CAMPUSPEAK http://www.campuspeak.com Sat, 20 Jan 2018 09:15:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.6.10 99955535 Leaders Leave a Legacy http://www.campuspeak.com/leaders-leave-legacy/ Wed, 17 Jan 2018 01:57:03 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=26848

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We are at a pivotal time on college campuses when it comes to fraternities and sororities – my challenge to you is to think about what side of history you want to be on.  Do you want to look back on your leadership roles and wish you would have done more to confront our critical issues or do you want to look back knowing you did your absolute best to leave your chapter and campus community better than you found it?

At some point, you will walk across the stage and get a diploma – make sure that when you do, you can say to yourself that you did everything you could as a leader to make an impact.  And when you come back to campus in 5, 10 or 20 years, make sure you can still look back having that same sense of pride that you did your absolute best in your time as a student.

I recently had the opportunity to return to my alma mater and filmed the below video – I hope it helps you!

We all leave a legacy on campus…. What will yours be?

Are you looking for a great way to further develop the current and future leaders in your community? Would you like to train your leaders and have each of them develop a customized Personal Leadership Plan? Click HERE to learn more about “Limitless Leadership”, an interactive workshop that uses a scientifically-validated behavioral assessment to help student leaders learn how they are hard-wired as a leaders and then set specific actions for how they will thrive in their new role.

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Enjoy this Perfect Present http://www.campuspeak.com/perfect-present/ Tue, 09 Jan 2018 23:55:25 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=26768 Just recently I was in the midst of traveling to a speaking engagement during one of Mother Nature’s angriest times. Meaning nowhere in the US was safe from her cold hands. While I was trying to figure out how to get from point A to point B with canceled flights, blizzard conditions and eventually a […]

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Just recently I was in the midst of traveling to a speaking engagement during one of Mother Nature’s angriest times. Meaning nowhere in the US was safe from her cold hands. While I was trying to figure out how to get from point A to point B with canceled flights, blizzard conditions and eventually a canceled gig. I noticed…

I noticed a couple that appeared to be in their 70’s watching some movie that I could not make out on their laptop. I noticed a family of six laughing and singing songs in their native language and downloading movies for the flight. I saw a young couple playing cards. I heard the laughter of other patrons and I even got to witness a flight attendant argue with her boyfriend and the only reason I know that was her boyfriend, was because she looked at me and said “boyfriends are a waste of life”… I don’t think she meant that …. At least I hope she didn’t.

Nonetheless, the point of it all was that in the midst of my chaos I was still enjoying my perfect present. The gift of just being in the moment, enjoying the moment and finding the good in the moment. Yes, life will give us some huge, overwhelming crazy moments but it will also give us some amazing joys that we have to honor and take in during the “prefect present”.

As a strong leader, it is important to embrace this perfect present because it reminds us that everything is not horrible, as we often find ourselves saying when ONE thing goes wrong. We often lash out at our club/organization members and event administrative staff. During this time we do not listen to others and their possible suggestions/ideas. We miss out on the present by focusing on the wrong things. Trust me I was this person, I even had a grad school teacher name me “chicken little” because I would just panic in the crises and not see the entire moment.

Loving ourselves mean we are not stressing ourselves. As leaders we should look at situations, acknowledge the craziness, but then live in the moment of the people around us. Draw from their strength and sometimes calmness. Continue to engage in the moment, to draw from your own internal strength. That’s what I did as I sat in the airport, weighing my options. I fixed what I could, which was not much at all and enjoyed the perfect present.

Becoming internally stronger is even more important. We are in the day and age of the TV and Social Media. We only see negative or when we are online we hear and read the negative and we get caught up. But, I challenge you during 2018 to look up from the computer, phone, gaming system, and even the TV to enjoy the prefect present!

Enjoying the perfect present is essential to having that perfect love affair with yourself. When you enjoy more, your passion for life increases and that self love will deepen even further.

To learn more about Sara Lowery and her program offerings, visit campuspeak.com/lowery/.

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Following #MeToo, a #MeFIRST Framework for 2018 http://www.campuspeak.com/metoo-mefirst/ Tue, 09 Jan 2018 23:36:32 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=26764 In 2009, at the age of 20, I was raped and beaten—nearly left for dead, by a stranger who helped me change my flat tire. Thanks to: an amazing roommate who (despite my hesitation) put me in her car and took me to the hospital, a sex crimes detective and attorney who were determined to […]

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In 2009, at the age of 20, I was raped and beaten—nearly left for dead, by a stranger who helped me change my flat tire. Thanks to: an amazing roommate who (despite my hesitation) put me in her car and took me to the hospital, a sex crimes detective and attorney who were determined to put this man behind bars, and a supportive circle of friends and family who urged me to take time to heal, I was able to seek justice and become a voice for survivors who’s stories might have otherwise gone unheard.

Over the past nearly 9 years, my empathy and my experience have anchored me in the fight to end sexual assault. As a Women’s Studies Scholar and international Photojournalist for women’s organizations, my efforts have taken me to some of the most conflicted regions in the world. While embedded within Rape Crisis Centers, it has been my responsibility to amplify the voices of the survivors whom I had the humbling privilege of fighting for. To this day, it has been one the most meaningful and rewarding roles of my career.

