I was in high school, I remember checking out the college and university brochures, trying to decide which campus looked like the best fit for me. Like many prospective students, I looked at the city or town the campus was located in, the overall vibe of the community, what kinds of activities were available in the surrounding areas, like skiing, hiking, attractions, etc., and finally, I checked out the actual academic programs that the school offered. I may have had my priorities backward, but nevertheless, I had to envision myself living and being comfortable with the entire experience. Even though I wasn’t ‘out’ in regards to my sexual orientation or gender identity, at that time, I still felt the need to choose a school/city that was open-minded. For LGBTQ+ (especially Trans) students, there is much more to consider when selecting a college. In addition to finding appealing college courses and majors, and an open-minded town, LGBTQ+ students look for indications that the campus culture is safe and inclusive to diverse groups, like themselves. For many students, high school was less than favorable, and they were victims of bullying and anti-LGBTQ+ harassment, so for those who choose to continue their education, it’s imperative to find a campus that welcomes them, as their authentic self. Students need to feel safe and supported emotionally, physically and socially, to succeed. Here are some tips to effectively recruit and retain LGBTQ+ students, as well as to promote inclusiveness on your campus. Recruiting Materials Just as I looked at all the college brochures and campus photographs, so is every other prospective student, and...

WHY and NOW!

Your WHY is important, but so is your NOW! You have been hiding under a rock (shameful Geico reference) if you have not heard someone ask about your WHY. It has been made insanely popular by Simon Sinek who focuses on helping organizations and leaders discover their WHY in his latest book. Although Sinek has made it popular, this question has been a vital issue for a long time. In my most popular presentation and my upcoming book, WHY Matters NOW: How Some Achieve More and Other’s Don’t I challenge you to explore both your WHY and your NOW, as they are of equal importance!   The WHY: What is your WHY? No, I am not asking you to look in the mirror and ask, “what is the meaning of life?” I am asking what motivates you.  What is your purpose? What is your intent? What drives you and energizes you? When you understand your WHY, it leads you to make better decisions, to say no more effectively, and persevere when challenges arise. Whether for new students, professionals, or organizational leaders, this question is important. I like to frame it this way. What do you offer/contribute and what is your effect/impact? It’s called the “I AM, SO THAT!” To further clarify it, it can look like “I AM (what you offer/contribute), SO THAT (your effect and impact). Let me give you my example. I AM (inspiring others to take purposeful action), SO THAT (they can achieve authentic results and challenge the boundaries of what they believe is possible). I ask myself what I am doing filtered through this lens....

I spent 24-hours of my honeymoon playing soccer with Syrian refugees.

Ethan Zohn won a million dollars on the TV show Survivor and put the money to good use. As a philanthropist, entrepreneur and college speaker, Ethan dedicates his time to helping others in need and educating his audiences on how they can make a difference. Read his most recent article about how he and his wife spent their honeymoon making a positive impact: I spent 24-hours of my honeymoon playing soccer with Syrian refugees. Learn more about speaker Ethan Zohn and his story:...

Building a legacy through leadership and service.

Service is an integral part of leadership. Not only do student leaders have the opportunity to inspire and guide their fellow students. They can also model the importance of serving our communities, and giving to those in need. Someone who modeled this for me was my mother. Here is a story about her: It was 1990, and I was sitting in the auditorium of my old high school waiting for the show to begin. The lights flickered on and off letting the audience know there were 5 minutes left to the start of the production of Music Music Music. We sat there in great anticipation. Finally, the lights dimmed, the curtains opened, and the audience erupted into applause. Up on the stage were 30 adults with down syndrome, decked out in full costumes, ready to perform their lip-sync number to the song Delta Dawn. This was the fundraiser my mother had produced for many years for a group called the DDA, (Developmentally Disabled Adults of Rockingham County). My mother worked with the DDA from 1985 to 2011, when she retired. My mom was the Director of Parks and Recreation in Madison, North Carolina, the small town where I grew up. She had gone back to college when she was 40 years old to major in Therapeutic Recreation. She vowed that went she graduated and got a job; she would hold a special place in her heart for anyone with a disability. And she did! Each month, as the Director of Parks and Recreation, she offered a program for the DDA. Sometimes it was a Scavenger Hunt. Other times, it...

Words Make a Difference

  Recognizing people is one the most important parts of being a leader, and it’s also one of my favorite parts. Praising and complimenting others has always come naturally to me, and I love making people feel good about themselves. But the first time I remember my positive words really making an impact on someone was soon after I started a cleaning company when I was in college. It was in the middle of what we call “move-out season,” which takes place in the dead of summer. I was leading a large team at an apartment complex, where we were tasked with cleaning about 100 units that day. My company is based in Gainesville, Florida, so as you can imagine, it’s Really. Freaking. Hot. Add that to cleaning empty apartments where people have lived for years—sometimes without cleaning them at all—and you’ve got a recipe for misery. To get my team through the move-out season, it takes a lot of encouragement. I was making my rounds to each apartment, delivering water to teams and thanking them for working so hard. In one of the units I visited, two students were working together in a kitchen. I greeted them and handed them each a water bottle. Then I consulted my list and realized there should be another person in the apartment. “Isn’t there someone else with you?” I asked. “Yeah,” one of the students said. “He’s… down that way, cleaning one of the bathrooms.” The way she said it made me think something was up, so I set off down the hallway. When I reached the bathroom, I looked through...

Fill Their Bucket

  As a student of leadership, I’m always looking for pragmatic concepts that I can add to my toolbox, and especially ones that I can incorporate into my keynote speeches. Enter Child Psychology 101. My wife and I have two kids. Roman is four and Sylvia is two. We love them to death, and in our minds, they truly are our little angels. But sometimes, as you might imagine, they don’t always demonstrate angelic behavior. Up until recently, well, let’s just say they were in the habit of displaying remarkably “spirited” behavior. My wife’s and my patience was pushed to the limit, and we arrived at a point where we both agreed we needed some professional help. We made a beeline for the Google search bar and found a child behavioral expert who bases her methodology on what is known as Adlerian Psychology. One of her premises is that if you want well-behaved children, you must satisfy their need for attention and power. At the end of her one-hour webinar, we were sold on the promise that inside her magic box lay all the secrets for putting an end to all of that undesired negative behavior, of which our kids seemed to have an endless supply. She had shown us the light, and we were ready for her six-week course. Early on in the program, we learned that children (1) don’t experience an adequate amount of attention and (2) don’t feel empowered, through no fault of their own, they act out in the only ways they know how, usually in the form of temper tantrums, whining, and innumerable other ways...

The Power of Belonging

      Over the last four years, I have engaged in an in-depth inquiry into the nature of fraternal brotherhood and sisterhood. I have learned a great deal about the fraternal experience in those four years, and have published and presented research that I think represents a fundamental shift in focus for those of us working in the fraternity/sorority industry. Of all that we have learned, one finding stands out above the others: a brotherhood or sisterhood based on belonging – a feeling of connectedness and mattering – is the single most important aspect of the fraternal experience. In our research, we have quantitatively studied over 30,000 fraternity and sorority members, and have engaged in in-depth qualitative analysis, hearing from fraternity and sorority members themselves about the experiences that shape their feelings of brotherhood and sisterhood. And those students have resoundingly stated, over and over again, in their own words and in their answers to survey questions, that a feeling of belonging is of paramount importance. Belonging is the single most powerful predictor of retention in fraternities and sororities. It is the single most important predictor of overall satisfaction with the fraternity/sorority experience. It is the single most important predictor of organizational commitment and attachment. And belonging is the key that opens the door to the most altruistic versions of brotherhood and sisterhood – a drive to hold one another to high standards and to strive together to achieve greatness. Show me a chapter with retention issues, motivation issues, or involvement issues, and I’ll show you a chapter with belonging issues. The importance of a brotherhood or sisterhood based...