But when I told people what I did for work, how I travelled to opposite ends of the globe to document and aid in the war to end sexual violence, I often got the question, “why not here?” And so after awhile I started to ask myself the same question and truly reflect on what in my heart pulled me so far from home to fight a battle that I knew was happening in my own backyard. It was then that I realized perhaps I was taking the easy road, as I found that survivors of sexual assault in conflict and developing countries are more often believed than survivors here in the United States, where rape culture is deeply engrained in our societal norms.

I realized that I was so intimidated and overwhelmed by the thought of confronting this culture that implicitly perpetuates sexual assault, that I opted instead to travel to some of the most dangerous parts of the world to advocate for an end to sexual violence. So I decided to join the fight at home, as well as continue my efforts abroad.

For the past seven years, as a speaker and rape prevention advocate for colleges and universities around the United States, much of my mission has been dedicated to breaking down the barriers that discourage survivors of sexual assault to report the crime. This means speaking their truth, going against the system that keeps them quiet, and empowering peers and bystanders to not only believe them but also support and believe IN them.

#MeToo…now what?

Although the #MeToo movement illustrates a dark time in our national history, it also brings courage and hope to dismantling the foundation on which this rape culture stands. I am so grateful that in a matter of only a few months, the #MeToo movement accomplished what I’ve been striving to do for years—to empower survivors to speak their truth, and for people to believe them and support them.

So then what’s the next framework of the conversation? Where should survivors focus their attention after sharing their experience? We should also ask, where should survivors focus their attention if they feel they could not share their story (since they owe that to no one). In either case, their focus should be on themselves and the road to recovery and healing.

Through my own experience, I found that although I reported my assault, voiced my story, and had an amazing support system of friends and family, I still had to deal with the trauma that the assault left in its wake. Like many other survivors, I battled with shame, guilt, depression, addiction, anxiety, PTSD and unhealthy behaviors. Outside of resources such as counseling and support groups, I knew I had to find a way to equip myself with the tools and practices to care for Me, from the inside out. And so I fostered a #MeFIRST mentality by committing to a nurturing routine of self-care and self-love that literally saved my life. It wasn’t until I put myself first that I could even begin to explore ways to be an advocate for other survivors.

Although everyone’s routine is personal and unique to them, here are some examples of the ways that I practiced and continue to practice self-care:

#MeFIRST, Self-care for healing

1. Become aware of your space and set boundaries
Recognize what aspects of the outside world you’re letting in to you, or who or what you’re allowing to speak into your life. Is there anything that brings you down? Perhaps someone you follow on social media, or perhaps social media itself? Perhaps a negative or unsupportive friend? Maybe a T.V. show you’ve been watching or music you’ve been listening to? Find a way to unplug from the things that take you to a low place and make an effort to surround yourself with encouraging, comforting and positive outside factors. Bottom line, make YOU a priority by being protective of your space.

2. Communicate with your support network
After you’ve committed to a self-care plan, communicate this to someone you trust. Explain to them your boundaries and the things that bring you more stress, grief and anxiety. Align yourself with friends who you can rely on to be there for you, who make you feel like you’re not in this alone. It’s OK to ask for help, just make sure you’re surrounding yourself with people who will lift you up and not bring you further down.

3. Get outside
Research has shown that people who spend more time outdoors experience less anxiety and depression, as well as lower blood pressure and heart rate variability. Nature has also been shown to decrease rumination (repetitive, negative thoughts) and brain activity associated with mental illnesses. In addition, plugging-in to nature and staying away from artificial light helps to synchronize our biology to natural circadian rhythms, which helps to regulate our sleep, our moods, our stress levels, and our hormones. So what are you waiting for? Get outside! This doesn’t mean you have to go hiking every weekend, but perhaps walk to class instead of drive, plan a picnic, read a book under a tree, go for a run, the possibilities are endless!

4. Practice mindfulness
Sometimes living in the moment is easier said than done, especially when dealing with past traumas that are sometimes hard not to dwell on. Whether you’re experiencing shame, depression or guilt from your past, or anxiety and stress about the future—setting your mind on the present has been a proven way to quiet and calm your thoughts and emotions and improve your overall wellbeing. A few mindful practices that helped me were: meditation, journaling, praying and going to church, mindful breathing where I focused on each individual breaths, daily gratitude lists, mind mapping or observing my thoughts, body scanning by becoming more aware of physical sensations present in my body, and more.

5. Eat healthy
Did you know that your gut produces more of the “feel good” neurotransmitter, serotonin, than your brain? In fact, it’s estimated that 90% of serotonin is made in the digestive tract. So what does this mean? Scientists are learning that the intimate relationship between the gut and the brain is bidirectional: just as your brain can send butterflies to your stomach, your gut can relay its state of calm to the brain. Ultimately, what you put into your body not only affects your brain’s functions, but also affects your mood, perceptions of the world and the clarity of your thoughts. These staggering facts can be attributed to the $1 million that the National Institute of Mental Health spent on research to study the relationship between the gut and brain. And today, many neurologists and psychiatrists are realizing that antidepressants are often less effective in treating depression than proper dietary changes. In other words, “comfort food” (such as fast food, ice cream, pizza and alcohol) is not the same as “calming food.” So fuel your body with nutrient-rich and stress-reducing foods.

6. Exercise
Exercise also plays a role in the production of serotonin by increasing it. You don’t have to workout everyday or get a gym membership. Simple changes like walking to class or lunch, going for a hike or bike ride, or even doing a home workout can make a huge difference. Want to take a class? Try yoga, spinning, kickboxing, and more. Stretching is also another great way to connect with your body and release stress.