I cannot make you change. But I can change me.

    “If only my spouse/child/parent/boss would change…” To focus our attention on what we can’t control produces suffering. You and I have limited resources. We have finite time, energy and attention. When we expend those resources on what is beyond our control, suffering ensues. That suffering is a sign. It means we’re out of balance with the natural order of things. It means we’re not harnessing our limited resources towards doing what we can do because we’ve opted to focus on what we cannot do. I cannot make you change. But I can change me. Often, that’s enough to ease my suffering. Every week, I meet with courageous people in the therapy room. People from all walks of life who are struggling to overcome challenges impeding them from becoming their best selves. Too many have been the victims of unspeakable abuse, neglect, or crimes they did nothing to merit. For these folks, empowerment comes from the paradoxical truth that although what happened to them long ago was not their fault, today they have the moral responsibility to assume ownership over the effects of their earlier trauma. Then, no longer are they passive victims, but can begin to forge a new meaning from their experiences and chart a new path of their choosing. What happened to me yesterday may not have been my fault. What do I do with today is my responsibility. Be well. Joel Learn more about speaker Dr. Joel Núñez, check...

The Perfect Love Affair #PLA

      “Love is patient, and love is kind…” or so the story is told. There is a moment when you think about your personal love, and sometimes it leads to warm fuzzy moments or cold realities of the bad decisions you have made in your lifetime. We often find ourselves waiting for someone to say how much they like us, or even how much they love us. But sometimes the voice that we need to hear to say those things belongs to us. Why do we find ourselves waiting on others to acknowledge our existence when we may have walked by five mirrors and didn’t acknowledge ourselves? I know this may be too deep, especially if you just stumbled across this article while eating your morning Cheerios. However, I have a responsibility to share with some and remind others. Does the love affair that you seek, start with yourself first? Loving yourself first is what I call the PERFECT LOVE AFFAIR! No one is going to love you better than you. No one is going to encourage, motivate and inspire you to stay strong more than you can. I know that this may cause you to be a bit vulnerable. However, this is what creates inner strength. Brené Brown says it best: “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.” You’ve heard this before, but allow me to reintroduce you to this phrase – You can’t worry about the haters. You have to be prepared to lead your haters. Hence the reason that self-love is so important. When...

How to Mistake Your Way to Your Best Self

It’s pretty uncommon these days for anyone to encourage you to make a mistake, let alone celebrate one. A mistake is considered to be the opposite of a success and therefore something to be avoided in our success-focused culture. But what if I told you that it’s not so simple – that mistakes are crucial for your personal growth and that avoiding mistakes is the best way to keep you from being your most successful self? What would you do? How would you live a life where mistakes were marvelous? First off, you have to believe that mistakes are great! We have spent most of our lives being told to avoid mistakes. Almost every test we take in school sends that message. If you want a good grade, don’t make any mistakes. A good grade is considered the key to a good school, which is the key to a good job, which is our key to a good life. Anything that derails that imaginary path is a bad thing. But take some time to think about your life when you learned the most about yourself and others. Did they come from easy successes? Or did they come from epic fails? Perhaps it was the success you found after the trials, obstacles, and mistakes you had to experience to get there? My guess is it was the latter. Mistakes have changed the world for the better! All you have to do is look back in history to see all the mistakes that we benefit from today. The microwave was invented because Percy Spencer was trying to create a new vacuum tube....

Selling is Synonymous with Success

    “I do not have the personality to be a great salesperson.” I may be the first one to tell you this, but personally believing in that statement can be a major hindrance to your personal and business progression. Out of every ten salespeople that you meet, two usually have the personality of a great salesperson. The ones that we usually run into are the other eight, and unfortunately, until the message from this article spreads to the general public, the stereotypes that come with the personality of a salesperson will continue to push possible buyers away. These traits include: aggressive over-talkers impatient not genuine egotistical Those are just a few, but these are usually characteristics that someone who agreed with my opening statement is thinking about when assessing the personality type os a salesperson. The previous traits are not only unproductive for someone in sales, but also for anyone in life. What Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Andrew Carnegie, and Henry Ford have in common is that they were some of the greatest salesmen who have ever lived. The ideas that they persuaded others to buy into had a generational impact that has had an effect on the way we all live today. The mindset of a great salesperson involves understanding human behavior that they demonstrate through their passionate delivery of their message. What the average person deals with is the total opposite when it comes to sales. They deal with an overly assumptive person who usually does not allow proper communication, and those types of experiences cause the buyer to carry defenses into future encounters...

Leadership Misconceptions: How Extraordinary Leaders Inspire and Lead Differently

  Leadership is… action, not position. transformation, not a transaction. influence, not management. a verb, not a noun. Whether I am speaking to student audiences or corporate organizations, the challenges and frustrations I hear leaders talk about have common threads. The seasoned executive and department manager are very likely dealing with many of the same issues as the student leader. “Others just don’t seem to care as much.” “If only people did what they said they’d do!” “Why can’t we get more people involved?” “20% of us are doing 80% of the work!” etc., etc. The good news is there are solutions to whatever your frustrations might be. Of course, circumstances are unique for each of us, but leadership principles are universal and span across an age and industry. As long as a leader recognizes the specific changes they desire and are needed, there are ways to make that reality come to life. That’s what effective leaders do. They have a reality check to assess and recognize where they are and then they work with others to get where he/she/they want to be. Where they want to be is a clear vision that they communicate and hold themselves accountable to work toward. Spoiler Alert! This one article won’t solve all the world’s problems, but it can help us get started. I’ll be diving deeper into what I believe is the most important concept that will help you tackle and work through any challenge you are currently facing. Whether you want to improve your organization, a relationship, or yourself, apply this one principle to begin the journey. “Remember, it’s not what...

Release Self-Neglect and Love Yourself in Action

    When it comes to moving toward more fierce loving of your own body, speaker and founder of bodyheart, Amber Krzys is an expert. She recently sat down for a podcast with Sexyfit to talk about the importance of creating a positive body image that will help carry out more meaningful New Year’s resolutions. You can hear the podcast episode here. Learn more about keynote speaker Amber Krzys and her story:...

Showing Up With Purpose & Embracing Vulnerability in 2017

    We have all been affected by trauma: violence, disease, injustice, poverty. I believe that these certain events in our lives (both in personal and societal spheres) resonate with us and inspire us to change the world for the better. Some of us just lack the courage and insight to step out into our calling. For myself, it was an unfortunate event of sexual violence that caused me to rethink how I wanted to live and participate in the world. It was this event that made me change my college major and career path so that I could pursue more meaningful work in the empowerment of women. As some of us wade into 2017 with a deep sense of fear, anger and heartbreak, we must consider how to react to the circumstances which brought us here, especially when they seed in us a desire to implement positive change. My proposal: embrace your vulnerability on the path to discovering your own calling. Here are three steps to getting started: 1. Spend time alone To pursue work that’s meaningful to you, you must truly know your own heart and identity. What do you stand for? What are you passionate about? For myself, spending six months travelling and working overseas allowed me to explore my passions and identity while stripped of societies definition of who I was. Back home, I was so consumed with what others were doing or what others thought that I lost touch with Me. By literally unplugging from the world I was most comfortable in, I was able to spend time tending to the greening of my...