7. Make plans to do things you enjoy
Put it on your calendar and follow through. When you have activities, events, trips, etc., to look forward to, you become more positive about the future.

Planning for a Sexual Assault Awareness Month event? To learn more about Brittany Piper and her impactful program offerings, visit campuspeak.com/Brittany.

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24 Hours to Live http://www.campuspeak.com/24-hours/ Tue, 09 Jan 2018 16:17:48 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=26737 Each year, thousands of students begin college afraid about what’s to come. Somehow, they think that they’re the only one feeling scared and nervous about what’s next, afraid of failure, and not entirely confident in their abilities. After reading 5,553 fears (and counting), If I had 24 hours to live and could cut all the […]

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Each year, thousands of students begin college afraid about what’s to come. Somehow, they think that they’re the only one feeling scared and nervous about what’s next, afraid of failure, and not entirely confident in their abilities. After reading 5,553 fears (and counting), If I had 24 hours to live and could cut all the fluff, I would tell your students these three things.

#1 – No matter what, you’re not alone. If I had 24 hours, I would spend the majority of the hours enforcing this point, repeating it over and over again and giving examples until I believe they got it. I get emotional reading the fears because I realize how many students think they’re the only ones feeling a certain way, or having experienced specific events in their past. At times I cry while reading because, with every written fear, I see a student who wants to know that they’re going to be alright. That’s why I read some of the audience’s fears live so they can see for themselves they’re not alone. Again, you’re not alone.

#2 – What you believe about yourself matters. I hate fluffy motivation, so with everything in me I don’t like mentioning the word confidence because it’s overused at times. Even if it is, it’s a crucial determinant in whether students will have the courage to push through their roadblocks. I would tell them that everyone feels “not enough” at times, but that’s no excuse not to act. I would say to them that who they hang around, how they treat their body, and what they watch, read, and listen to has a significant affect on what they believe about themselves and their future success. Your confidence has to be strong if you’re going to make courageous decisions.

#3 – Do it for the graduation day. We will often do more for others than we will ever do for ourselves. Having them separate who they are now from their future-self helps in that process. I would challenge them to think about the graduating them because that day will surely come. How do they want to feel, what do they want to say they accomplished? On that day, you want to leave with immense pride and zero regret. Often that disappointment will come from the times you didn’t push through fear and challenge yourself. Push yourself in small ways every day, and you’ll be glad you did.

If I was only able to say the three things above, I would be satisfied. As someone who has read and used software to analyze their words and internalized their feelings. As someone who has dedicated the time to helping students push through fear, and lastly, as someone who is determined to change the culture of our campuses and student’s lives. I believe It’s time to take our students from fearful to fearless, are you willing to join me?

To learn more about Darryl Bellamy Jr. and his programs, visit campuspeak.com/bellamy.

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Winner of PITCH by CAMPUSPEAK http://www.campuspeak.com/winner-pitch-campuspeak/ Sat, 16 Dec 2017 22:57:55 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=26675 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 […]

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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 receive up to $15,000.00 in CAMPUSPEAK programs and services. Learn more at campuspeak.com/pitchbycs.
About CAMPUSPEAK

Since 1999, CAMPUSPEAK has provided transformative learning experiences through its keynote speakers, interactive workshops, consulting, online education, and custom programs. Partnering with campuses and higher education organizations across the country, CAMPUSPEAK offers programming to educate and inspire students for success in their college years and beyond. Learn more at campuspeak.com.

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Treasures Buried Deep Within http://www.campuspeak.com/treasures/ Tue, 28 Nov 2017 16:51:35 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=26580 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 […]

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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 very powerful vibrations. I am not talking about the feelings that we portray on the outside. I’m referring to the feelings we have when we are alone. Even if you grew up in a household filled with Utopian vibes, the chances of some level of decay, fear, and disconnection being somewhere in your community was very high. Starting a lifestyle where you intentionally insert habits and people who regularly add growth, love, and connection into your life will tremendously help you on your journey.

The Treasure of Supreme Health

As soon as we were born, we were the responsibility of caregivers who had an overall health grade that ranged between an A+ and an F-. Your current relationship with being active and the liquid/food choices that you put into your body 2 to 6 times a day is a direct reflection of those grades. Is the 100-year-old version of yourself going to be happy about how you are treating your body today? After answering that question honestly, many habits had to change in my life. For instance, in 2009 due to the self-imposed damage to my liver, I completely stopped drinking alcohol and I can testify that I never intended to hurt myself when I started. Unfortunately, due to ignorance, there were habits that I formed due to many visions in my pre-adult years that simply trickled into an adult who was blinded by advertising campaigns versus long-term sustainability. Starting a lifestyle where you research the long-term advantage or disadvantage of your daily health schedule would be a treasure-filled hunt that I urge everyone reading this to go on immediately.

The Treasure of True Connection

As soon as we were born, we were all being taken care of by parents or guardians that were victims of some type of war. Due to economics, politics, gender/race/ethnic equality, religion, etc., almost every single person in this world has been born into a household impacted on some level because of separation, protection, and hatred. Our current humanity is clearly seeing the ripple effect of its compounding interest and most of the victims aren’t even aware of the generational baggage they are holding. As an innocent child, you were forced into an identity that probably lumped you into a group, and inadvertently (no one is born with a self-image) you were taught things about certain people. Some of us were taught in more aggressive teaching styles than others. One of the best treasures that I have found along my path, is being able to look at every single person as a direct extension of myself, whether I agree with their take on life or not. In a humanity whose track record shows that it believes that true strength is found in separation, this will be one of the most rewarding yet challenging treasures for you to find in these days and times. Not making assumptions, eliminating all prejudice and expecting the best from each person you meet would help you further explore this treasure-filled journey.