Put On Your Oxygen Mask First: Prioritizing Self-Care

  It’s the beginning of 2017. Are you already feeling stressed out? After the holiday season, we tend to be that much harder on ourselves and the start of a new year can feel even more overwhelming. When the workload has got you down, one of the best things you can do is take preventative steps to protect your wellbeing. We call this self-care. What is self-care? I like to envision it like this: have you noticed that when you’re preparing to takeoff in an airplane the flight attendant demonstrates how to use the oxygen mask? They always say to put your own oxygen mask on first before helping someone else. This is exactly how self-care works. We need to invest in our well-being before we can help others. Self-care includes anything that you love to do. What makes you feel recharged, well-rested, and happy? I especially love how Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi conceptualizes self-care with the notion of “flow.” Flow is the optimal state when we are so in the moment that we lose track of time.[i] The activity is so emotionally stimulating and engaging that we don’t care what other priorities we have on our list. And if you’re not sure what you love to do or when you are in “flow?” Follow your natural curiosity and talent and see what you find. Be willing to experiment with your creativity and be open to new experiences. What are some different things that you can do for self-care? I’m listing a plethora of options for you below. Self-Care Set Hold, walk, or play with your pet ~ Go for...

The “secret sauce” of SNL’s success is dropping the drama

  It is strange that a show like Saturday Night Live’s success comes from removing “drama,” but it’s true! To understand why, let’s first talk about belonging, psychological safety and authenticity. Belonging. My friends Gentry and Josh over at Dyad Strategies told me a lot about belonging that I already knew. Good research can uncover ideas that make you say, “duh,” because common sense helps us come to some conclusions naturally. Sometimes, it makes so much sense, that on face value, it’s easy to accept. The feeling of belonging matters. In fact, a member’s depth of feeling that they belong to an organization will predict most aspects of their experience, like their level of commitment and identification with the organization. The more one feels they belong, the more one expects a correlation of those factors. Why do people feel that they belong? And, what can your organization do to help deepen that feeling? One answer comes from the “secret sauce” of Saturday Night Live’s success –  psychological safety. Charles Duhigg (Pulitzer Prize-winning, New York Times) writes about the role psychological safety plays at SNL in Fast Company. Since 1975 when the show first aired, the one constant has always been Lorne Michaels, the show’s first and only executive producer. Michaels says the reason why Saturday Night Live has succeeded is because he believes in abiding by two rules: giving everyone a voice, and enforcing that people need to really listen to each other. A positive communication culture is a key to psychological safety, and essential for organizations to truly be successful. Positive communication culture doesn’t just allow, but encourage...

Tom Healy releases his new book, Limitless Leadership.

  Speaker Tom Healy is passionate about helping students reach their extraordinary leadership potential. For the past seven years, Tom has used his straightforward style to empower students by challenging them, making them laugh and most importantly, helping them thrive as a leader in everything they do! Tom recently released his new book, Limitless Leadership: Find Your Drive to Thrive. Through his personal experiences, extensive research and working directly with thousands of student leaders across the country, Tom has developed a specific system for student leaders to thrive. Here are the key actions Tom walks the reader through: Be the hardest worker in the room. Outwork everyone around you, and help others understand the value of hard work. Have a laser-focused vision. Know what you want for your future. Work with others to develop strong visions for organizations you are involved with. Surround yourself with good people. Build and army of good people to make you a better leader, and constantly work to connect good people and organizations with each other. Be authentic 24/7. Be your authentic self, and encourage others to be comfortable in doing the same. Be a problem solver. Create solutions for the problems around you, and make sure organizations you are involved with have the same attitude. Always persevere. Fight through whatever life throws your way, and help those around you fight through adversity as well. You can find more information about Tom’s book, audiobook and Kindle e-book by visiting here. Learn more about leadership speaker Tom Healy and his story:...

2017: Your Year of Practicing Badassery

    Every year in January we are bombarded with the #NewYearNewYou, that consists of promises to lose some pounds by giving up all of our favorite foods and doing some kind of fitness challenge, only to quit it all in a matter of weeks. Well, this year I am challenging you to something greater, something deeper. I am challenging you to have your most badass year to date. The Urban Dictionary defines badassery as “engaging in seemingly impossible activities and achieving success in a manner that renders all onlookers completely awestruck.” In 2004, after four years of blood, sweat and tears at a martial arts school in New York City, I finally tested for my black belt in Hapkido. We were instructed that the test would start at 4 am and that we needed to be prepared to train for several hours. That’s it. The rest would be a surprise. So, I and the others I trained with, prepped ourselves as best we could and practiced our forms, trained our techniques, adjusted our sleep schedules and our diets to get ready for the big test. The night before the test, knowing that I had to be up early, I barely slept. But, I got myself there and after eight long hours of physically grueling work, we finished! I can’t tell you exactly what we did in the test because, a) it’s just a big blur and b) it’s like the first rule of Fight Club. You don’t talk about Fight Club. We all passed the test and received our first black belt. After the test, friends (non-martial artists)...

Interview: Be bold, stay humble – how cancer helped two people find their life’s work

According to the National Cancer Institute, there were approximately 1,685,210 new cases of cancer in the United States in 2016. In 2014, 15,780 children, ages 0-19 years of age were diagnosed with this common disease. Sadly, it is estimated that 39.6% of the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives (National Cancer Institute, March 14, 2016). Every year, the month of February is recognized as National Cancer Prevention Month. Cancer has affected many lives: those who are battling the disease, those who are survivors and those who are supporting them. We interviewed two of our keynote speakers who have had their own unique experiences with cancer and how it has changed their lives. Jess Ekstrom, founder of Headbands of Hope and Ethan Zohn, winner of the television show, Survivor who, at a high point in his life and career, has hurled into a moment where he had to fight to survive again – this time, for his life.     CS: Tell us more about your company, Headbands of Hope. Jess: Headbands of Hope restores confidence and self-expression in children undergoing cancer treatment through a simple accessory. For every headband sold, one is given to a child with cancer. CS: What made you decide to start a company that revolves around children battling cancer? Jess: During the summer of 2011 when I was in college, I interned at a wish-granting organization for kids with life-threatening illnesses. I saw so many girls migrating towards headbands instead of wigs after hair-loss. Headbands gave them the opportunity to regain their feminine identity without hiding what they’re going through...

How law imitates life (from Life as a Courtroom)

    As I have discovered, practicing law can be an all-encompassing profession. The law literally affects everything around us. It naturally follows, then, that I often use the law to make larger points about life. With the foregoing in mind, here are a few ways that the law imitates life. Passion Makes for a Better Result Passion is defined as “a strong liking or devotion to an activity, cause, or concept.” Individuals find their true power when they find their passion. In the best of circumstances, your power, driven by your passion, and guided by strong principles, will take you to the “promised land” of purpose. At a young age, I learned that I had a passion for communicating. A family member told me very early on that I had the “gift of gab.” I turned that gift into being a published poet by high school, and a stand-up comedian in college. Because of a love for politics and legal issues, I decided early on that I wanted to be a lawyer, which combines two of my favorite things: law and communication. I have found my professional, passionate “sweet spot” in communicating, explaining, and even arguing the law within a court, and behind lecterns at colleges and law schools. Closing an argument in front of a jury with everything on the line is truly my “happy place.” And as a bonus, that passion has intensified as I discovered how to use the law to drastically improve a client’s situation, and thereby their very life. At some point, we should all be able to answer the question, “Why am I...

Farewell, President Obama. Hello, President Trump? Hmm… Are we still having Black History Month?

The 2016 Presidential Election will go down in history as one of the most divisive elections of all time. No matter who won the election, a major portion of the United States population was not going to be happy with the outcome. Like him or not, Donald Trump is the new President of the United States of America. Now, where do we go from here? What does this mean for our country? What does this mean for immigrants and children of immigrants? There’s a multitude of questions and uncertainty that is worrying students, faculty, and the general public. This is addressed in my newest keynote, where I will help assuage concern and redirect focus on unity and encouraging our youth to work together to repair this fractured country. A major bone of contention throughout the Presidential Election was the controversial Black Lives Matter movement. The Black Lives Matter movement started off in a positive manner, aimed at reducing the epidemic of homicidal police violence against African-American men. As the movement grew, it became perverted by extremists and now has come to stand for something it is not. This is another important part of my keynote. I will discuss the origins of the Black Lives Matter movement, what it was intended to be and what it was not intended to be and what it has become. The keynote will help the audience understand both sides and how to work together to achieve the desired result. The future of the country has many LGBTQ+ individuals nervous about their rights and the country regressing in their acceptance. History repeats itself, in different forms. In the 1960s,...

Top 5 reasons you should attend College Speakers Academy 2017

          College Speakers Academy (CSA) will be in San Juan, Puerto Rico for 2017. Participating in this two-day seminar is an awesome way for new and seasoned speakers alike to learn the ins and outs of building a successful career speaking to college students. If you’re on the fence about attending, consider our Top Five Reasons you should attend CSA 2017: 1. Learn from the experts. It is a rare opportunity to be able to learn from speakers and professionals who devote their professional careers specifically toward college speaking. During CSA, you’ll have full access to CAMPUSPEAK’s experienced faculty and interaction with some of our most experienced keynote speakers. Who better to learn from than the experts themselves? 2. Answer your burning questions. The Higher Education community can be incredibly difficult to break into. So many speakers who want to grow their business in this special market get hung up when trying to learn the language, culture, and trends of the industry. We take the time to address overarching information that everyone needs to hear. With CSA’s intimate setting, all attendees have the opportunity to ask specific questions that relate to their topic of interest. 3. Deepen your understanding. With so many choices for college speakers, it is important to deepen your understanding of who exactly you’re trying to reach and what about yourself sets you apart from the competition. We can help you determine which special niche areas might be the best fit for your area of expertise, and will share ideas for your continued professional development as a speaker. 4. Think differently about marketing. When...

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

Ever heard the song, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” on the radio? Do you think of crazy shoppers and cookies gone wrong rather than what the song is really about it—how it truly can be the most wonderful time of the year? It is so easy to get caught up in the madness that this time of year can bring if we’re not careful. It can be such a pivotal time of year—a season where we experience stress, chaos, and disappointment, or it can be an opportunity to reflect on the splendid little moments of the past 12 months and cherish time with family. The holidays will inevitably come this year (like they do every year) so we can choose to greet them with gratitude or we can wish them away—it’s our choice. Here’s a few ways to enhance your holiday season: Say “yes” to making plans:You don’t have to do everything on your list this year, but encourage yourself to celebrate with friends. Sometimes the hardest part is just getting out the door—once you’re there, you’ll be glad that you participated. And if you’re looking for inspiration? Pinterest has a wealth of ideas to get you out there and enjoying this time of year. Say “no” when it’s too much: This is a good time of year to practice our boundaries. Whether it comes to that third cookie or the 10th holiday party, there are limits to how much you can do. It’s all about balance and no matter how much FOMO creeps on you, you can say no. This has to be a season of...

CAMPUSPEAK Facilitator, Gentry McCreary, Ph.D. receives Association of Fraternity & Sorority Advisor’s (AFA) Sue Kraft Fussell Distinguished Service Award

November 4, 2016, Orlando, FL – Gentry McCreary, Ph.D., co-creator of the Redefining Brotherhood and Redefining Sisterhood Interactive Workshops, was recently named as a recipient of the Sue Kraft Fussell Distinguished Service Award. The award will be presented at the 40th AFA Annual Meeting in Boston, MA on Saturday, December 3. The Sue Kraft Fussell Distinguished Service Award, created in 1985, “recognizes individuals who have exhibited outstanding achievements in one or more of the following areas: service to AFA; programming and/or service which reaches beyond the recipient’s campus/organization; development and research activities; and/or service to the college and fraternity/sorority communities.” Having nearly 15 years of professional experience in higher education, Gentry’s passion for data driven decision-making in advising and program development has led to his ability to assist many organizations and campuses in their efforts to eradicate hazing and sexual assault. He is a trainer and educator on both topics and is well received by students and professionals alike. He is a well sought after speaker, facilitator and consultant, whose work speaks for itself. Gentry has also designed and executed research and assessment that examines the value of membership to undergraduate students. In 2015, he was honored with the Dr. Charles Eberly Oracle Award. “I love the work that I do. It is a piece of who I am, and it is very important to me,” said McCreary. “To be recognized for that work with the Sue Kraft Fussell Distinguished Service Award is an incredible honor.” You can learn more about the Gentry McCreary’s Interactive Workshops by visiting campuspeak.com/redefiningbrotherhood and campuspeak.com/redefiningsisterhood. To bring either of these Interactive Workshops to your campus or...

Lean Into Your Dreams

    Six years ago, in the garage of my old house, I led my very first workshop. There were seven women present who each paid a fee of $59 to attend. This day I gave birth to my first business, bodyheart. When I recently came across the photo (shared below), tears ran down my cheeks. This photo may not look like much, but it is huge to me. When I started, I wasn’t sure what I was doing. I didn’t have a business plan. I’d never taken a business class in my life. I’d never led a workshop, and I was consumed with thoughts like: What if no one shows up? What if they don’t get value out of my content? What if they hate it? What if I suck at facilitating? What if I fail? I had so many fears, and yet, I moved forward anyway, connected to something larger than myself and my negative “what-ifs”. I was attuned to my heart and to my desire to help. I had experienced a powerful healing in my relationship with my body. I went from hating it to loving it, and wanted to share how with anyone who would listen. I had no idea if my offerings would be relevant to others, but I knew I had to try. Fortunately, I discovered that my experience translated. What worked for me, worked for others! From there my confidence grew, I led more workshops, group programs, started speaking and working with people individually. Big things can come from humble beginnings. In my line of work as a life coach and speaker,...