I can honestly share that the best parts of my life came after being completely honest about the household and humanity I was born into. Most of the habits that were etched into my being were very beneficial, however, many had to be replaced to give myself a fair chance at realizing my capability. I made many mistakes that I learned from before I hit my reset button, however, I know that I would have shortened my learning curve if I knew where the true treasures were located on my path. I will leave you with something I heard someone say to themselves from their death bed in 2016.

” I have finally realized that I let humanity shape me. Why didn’t I attempt to reshape our humanity? ”

Begin or continue your treasure hunt. There is no value that can be placed on the jewels that are within. The future of our humanity is depending on you.

To learn more about Kinja Dixon and his programs, visit campuspeak.com/dixon.

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Surviving and Thriving in the Wake of Oppression http://www.campuspeak.com/oppression/ Tue, 14 Nov 2017 12:33:46 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=26504 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 […]

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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.

  1. 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 allow it to rule your life. Not all people who hold privilege in society are out to harm or injure you.
  1. It’s Not You, It’s Them. When you experience an intentional expression of oppression, it feels like a betrayal, it’s hurtful and maddening. It can also feel like an attack on your personhood, the essence of your soul. Do all you can to de-personalize that kind of treatment. Hold onto the knowledge that you are not the problem; the person displaying this oppressive behavior is the one with the problem.Doing all you can to take responsibility for your own reaction to this type of behavior, and to gain insight from it, will help you to recover after experiencing blatant discrimination. As a psychologist, I work with clients who are trying to negotiate a difficult experience. I assure them that the people who are most resilient see the negative events they experience as external, situational and unstable. In other words, they know they did not create the situation and the negative and unstable behavior directed at them. It came from outside of them and has nothing to do with who they are.Individuals who struggle with hypersensitivity, anxiety, and depression see events that happen to them as internal, dispositional, and stable, i.e., as a normal part of their lives because of who they are. I know being called the n-word or the f-word cuts deep. Often, we internalize the slur as if we did something wrong. But think about this – unless there is a racist near, you will not experience racism.A person’s need to oppress another is their own problem, pathology, position, and privilege. Do everything you can to reinforce that this not your problem and these are not your issues. You may need to remind yourself repeatedly that what is happening is not your fault. You cannot take responsibility for someone else’s behavior. You have absolutely no power to control this oppressive behavior in others. It has been around since the beginning of time and cannot be eradicated by assuming a part of the responsibility for this behavior yourself.
  1. Find your Voice. Experiencing on-going, blatant macroaggressions can have a silencing effect. Racial “battle fatigue” often leads to silence when one becomes too weary to continue standing up to racial injustice. That silence can be deafening. Remember, you can only eat poop for so long before you start to vomit. If you are the victim of blatant, deliberate oppression, speak up! You choose the time, the place and the listeners – the way it will have the most benefit for you. Find the strength to report injurious treatment. Engage in activism. Start a petition or go through the conduct process.  Find your voice and make it heard. Hold perpetrators accountable by informing people who are able to make that happen. And make sure you are not carrying the load of someone else’s mistreatment because that burden is much too heavy to handle by yourself. There is help out there.
  1. There’s Healing in Community. Being the victim of blatant, intentional harassment can take a toll on you. Be sure to get support from the people and place that matter in your life. Affinity groups, people who hold similar identities, friend groups, family or faith communities, are a good place to start. While you don’t have to share with everybody, be sure to share with somebody. We were not created to be islands. Isolating your self will only make things worse. Being with and getting support from others can be a healing balm.

The documented increase in hate and bias incidents concerns me. I believe that healing for victims is possible.  Remember, your reactions are normal. Your voice has power–use it. You are not at fault for other people’s behavior and you need those around you for support. It is my hope that these truths will help the next time you experience blatant and intentional hate, discrimination or bias.

To learn more about Stacey Pearson-Wharton and her program offerings, visit campuspeak.com/pearson-wharton.

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#Activism or #Validation? http://www.campuspeak.com/activism/ Tue, 07 Nov 2017 13:49:08 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=26459 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 […]

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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 on the day, topic, and my self-esteem. But in the fascinating world of social media and at a time where personal branding is queen/king, I think it’s time we take a pause and reflect. It is easy to post an angry thought about the most recent atrocity and it is easy to send prayers to Houston, Las Vegas, Puerto Rico, New York City, etc. But it’s much harder to listen to people’s stories when your life has not been directly affected. It’s much harder to try and walk in someone else’s shoes. It’s much harder to put our words into action. I know because I’m not always the best at it. But I will be better. Our compassion is important, our empathy is better, but our action is paramount.

I’m trying to figure out why I post on social media. Why do you?

 

To learn more about James Robilotta and his programs, visit campuspeak.com/robilotta.

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Headbands of Hope http://www.campuspeak.com/hohvista/ Tue, 31 Oct 2017 16:38:04 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=26416 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 campuspeak.com/ekstrom.

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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 campuspeak.com/ekstrom.

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Diversity & Inclusion: Actions Speak Louder Than Words http://www.campuspeak.com/actionsspeak/ Wed, 18 Oct 2017 17:42:46 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=26307 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 […]

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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.

Suzette Walden Cole

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 made by individuals” (Ito & Urland, 2003).