Avoiding Ethical Negligence

If you were walking down the street, and you saw someone lying on the ground in obvious distress that you did not cause, would you help that person?  As an attorney, I am often presented with the question of whether something being contemplated is “legal.” The definition of legal is “something that is permitted by law.” One of the more well-known legal concepts is what we call negligence. When someone is negligent, their conduct falls below a certain reasonable person standard. Legal negligence occurs when (1) someone has a duty to another, (2), there is a breach of the duty owed, (3) the person owed the duty suffers damages, and (4) the breach causes the damage suffered. Legal implications often come into focus with serious campus issues such as hazing and sexual assault.  The legal duties surrounding these issues are certainly important to understand. However, legal standards can have you “just getting by;” i.e., not being technically illegal in one’s actions, but not engaging in the most responsible behavior either. Lawyers are often hammered for not being “ethical,” even when they may be operating legally in a technical sense. In the above example, you may have no legal duty to help someone in distress if you did not put them in that position, but I submit that you do have an ethical duty to help them, which is even more important. I once had a case where a lady with medical training caused an auto accident, and did not help or even call 911 for the person in the other car, who was seriously hurt. The lady causing the...

Class Begins After School

  “After I finish college or graduate school, I am going to attack my first job with the same intensity as school and set short term goals to stay motivated.” This thought seems like the best way for all college students to look at the next phase of their lives, but based on recent statistics, it’s not hard to understand why students might not feel motivated after graduation. According to a Forbes report, sixty percent of U.S. graduates cannot find a job in their chosen profession. The truth is, school remains in session even after graduation, and the first two lessons are as follows: Lesson One: Failure in success Regardless of the field of study, after a college graduate starts applying for jobs, they have to be prepared mentally for a rollercoaster ride. If not, life altering attitude changes can start taking effect as the adjustment to the workforce begins. Anger, frustration, impatience and several other emotions can turn the best graduate into a bitter employee on a first class trip to a lifetime of non-fulfillment. One of the biggest ways to deal with this scenario is to alter the way rejection is perceived. All unexpected events must be considered a lesson. It is easier said than done, of course, but seeing failure as an opportunity to grow is a great way to stay in a productive state of mind. Once this habit is mastered, optimism results in a much more positive life. Most people have rough weeks, but the one who embraces this lesson has a week of unexpected opportunities. Soichiro Honda, who started the billion-dollar car company of...

The #1 most underrated leadership quality & why you need it!

When you think of a leader what do you initially think of? Do you think of a person that is a great delegator, a great communicator and an inspirer? Well one of the most underrated qualities of a great leader is humility. I am sorry that I said the bad “H” word, but it is true. While many leaders are focused on casting a great vision of working more efficiently on building teams and building membership, there are quite a few whom have forgotten to look in the mirror to address one of the greatest leadership qualities known to man. Here are three practical ways to show humility as a leader. Realize that you are not superwoman/superman. I remember when I was President of three campus organizations. For some reason I thought that I had to know all the answers and that I could not really ask for help or else it would show weakness. What is interesting is that leaders all across the country sometimes feel this same way. This can lead to two things, (1) extreme burnout because you are the only one doing all the work or (2) a failed organization because if you are not asking for help, your people are not being utilized effectively and thus they aren’t growing. Admit you make mistakes. As a matter of fact, admit that you make a lot of mistakes. No one likes a person that appears perfect, because we all know that no one is perfect. Think about the last time that you knew someone messed up, but they did not tell you about it. How did it make you feel? If you are like me, you lost a little bit of trust with that person. That feeling is...

We all have a vice. This was mine.

  We all know that student. The one that has so much potential, they could probably change the world if they would only stop letting it all go to waste. Instead of studying, they’re playing video games. Instead of networking, they’re binge watching Netflix. Instead of going to the gym, they’re eating at McDonalds, again. We all know that student. Many of us are that student. I was. My situation got so bad that I actually dropped out of high school. I never graduated, never went to college and struggled with depression for many years. Eventually my situation got so out of control that I wrote a suicide note. Thankfully, I didn’t follow through and I’m writing to you right now. I realized that I had to make a change in my life. That change had to do with the way I interacted with my vice: video games. We all have a vice, something in our life, a habit, that keeps us from being our best. Today I’m going to share with you the story behind mine, and how the insights I’ve had about it can help you with yours, whatever it is. After I wrote the suicide note I knew I needed to get professional help. I no longer felt safe with myself, and the whole experience scared me. But I was also committed to living my life differently. If I wasn’t going to die, then I had to do the complete opposite — live my life to the fullest. I realized I had a second chance at this whole life thing, and I wanted to see what I could...

#Blacklivesmatter: So what are you doing about it?

What a significant time to be a friend, mentor, supervisor and/or parent. The past few weeks have been a very eye-opening time in the United States. I hope that if you identify as one the things I listed above you have not turned a blind eye to it. Race relations and systematic oppression are still a prevalent issue in the land of the free and home of the brave. The two most recent injustices, the tragic loss of the lives of Terence Crutcher and Keith Scott at the hands of law enforcement, showcase the work that still needs to be done. I remember a couple of years ago, around the time that Mike Brown and Eric Garner needlessly loss their lives, a relative of mine at Thanksgiving dinner asked me if I was ever nervous about the impact that putting my views on the internet about high-profile social matters could effect my business. I was a little taken aback by the inquiry, but trust he had my best interest in mind.  My answer, paraphrased, was: no, because I want to serve as a role model for standing up for what one believes to be right. Furthermore, if I am going to address the importance of being authentic to student leaders and professionals, then I better be practicing what I am preaching, respectfully at the appropriate time and place, regardless of fear of being challenged, disliked or losing business. I am not interested in stunting my morals to placate the masses. I AM interested in standing up for what I believe in through educated dialogue. I AM interested in challenging...

5 Secrets of a Go-Getter Girl

  As we look forward to ushering in 2017, several goals and aspirations are in the rearview mirror. Some fulfilled dreams, some unfulfilled. Some exceeded goals, some not so much. Some incredible highs, some backbreaking lows. The go-getter girl in us reflects on the happenings of the past year, and she feels rejuvenated and incredibly hopeful about the gifts 2017 may bring. A go-getter girl is one of a kind, so let us explore her top five most closely guarded secrets to discover what makes her who she is today.   1. She believes that her story will be one of the greatest stories ever written. Confidence, a very high self-esteem, or pride in her abilities, whatever you may call it, a go-getter girl truly and seriously believes that her story will be one of the greatest stories ever written in this world. There’s a very fine balance, because on one hand, as go-getter girls, we don’t want to be perceived as arrogant or brash. But on the other hand, a healthy dose of self-confidence is exactly that-healthy. Feel free to call us self-obsessed, but provided that our confidence is matched with intense labor and dedication to our dreams, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with identifying as a go-getter girl of the ME generation.   2. She puts herself first in order to be of service and value to those around her. Let’s be honest: Putting ourselves first is looked down upon. It makes us appear selfish. But, the alternative to this is the idea that if we really take the time to invest in ourselves, our work ethic, abilities,...

Build a purpose-driven career

   Adam (Smiley) Poswolsky is the author of The Quarter-Life Breakthrough, a bestseller and #1 top-rated job-hunting book on Amazon. His next book will be published by Perigee (Penguin Random House) in 2016. He has inspired young professionals and entrepreneurs to find fulfilling work as director of community engagement for the Hive Global Leaders Program, and previously as director at The Bold Academy. Smiley is a mentor for the StartingBloc Institute for Social Innovation, and a teacher for General Assembly and The Passion Co. Smiley has spoken about finding meaningful work at Fortune 500 companies, international conferences, leadership development programs, universities, and graduate schools. Smiley writes stories about purpose-driven millennials who are making a positive impact in their communities. His writing has been published in The Washington Post, Fast Company, Forbes, and GOOD, among others. He previously worked as the special assistant to the director of global operations at the U.S. Peace Corps. He is a proud graduate of Wesleyan University, and can usually be found dancing in San Francisco, California. Learn more about Smiley and his story...

What’s in your fishbowl?

Two fish were swimming along one day. Fish 1 said to Fish 2, “Wow, this water is great! The temperature is just right… the current is going our way… I just love this water!” Fish 2 replied, “What the heck is water?” Fish can’t see water anymore than you or I can see the air around us. Of course we know it’s there, but it’s so close to us that we look right through it without noticing. The same is true for the water in a fishbowl: the fish contained within simply can’t see its own environment due to its vantage point, which is within the environment. For humans too, an outside perspective is sometimes needed. Perhaps that’s what brought you to CAMPUSPEAK today. Think of an organization you belong to, a team you’re on, or a social group you spend time with. Do you laugh often with them? Share any particular vocabulary? Do you greet them with hugs, handshakes, or high fives? Each group or “fishbowl” we inhabit, such as schools, clubs, families, friend circles, etc., has its own rules and considerations, so ingrained we don’t think about them on a daily basis. My fellow CAMPUSPEAKers and I spend our professional lives gallivanting from campus to campus around the US, sharing our personal stories and perspective with anyone who will listen. We get to meet and work with all manner of wonderful students, professors, campus advisors, etc., and get somewhat acquainted with the programs and resources they offer. We get to sample fishbowl after fishbowl after fishbowl on a regular basis. Eventually patterns emerge. The single most limiting...

The DNA of Extraordinary Leadership: An interview with Dr. Kevin Snyder

Whether he’s speaking to college students or corporate executives, Kevin Snyder engages and entertains audiences by sharing powerful lessons of leadership inspiring them to think bigger, overcome adversity and work together to achieve common goals. Kevin has presented over 1,150 programs in all 50 states and has been with CAMPUSPEAK for nearly a decade. He’s also a former Dean of Students, author and professional speaker with a wealth of unique expertise both in Student Affairs and in corporate America. We sat down with him to ask a few questions about leadership, motivation, his TEDx talk and what he’s learned from speaking to so many different campuses and organizations over the years. His nuggets of wisdom below are ideal to share with your student peers and organizational leaders. Question: Reading your bio, you have an interesting background. How did you get started in Student Affairs? Kevin:  As a new student in college, I struggled pretty bad at first socially. I made a 4.0 my first year, but was miserable. I tried dropping out on numerous occasions but someone always stepped in to convince me to not to. During my second year I decided to give it one final shot and get more involved on campus by joining a few student organizations including my fraternity. Getting more engaged changed everything. I went from near drop out to Homecoming King and Greek Man of the Year. Although I was studying Marine Biology, I knew when I graduated that I wanted to work at a college campus so I could help and support other students like people did for me. Question: So how...

Living as Your Authentic Self

Once I transitioned from female-to-male eight years ago, I was able to live life as my true authentic self. I am embracing the change and progress I have witnessed, not only in who I am, but also in the world around me. I grew up thinking that I was the only one who felt out of place in my own body. Now, I see the transgender community becoming a part of scripted and reality-based TV shows, movies and social media outlets.  Transgender issues are frequently talked about and/or addressed in the media, politics and public policies. While the progress we’re making sometimes feels slow, I look back and remind myself how much has really changed. I was able to transition publicly with community support, to speak up, to be visible and to be an advocate for more acceptance and inclusion. It amazes me that I can now freely reflect on the outside who I truly am inside  and that the transgender community’s allies are growing every day. Each time I speak on campuses across the US, I’m always reminded of how important communication and honest conversation is. Having a dialogue about issues we may not understand is a perfect place to start. Credit // Author: Jeremy Wallace Jeremy L. Wallace is an author, professional speaker, and entrepreneur. His book,Taking The Scenic Route To Manhood, chronicles his extraordinary journey as a transgender man. Combining his expertise as an entrepreneurial business owner and a transgender person, Jeremy speaks to corporations, organizations and groups of any size about embracing change, becoming our true selves, and living up to our full potential. Learn more...

CAMPUSPEAK to Partner with HazingPrevention.Org during National Hazing Prevention Week

September 1, 2016, Orlando, FL – CAMPUSPEAK, in partnership with HazingPrevention.Org, to help lead educational discussions about how hazing creates devastating outcomes for the victims and their communities during National Hazing Prevention Week September 19-23. HazingPrevention.Org will host a series of college pre-screenings of the movie GOAT, followed by thought provoking conversations, to promote and empower students to stand up against hazing activities on their campuses. Starring Nick Jonas, Ben Schnetzer and James Franco, and based on the memoir by Brad Land, GOAT tells the story of two brothers who become embroiled in hazing at a college fraternity. What occurs in the name of “brotherhood,” tests both the boys and their relationship; in brutal ways. “HazingPrevention.Org and CAMPUSPEAK have collaborated on hazing outreach initiatives since the very beginning,” said Luke Davis, Executive Director and CEO of CAMPUSPEAK. “We are excited to partner to help spark conversations about a topic that is so relevant to today’s students and campuses.” “We could not have selected a better partner than CAMPUSPEAK,” said Emily Pualwan, Executive Director of HazingPrevention.Org. “We hope these conversations will allow campuses to empower their entire community to take part in hazing prevention.” The program coincides with the organization’s National Hazing Prevention Week, that runs from September 19 – 23. Screening locations and facilitation will include: University of Maryland – September 19 The College of William & Mary – September 20 University of Arizona – September 21 University of Central Florida – September 22 University of California at Berkeley – September 23 About HazingPrevention.Org HazingPrevention.Org is a national organization dedicated to empowering people to prevent hazing, by providing education and...

Discovering Your Social Entrepreneurial “Aha” Moment

It’s as if it were just yesterday. I was sitting in my hotel room in Patna, the state capital of Bihar, a state in East India, bordering Nepal. I had been visiting for a week while on assignment as a documentary photographer for a girl’s literacy nonprofit based in Delhi. I had just settled in after my last day of documenting at an impoverished all-girls school just on the outskirts of the city. I imported the photos from the week onto my laptop and started to browse through my shots. Over the course of the days spent in Bihar I was told countless stories of girls dropping out of school because they were forced into marriage, sometimes even at the tender age of 8. I had learned that the state of Bihar had the highest rates of child marriage in the world; up to 69%. I was in the child marriage capital of the world. These girls were at the mercy of their environment, where they were seen as economic burdens and instead were treated as a ticket for collecting a marriage dowry. Despite their oppression, all I saw were smiling faces staring back through my laptop. I had never seen children so eager to learn, so hopeful. It was then, tears streaming down my face, that I had my social entrepreneurial “aha” moment. Today, I am the proud owner of a philanthropic wedding photography business, Love Conquers Photography, in which 10% of all of commissions are donated to two nonprofits fighting to end child marriage in some of the most patriarchally saturated societies in the world. More than just...

We’re asking the wrong question!