More importantly, when you say that, you’re essentially saying to individuals who identify as people of color that you don’t see them for who they are as humans. You’re saying, whether intentional or not, that you aren’t recognizing those issues that impact people of color because of that identity.

Commitments to diversity require self-reflection.

Suzette Walden Cole
In distinguishing between diversity and inclusion, Verna Myers offered, “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.” I would add that it’s being able to dance in one’s own, authentic style. It’s imperative that we spend time in self-reflection if we want to show up as an ally, partner, or champion in the social justice arena. Think about who you spend the most time with and who spends the most time with you. How much do you share in common with those individuals? What’s different? Have you thought about your own identities and whether they come with privilege?

As a White, Christian, heterosexual, married, cisgen, native American-English speaker, I have a number of identities that come with privilege. For our purposes, privilege is the concept that there are advantages and opportunities that come to you because of your identity. Or, I use the definition that privilege is the idea that something is not a problem because it’s not a problem for you. It would be easy for me to go through life thinking that if you work hard, then the world is full of possibilities. While that is true to a certain extent, there are other identities that I have which place me in a marginalized group. I am a woman, was abused, experienced sexual harassment, grew up in a low-income area, and was the first in my immediate family to achieve a bachelor’s degree.

Understanding yourself provides the gateway to recognize potential for unconscious bias and places where you make assumptions. Engaging in this work increases our ability to recognize when voices are missing, or when people don’t feel able to show up as their authentic selves. If you move through the cycle, then you more freely engage in conversations to ensure a greater level of inclusion. You cannot be committed to diversity and not have done your own work to discover your biases and knowledge gaps.

Are you granting passive acceptance?

Suzette Walden Cole

When was the last time you explored your personal say-do gaps? If you say that you value diversity and inclusion, you see yourself as an ally, and/or you consider yourself “woke,” are you consistent in that space? Scroll through your Snapchat story, Vine videos, Instagram, Twitter, or posts to other social media forums. Think about the jokes made in your presence that maybe you’ve laughed off. Have there been times when you’ve seen something and not said something?

Say-do gaps are where our actions directly conflict with the words we use to describe our values. About 10 years ago, I remember being in Denver, CO, for a conference. I went for a run downtown with one of my closest friends and colleague. She is one of the proudest African-American women I know. She is unafraid and unapologetic. We spent a lot of time discussing race and equity issues at the institution where we both worked, and our mutual experiences after attending the same graduate school. While running, a White, homeless man yelled the n-word at her as we passed by him. I distinctly recall that moment. We both said nothing to the man, nor did we speak for the next block. I remember she stopped. I stopped. She said, “I think that’s an all-time low.” I stood there listening. I waited. She teared up. I hugged her. She got angry. I listened as she shared what it meant to her to have that happen. After some time passed, I apologized for also freezing in the moment. I could have said something and didn’t. I granted passive acceptance. It was a say-do gap moment for me. It wasn’t her responsibility to address that behavior in the moment. I had more privilege in that space. I should have been the one to say something.

We all experience say-do gaps. Those moments don’t necessarily define your character. However, what you do next when you realize their existence – that’s a different story. Freeze is a natural response to stress or conflict. We can strengthen our ability to show up differently in similar circumstances by spending time thinking about what we could/should say in those moments. Sitting down and thinking through the last week, tracking moments when you found yourself in a space where you let something “slide”, and considering how you might handle that differently. You see people are watching you. Those for whom you want to be an ally need to see your consistency. When you’re silent it speaks volumes.

If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, welcome to what it feels like to be “awoken” to the issues that students from marginalized backgrounds feel, often every day, likely on your campus. With Halloween right around the corner, there will likely be opportunities for you to put these concepts into practice. Don’t wait for an incident to happen on your campus for you to move to action. Be ready. Remember, we are all works in progress.

Learn more about Suzette Walden Cole and her programs at campuspeak.com/walden-cole.

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Overcoming Adversity: From Foster Care to Yale http://www.campuspeak.com/fostertoyale/ http://www.campuspeak.com/fostertoyale/#respond Tue, 17 Oct 2017 16:12:13 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=26284 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 […]

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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 my case, I am the product of a mother born and raised in Chicago’s Cabrini Green housing projects; a mother who was herself born to a 13-year-old single mother who was not ready to have children and was neglectful; a mother who met her father for the first time at 12, and was raped and abused by him shortly thereafter; a mother who lost her younger brother to two shots to the head with a sawed-off shotgun, one of the most brutal gang homicides in Cabrini’s history; a mother who followed her mother’s example and became pregnant at 12, at a time in her life when she literally did not know what the word “pregnancy” meant. A mother who understandably suffered from clinically undiagnosed depression and PTSD and became a cocaine addict as a result.

I am also the product of a father whose mother migrated to Chicago from New Orleans to escape an abusive marriage and settled in the Harold Ickies public housing projects; a father who ran the streets after his mother left for work in the evening as a bartender and as a result was consumed by the streets and eventually dropped out of high school; a father who enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1968, went to Vietnam, and came home with an aggressive heroin addiction to cope with his PTSD; and ultimately, a father who could not keep a job and was eventually consumed by the streets once again, getting involved in petty criminal activity and locked up for selling drugs on school grounds.