Over the years, I’ve found members are more likely to ask me questions like “is this hazing” or “can we do this with new members”? I understand that often times legal-speak can be wordy and feel complex but is it really that complex to be kind, inclusive, and supportive? No. However, for too many years, anti-hazing efforts looked like the DARE program “just say no” and prevention included scare tactics like “do X or you’ll be closed”. What we know about hazing and prevention tactics has continued to evolve yet too many are stuck… still using some outdated phrases to define hazing. Ring! Ring! The 1980’s called and want their risk reduction methods back!!!! We must disconnect with… the idea that if an activity has a purpose or perceived benefit it is not hazing. Purpose is not the only qualifier. the idea if individuals agree to go along it is not hazing. “Willing participation” does not make it okay. the idea that if everyone is doing it is not hazing OR if it is a requirement of just the new members it is hazing. trying to list all prohibited activities or events which may be considered hazing. This is not an effective prevention strategy. It makes everything hazing. We haven’t spent enough time educating on what is RIGHT and the result has been students more often asking questions to stay out of trouble than necessarily how to have an effective new member program and positive membership experience. What if we asked… Is everyone earning their letters every day? If not, what processes and procedures do you have in place...

WARNING: Being a Grown Up is Bad For Your Health

College is the place where we’re educating ourselves so that we can be happy and successful “Grown Ups” right? But just what is it that we’re preparing for? The world is changing fast and what many people understand as being a Grown Up is not actually working in the real world. Here are three myths of what it means to be a Grown Up: 1. Being a Grown Up Means You Can Do It All Yourself. In our grown up world there is a lot of pressure to be totally self-sufficient. Individual success and prosperity seems to be the goal for many people. Moreover, our society’s current relationship with technology allows us to be fully functional in the world without ever having to leave our own homes. Yet, it has been reported that 1 out of every 3 adults feels lonely. Also, leading experts in innovation all point to collaboration as a crucial element in innovative thought. Whatever happened to “two heads are better than one?” 2. Being a Grown Up Means You Have To Be the Best Get good grades, to get into a good school, to get a good job, to get a promotion, etc… We’re always striving to get to the next step, and always competing with others to do it! As a “Grown Up” many really take that to heart and because of it expect themselves to be the best at everything they try. There is very little room for mistakes, if any, nor is there room for asking questions and revealing that you don’t know something. But is it a realistic expectation to know...

What are you doing to make a first impression?

I can still remember what I wore the first day of freshman year of college. I was dead set on wearing an adorable fall outfit and I ignored the 90-something degree weather to sport my new flare jeans and long-sleeve top. I was sure that this super-cute outfit would impress everyone I met and make a great first impression – especially because I felt like I needed to cover up my body to make that impression. My day started like most – I had my hair and makeup perfectly done and felt great leaving my dorm room. Within seconds, I was hit with the worst humidity I’ve ever felt. Immediately, my hair was a frizzy mess, my makeup melting, and sweat was dripping down my back. By the end of the day, I was so hot and uncomfortable that I could have cared less about the impression I was making on everyone – I just wanted to jump in a pool of ice water. We’ve all had these experiences – the ones where we go over the top to impress others. The beginning of the school year can drum up a whole slew of feelings. Fear of not fitting in, feeling like we have something to prove, and insecurity are just a few. When these feelings arise, it’s easy to overcompensate. We often worry so much about making a great impression on others that we forget to take care of ourselves first. My first day of freshman year was all about other people – it had nothing to do with myself. I let my insecurities take over and dictate...

Do This, Not That:
How to Change Thoughts on
Sexual Assault Prevention Education

For a while, there were popular books phrased along the lines of “Eat This, Not That.” Although this oversimplifies their concepts and these books have arguably not aged well, the general concept of “This, Not That” is an easy one to consider when grasping some complex issues. In life there are things we can do that are better for, our causes, community, or issues and then there are things we can do that might detract from our mission. A decisive and debated topic that can benefit from this is the basics of sexual assault prevention programming. In regards to educating our communities, building stronger support networks, and certainly preventing assaults, there are a few pieces of information crucial to remember. And there are a few things that can be removed because they end up unintentionally working against prevention rather than aiding it. With semesters starting and any campuses working to provide mandatory education on the topic of sexual assault prevention, the following pieces are important to remember.   Do This, Not That: How to Change Thoughts on Sexual Assault Prevention Education Do Offer People the Chance to Opt Out The first one is the easiest. So often, campuses have mandatory programming on sexual violence prevention. The problem is you never know what someone’s experiences are and what was meant to be positive might end up causing unintentional harm. Regardless of the education you require or offer, provide people a reasonable out they can take whether this is another type of programming or a more individualized version of programming. Best case scenario is you provide a resource catering to their...

How will YOU define success during your first year in college?

Many first year students come to college excited, nervous and a little afraid. They are excited to leave high school and embark on a new journey in life. They are nervous because often times it’s their first time away from home. Will they meet new friends? “Will I meet new friends?” they asked themselves. Or “What if I don’t know where my classes are?” I know this all too well, because it’s was how I felt as a first-time college student. My parents had me at 15 and 17. My mother graduated from high school but my father doesn’t have past a 9th-grade education. I knew college was my ticket to personal and professional success. Education is the only thing no one can ever take away from you. It was in my second year of college that I knew it was my duty and responsibility to help others navigate and successfully champion the transition from high school to college. I enjoy speaking to first year and first generation students because I can give them advice on how to get a head start in their college career based on my own experiences as a campus leader, resident assistant, and first generation college student. College is more than just heading to class and going to parties. You discover who you are and how you want to make your mark on the world! It is important to get involved on campus, obtain a leadership position and try a few different types of classes to confirm your major! College was the best 4 years of my life and I am dedicated and determined...

What is Limitless Leadership?

Limitless Leadership is a concept that I developed over the course of a decade working with young leaders. I’ve had the opportunity to research leadership, study successful leaders, draw from my own leadership experiences, and personally observe leadership from awful to amazing. One of the most crucial lessons I’ve learned is that everyone has an unbelievable amount of potential inside of them, but it is often never brought out of them. Limitless Leadership is about every young leader having the ability to thrive in everything that they do, so that they are able to improve themselves, those around them, and everything in which they are involved. Limitless Leadership – accepting that you are a leader, determining what drives you, and having a willingness to thrive rather than just survive because we all have extraordinary potential inside us. Accept that you are a leader: It may sound obvious, but you can’t be a leader until you embrace being one.  Leadership can seem intimidating, but it really isn’t. Anyone can do it at a high level and there is nothing wrong with “learning on the fly.” If you have integrity and work hard, you are well on your way, but you need to first embrace being a leader. Determine what drives you:  We each have passions for certain things, the quicker you can connect to what those passions are the more powerful you will be. You should constantly be trying to determine what you are passionate about, what problems you want to solve, who you want to help, and how you can add value to people’s lives, causes, and organizations. We are...

Brotherhood and Sisterhood, Simply Isn’t Enough.

The most impactful, longest lasting benefit of fraternal membership are the close bonds formed, but… What do you DO with brotherhood and sisterhood once created? Seriously, do we just sit around and enjoy it? Is that really why fraternities and sororities exist? Shouldn’t we ask how do these relationships advance your members’ lives? Does creating sisterhood in and of itself, actually achieve our mission? Yes, there is value in the support system created through sisterhood and brotherhood. And, we have all heard, and are inspired, by the extraordinary stories that display unconditional care and concern. Stories of tragedies overcome by the support of sisters and brothers who are so much more than friends. Just like you, I love reading these stories. They re-kindle that spark of love for mankind in me too. But, I don’t think our founders created us to simply “be there” in case of these emergencies. Often I’ve said we would pick a brother up from a broken down car in the middle of the night and so much more. We are like AAA but for everything else! But, as I reflect more about the founding of our organizations, I feel like we are failing our founders. Let’s be honest… a support network is important, but I don’t think it alone is worth all this effort! The focus on brotherhood & sisterhood as our an ultimate goal has distracted too many of our chapters. Our true mission is to make men better men and women better women… THROUGH brotherhood and sisterhood.  I don’t believe our founders intended brotherhood to be the end, but rather the means....