This was my blueprint. I came into the system at five years old and bounced around between relatives before eventually being placed in the foster homes of nonrelatives. I will spare you the horror stories of my experiences in abusive foster homes, with foster parents thirsty to control a black, hypermasculine teenaged boy with behavioral issues, not because they were passionate about steering me in the right direction but because the money they received was too much to lose. I will save you the countless stories of breakdowns and episodes of depression that I experienced from knowing that I had nine other siblings with whom I did not have the privilege of growing up. I will not attempt to explain why my education was the least of my priorities given all of this instability in my life. What I will say is that my story was, and still is, the status quo, which should scare all of us. I will avoid overwhelming you with the complexities of an inner-city at-risk ward of the state, but briefly, share how the urban education system contributed to my life experiences. Ultimately, my adversity became my greatest asset.

Among the many perplexities of my urban public education experience, there were four key ways that the system was beneficial to my growth and development. These factors—while not the only ingredients to make up the entirety of my early childhood experiences—were the most vital to my success.

First, school was my safe ground. Given that I was never in any particular foster home long enough to be consumed by the streets, school was where I found the most stability. My peers were there, the atmosphere was clean and well managed by staff and security, and there were always teachers present to lend me advice and give me coaching if I needed it. Along with being in a dozen foster homes, I also attended ten neighborhood public elementary schools, and in each school, I remember growing accustomed to adopting that space as my own. I would stay after hours as long as possible and join many extracurricular activities. After returning home, I usually prepared for bed by 7:30 p.m., which was usually within 15 minutes of returning from school. I would bury my head in my covers and sleep the entire night away until daybreak. By 6:00 a.m., I was awake and getting ready to leave the house so that I could be at the school when its doors opened at 6:45 a.m. For me, being in foster homes was a terrible reminder of the hell in which my birth parents left me to live the remainder of my childhood. I ran away from that inevitable reality by living at school, thus creating my own safe haven.

Second, foster care insulated me from more negative influences. Despite having negative feelings about the role of social services in my life, there was one advantage to having caretakers regulated by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS): they did not allow me much freedom to get into trouble outside of the home. My curfews were strictly enforced by my caretakers, and my time was consumed by extracurricular activities at schools and community centers. These activities were often sponsored by DCFS, and my evaluations from social workers were an indicator of how effective those extra programs were in keeping me preoccupied and proactive.

Third, my experience in entrepreneurship education was critical to my learning and development. By the time I had been exposed to the world of gangs, drugs, and poverty on Chicago’s South Side, I had already been educated well enough to understand the repercussions of engaging in such a negative lifestyle. But while foster care instilled a sense of ethics and caution, it did not alleviate the burden of hopelessness and pessimism that I felt whenever I would reflect on my life up until that moment and realize that I had not done enough to put myself in a position to be successful. This is where entrepreneurship was most effective. As an elective course in high school, I was taught how to create my own income through a business class. The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), an organization that taught young people how to start and run a small business, gave me the tools and mentorship necessary to create a sustainable enterprise while I still had the luxury of being in school and financially supported by parents. After exploring my individual talents and strengths, I decided to start a video production business. Within a few months, after receiving financial support from NFTE and mentors, I was making enough money to help my parents pay for food and rent. This sense of economic empowerment gave me a deeper sense of internal motivation and drive, and I used this momentum as leverage to explore other ways I could grow and succeed.

Fourth, social-emotional guidance counseling and mentorship helped me forgive. Entrepreneurship was the starting point to my growth and development, but it was not what sustained me. While I was earning an income, there were still social-emotional barriers that were unaddressed. The motivation that I felt from starting a successful business was constantly challenged by the hopelessness that I felt from knowing I had nine other siblings with whom I had no relationship, a mother and father who were still drug dependent, and a community where some of my closest friends were losing their lives to gun violence. Entrepreneurship answered the question: “What will you do and how will you do it?” But it did not answer the more life-defining question: “Why does this matter to you?”

Ultimately, a lifelong mentor was vital for me to answer that question. I needed a social worker who possessed the ability to take me on a journey through my life experience and help me to deal with those social systemic and social-emotional elements. I found this person in my senior year of high school. He was the new dean of my high school that year, and he sought to prove to educators that kids cannot learn and grow if they have unaddressed posttraumatic stress. I was fortunate to participate in his mentorship program, where he helped break the mold on all the trauma I had been holding on to in my life. Once I was able to heal and recover, I was able to approach my struggles in a positive and proactive way, and in doing so, I was able to embrace my pain as the greatest motivation for my life’s journey.

It is uncertain whether our nation’s public education system will be able to go this extra mile for disconnected youth such as myself. While my life experiences may seem abnormal, I suggest that they are synonymous with the life experiences of over half of at-risk inner-city youth across our nation. While I know that everyone means well, it is unfortunate to see many school districts do the same thing every year expecting a different result. I believe that to address the fundamental problems of our inner-city communities, we need a radical reform of our education system—not fixing what is broken, but instead shattering what is broken and creating an entirely new system.

To learn more about Rodney Walker and his programs, visit campuspeak.com/walker.

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The Problem With Reporting http://www.campuspeak.com/problemreporting/ Tue, 14 Nov 2017 18:01:54 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=26503 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 […]

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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 to be true, but I caution against believing that any single approach, legislative or otherwise, will end hazing forever.

There continues to be sexual assaults in spite of all the efforts made on that front and its inclusion in campus reporting for nearly 30 years. There is no doubt they are mostly handled much better now and perhaps reported more often, though it is estimated that 63% of sexual assaults are not reported to police, and 90% of campus rapes are not reported at all (National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 2015). It is dangerous to think that increased reporting will completely eliminate hazing either. Sexual assault is often referred to as the least reported crime, but research from the University of Maine (Allan & Madden, 2008) shows that the vast majority of hazing isn’t reported either. For that reason alone, it is unwise for universities to rely on reporting as the only or even the best method for dealing with hazing effectively.

How reports are dealt with

Even when hazing is reported by a victim who experienced it first-hand, the chances of that report leading to a conviction in a court of law or even a guilty finding in a campus conduct process seem to be quite low. In the case of Timothy Piazza at Penn State, there was a video of the events leading to his death, and no question about what occurred, and still a district judge threw out most of the 900 charges against 18 individuals after an initial hearing. In countless other cases across the country, charges have not been filed at all, and even when they are, hazing cases rarely go to trial and are unlikely to lead to actual convictions or significant consequences for perpetrators.

In other instances, students “get their stories straight” and band together to keep the facts hidden, making it incredibly difficult to investigate or adjudicate effectively. Most often everyone involved finds the experience frustrating and ineffective, causing some to surrender their hopes of ever making progress on this seemingly intractable issue. This combination of factors can make it difficult to produce any meaningful outcome or even learning experience for those involved through either a student conduct or criminal proceeding, even in extremely egregious cases.

The most common form of sanctioning on the organizational level is often the most extreme – loss of a season or even dissolution of a team and complete disbanding of organizations. In that case, one hazing organization is shuttered leaving others operating in a student culture that often continues to support the practice. In cases of less extreme sanctioning, the campus community is often not informed about the outcome thus eliminating any deterrent effect on the rest of the community. Sometimes there is so much confusion and annoyance because of the lack of reliable information after the fact that it actually discourages future reporting altogether as students aren’t clear what, if anything, happens to organizations or individuals who are charged.

Most hazing is never reported

The statistics above refer only to that which students actually identify as hazing, but the same study revealed that 9 in 10 don’t recognize what happened to them as hazing, although behaviors they detailed would clearly be identified as such. As much as 95% of hazing is never reported. At least part of the reason is that students don’t want to get their team/organization in trouble (37%). Additionally, 36% say they would not report hazing primarily because “there’s no one to tell,” and 27% feel that adults won’t handle it right (Allan & Madden, 2008).

There is a tremendous amount of confusion when it comes to this issue, and as professionals and advisors, we haven’t always done the best job of clarifying this for students. We have sometimes stated that anything one group has to do that another doesn’t is automatically hazing, but this doesn’t meet the humiliation or potential for physical or psychological harm standard set forth in the most commonly used hazing definitions. Sometimes newer members have to do things that older members have already done, but that doesn’t necessarily make those activities hazing or even detrimental. It is the context of those activities that determine whether or not they are hazing.

Second-class citizenship type behaviors are a slippery slope, and can certainly indicate, or lead to more serious or dangerous activities. When we make a federal case out of seemingly minor issues, students get understandably frustrated. When everything is hazing, then nothing is hazing, and it can be incredibly difficult for students to identify what crosses the line. It is useful to remind them that they know the difference between what is helpful and what is harmful, even when it is difficult to determine whether or not it is hazing. Long-standing traditions, alumni pressure to do what was done in the past and students who only know what was done to them lead to organizational cultures in which dangerous practices continue without being questioned by participants.

It is only in the last 20 years that we have any significant data on hazing. We are just beginning to scratch the surface on what types of hazing are most common among which groups, and when it is most likely to occur. We still have little understanding of why people haze and allow themselves to be hazed, though the practice dates back centuries. For this reason, the educational requirement of the legislation is a very good idea, and more research is needed as well.

Many campuses and organizations provide for the anonymous reporting of hazing and even allow conduct cases to proceed without a named complainant. This helps make it easier for students to make the decision to come forward, but for most, the stigma and likely ostracizing they will face does not make reporting a viable or safe path to take. When education increases and recognition of hazing becomes more clear-cut, reports will likely rise, and that is a good thing, as it allows practices that have likely been around for some time to be brought to light. But as administrators, if we are waiting to deal with hazing until it is reported then we are missing the boat. Like an iceberg, more than 90-percent of which is underwater, most hazing will remain hidden and unreported. Therefore, it is crucial that we are taking actions well upstream of potential problems in order to do all we can to steer clear of a catastrophic collision course. Waiting for someone to scream, “Iceberg, straight ahead,” or even after we have rammed into it full-speed is too late.

Works Cited

National Sexual Violence Resource Center, Statistics about sexual violence:

information and statistics for journalists, 2015.        

     http://nsvrc.org/sites/default/files/publications_nsvrc_factsheet_media-

     packet_statistics-about-sexual-violence_0.pdf

Allan, E.J, & Madden, M. (2008). Hazing in view: College students at risk. Initial        

     findings from the national study of student hazing.

To learn more about Tracy Maxwell and her program offerings, visit campuspeak.com/maxwell.

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Combating a Culture of Silence http://www.campuspeak.com/cultureofsilence/ Tue, 17 Oct 2017 15:52:39 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=26280 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 […]

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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 you evaluate and problem-solve.

Start with Why. Every group dynamic can be a little different.  Taking time to think critically about ‘why’ before identifying solutions is important. Asking ‘why’ helps us get to the root of the issue. An example reflection might look like:

  • Why aren’t people aren’t speaking up? Because we rarely vote or discuss anything except officer elections.
  • Why aren’t you voting on more and discussing what goes on your calendar? Because the last time we did that we had a group of negative people who would put the ideas of younger members down. It created a lot of drama.
  • Why are people allowed to talk like that to others in a meeting? Because no one has talked with them about the concerns.
  • Why has no one talked with them and asked them? I don’t know.