The $40,000 Mistake

I’ve been running my own business for eight years. On paper, that sounds great: I must be doing something right to have kept things going this long. And that may be true. But to get it right, I first had to get it wrong—a lot. I talk about my own failures often in my talks: How 45 of my 60 employees quit on me at once; how I infringed on a trademark and had to throw away thousands of dollars of marketing materials and equipment; how I hired a huge team of people, thinking I had a major contract and plenty of work for them, when it turned out I really didn’t. Whoops. But one of the biggest failures of my business happened when I let someone else fail. A couple years after I started my business, I hired an intern named Rachel who wanted HR experience. I decided to have her take over our payroll, knowing that doing payroll for an entire company would look pretty friggin’ good on her resume. I taught her everything she needed to know about payroll, and when I had complete confidence in her, I told her she was ready to do it on her own. A couple days after Rachel did her first payroll solo, I got a phone call from an employee in the middle of the night. I answered with a sleepy, “Hello?” and he said, “Uh, did I get a raise? I was supposed to get paid about $200, but instead, there’s about $2,000 in my account.” I shot out of bed. Oh no. I figured out what had happened almost immediately:...

The Shame of Hazing

Shame  (SHām/) noun. A painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior. We rarely talk about that of which we are ashamed; dealing with the, painful realities of life is something very few of us can stomach. The practice of hazing is on of those very things. The harmful psychological effects of hazing are becoming harder and harder to deny. More often than not, perpetrators and victims alike–many fall into both categories since hazing is a repetitive cycle–justify, gloss over, or even idealize their experiences. As if personal experience wasn’t enough, shame researchers like Brene Brown and others, are demonstrating just how destructive shame can be. David Hawkins, PhD and ND, categorized levels of human consciousness using the science of kinesiology; shame ranked at the very bottom of the scale–20 out of 1000. “Shame is used as a tool of cruelty,” he said in his book Transcending the Levels of Consciousness, “and its victims often become cruel. Shamed children are cruel to animals and each other. The behavior of people whose consciousness is only in the 20s is dangerous.” (2006, p. 33) Hawkins work demonstrates that individuals whose consciousness is below a certain level are prone to use force as a means of getting their way, while those above 200 (the level of courage) exert power in a more benevolent manner. Some of the emotional states that fall below 200 are shame, guilt, apathy, fear, anger, and pride. Shame is used as a tool in hazing in a variety of ways, a few of which are listed below: Demeaning nicknames for the...

What I learned when I proposed

When I was preparing to offer someone a full-time position at my company for the first time, I felt like I was planning a marriage proposal. First, I’d take her to her favorite place for breakfast. Over pancakes, I’d tell her how valuable she is to the company and how happy I am to have her. Then, we’d head to the nail salon for mani-pedis. After that, we’d wander around the county fair, killing time before I took her to a really nice restaurant and, two courses in to a four-course meal, I’d pop the question. With all that flattery and pampering, I figured I’d be able to seal the deal before dessert. But I wasn’t so lucky. I was incredibly nervous the whole day. The person I was “proposing” to, Elaina, had no idea what was going on, but she could tell something was up because I was acting so weird. Not to mention that it was strange that her boss had planned this whole day with uninterrupted one-on-one time out of the blue. Creepy much? The biggest deviation from my plan happened during our fancy, four-course meal that night. When I asked Elaina if she wanted to work full-time for my company, Student Maid, where she’d been working part-time for about a year, she turned me down. She said she really liked her job and she was grateful for the opportunity, but she had three semesters left in college, and she wanted to use that time to figure out what she really wanted to do with her life. Plus, she had an internship with an extraordinarily fancy...

When do you ask for help?

I’m half Irish, half Italian, and my mother’s son, so if I’m not stubborn I don’t know what I am. I am not good at paying attention to my body when it tells me to slow down, and I’m even worse at listening to people when they tell me to do the same. If I vehemently believe something, good luck trying to convince me otherwise. Being stubborn is not the worse quality in the world, but it does tend to get in the way of one of life’s biggest community builders–asking for help. Last year, I designed and helped run a powerful developmental weekend for 25 men in their twenties. We talked about the weight they carry around every day in the shape of responsibilities and fears. During the weekend one of the participants, Cuyler, asked of my co-facilitator: “How do you get better at asking for help?” I don’t completely know why, but that question through me for a loop.  Maybe it’s because his question was a little trippy since he was asking for help on how to ask for help. I think it’s more, though, that I am not good at asking for help and never really thought about how or why I should be better at it. I am not sure what impedes my ability to ask for help more.  My first guess is stubbornness or pride, but that seems too easy.  I think the main reason is because I do not think I deserve it.  I know how valuable time is in my life and therefore I do not think I am deserving of using...

CAMPUSPEAK Stands with Orlando

CAMPUSPEAK Friends, Over the past few days, each of us have grieved the loss of 49 lives and the injury of over 50 more in the horrific Pulse Night Club massacre. We want to express our sorrow and extend our sympathy to the victims, their family, friends, and loved ones, and to all LGBTQ+ individuals in every corner of our world. On a weekend that was full of events celebrating Pride Month and the LGBTQ+ community, we had a grim reminder of how much work there is left to do. At this time, the facts seem to clearly indicate that this was a violent, deranged act of terrorism and a direct and deliberant hate crime to the LGBTQ+ community and their allies. In the wake of an atrocity such as this, we are reminded of the importance of our role as educators, supporters, and allies. Being an educator means having a sacred responsibility to our students to continue to stand and fight for social justice and to end discrimination. We have the privilege to provide a beacon of steady light in times as dark as this. In order to help you fulfill your duties as an educator as best as possible, we partnered with the GLBT Resource Center at Texas A&M University to provide you with straightforward, pragmatic techniques and tools. We hope these points are useful for you for engaging in conversation and fulfilling your roles of support around this topic for your LGBTQ+ students, colleagues, family members, and friends: 1) Reach out. Engage with your LGBTQ+ students, colleagues, family members, and friends, and just listen. When folks...

Ask a Second Question

“How are you?” “Good.” “How are you?” “Tired.” “How are you?” “Busy.” Sound like a familiar conversation? “How are you?” Has become a throwaway question and a space filler in seemingly meaningless interactions. It’s casually tossed out when passing someone in the building and it is asked flippantly in the beginning of meetings. We ask it when we want to say more than hello and pretend like we care. But rarely do we register the answer and sometimes we secretly don’t even want people to answer it with a longer, more honest, response. The most precious value we have in life is time. We are all a little selfish and get caught up in our own lives – and that’s ok. We just need to start recognizing how often we put on our blinders and what impact doing so has on communication and connections. If you are a leader in your organization or community, I especially need you to own this. One way to get better is by asking the question “How are you?” less superficially. There’s another easy way for leaders to show they care. In doing it we can build stronger, more compassionate, and trusting organizations. Here it is: Ask a second question. That means that after you intentionally ask someone how they are doing and they respond, you then ask a second question about their response. Learning that someone is “good, tired, or busy,” tells you nothing. Those are throwaway answers people give because they do not think we really care (or they don’t think their feelings are worth other’s time…but that’s a longer post for...