When you get to a point that you don’t know why anymore, you may have found your starting point for some brainstorming ideas.

Move to How and Who. How can we talk with people who are discouraging discussion? Who will have that conversation?

  • When you talk with them, listen more than you tell. Start with an opening statement and ask them why. We’ve noticed the chapter isn’t talking with each other in chapter meetings and instead is having discussions and disagreements electronically. Why do you think that is happening? Give them space to explore the ‘whys’ too. This isn’t a confrontation but rather an opportunity to explore the issue with someone who might have another perspective. If there is an opportunity for individuals to own their contributions to the problem, take it!
  • Ask them about the how and who. How can we begin encouraging discussion? Who should we count on to be good role modules of healthy chapter meeting discussion? Who or what do we think might be a barrier to change? How can we get them on board?

Find the bright spots. It is easy to get stuck in the negative complaining pieces around an issue and never get to solutions. To move from complaining to problem-solving, think about the bright spots. Think of a highpoint around the issue.  What was a time when there was healthy disagreement or constructive sharing of ideas and differing viewpoints? What traits, circumstances, and attributes made that possible?

Determine what is next. What did we learn from the bright spot that we can apply here? Think about expectations, education, and ways to engage members in meeting new expectations.

  • What expectations need to be set to ensure a safe place for differing opinions? What expectations need to be set about places where not okay to express differing opinions? If there is a particular environment where the issue is occurring (chapter meetings, GroupMe, private Facebook group), what expectations do you need about how and when you use that form of communication?
  • What skills are needed for members to feel more confident to have these discussions? What education do we need to provide the chapter around the expectations?
  • What happens when someone doesn’t meet those expectations? How will you enforce the new expectations?
  • What happens when someone DOES meet those expectations? How will you reinforce the behaviors you wanted to do?

Top of Mind. What can you do to keep the new expectations and changes at the top of everyone’s minds? It takes 30 days to form a new habit. This will be a new habit for your organization. Maybe it is a fun catchphrase that begins part of your lingo.

  • We don’t need to agree, but we do need to understand.
  • Get comfortable with the uncomfortable. It means we are learning, changing, and growing.

Perhaps it is taking the time to share stories at the end of a meeting highlighting when people were meeting the new expectation(s). Catch people doing it right. Praise the progress instead of waiting for things to be perfect before giving recognition. Change, even small change, is change. Celebrate it!

 

To learn more about Lorin Phillips and her programs, visit campuspeak.com/phillips

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Calling All Future Leaders http://www.campuspeak.com/futureleaders/ Thu, 05 Oct 2017 12:45:24 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=26131 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 […]

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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 of life, rather than just your own, will serve you incredibly well as a leader.
  • Leading a Variety of Organizations:  Being a leader within one organization is far less complicated in a lot of ways than leading an entire community full of different organizations that oftentimes have competing interests, values, missions, visions and overall ways of conducting themselves.  When you are leading a community-wide council, you must have a grasp on every organization and really understand the “big picture” rather than just trying to advance one specific organization.  This experience in college continually helps me in my business now because I have a stronger awareness of how a variety of organizations function within an industry and am able to create “win-win” scenarios, as opposed to being narrow-minded and only understand how my business functions.
  • Building Consensus:  Trying to build consensus among people or organizations with differing views can be incredibly challenging – fortunately, I had to do it every week for two years on IFC so I had plenty of practice!  Learning how to find common ground, build bridges and have a variety of people/organizations coalesce around a common path forward is an incredible skill to possess and I feel fortunate to have gained that experience being on IFC.  It is something I pride myself on as being one of my strengths and I am constantly looking for opportunities to bring people together and rally them around a common vision.
  • New Friendships:  I have no problem admitting that I was just like most fraternity guys waving the “our chapter is better than yours” flag and thinking “all the guys in XYZ fraternity are losers”.  A funny thing happened when I joined IFC – I realized that our chapter members were very similar to members of other chapters on campus.  Some of my best friends in college came out of relationships formed from our IFC executive council and I’ve maintained them for over a decade since we graduated.  Trust me, I got a lot of “how the hell can you be friends with that guy from XYZ chapter?” from my brothers but it was well worth it to develop these great new friendships and gain an understanding of just how petty these little rivalries were in our community!
Are you looking for a great way to further develop the current and future leaders in your community?  Would you like to train your leaders and have each of them develop a customized Personal Leadership Plan?  Click HERE to learn more about “Limitless Leadership”, an interactive workshop that uses a scientifically-validated behavioral assessment to help student leaders learn how they are hard-wired as a leader and then set specific actions for how they will thrive in their new role.

 

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Why Your Feelings Have Everything to Do With Changing the World http://www.campuspeak.com/whyyourfeelings/ http://www.campuspeak.com/whyyourfeelings/#respond Tue, 03 Oct 2017 16:20:19 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=26113 “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 […]

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“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 our country. After we finished, we exhaled—collectively settling the flurry of emotions we’d just unearthed.

 

I stared at her again in the screen of my iPhone. Though I’ve known her for years, I suddenly felt closer to her. For once, I felt connected to her, not just as my friend, but as my fellow sojourner in all the hard events happening before us. There was power in allowing ourselves to share in that collective pain—letting that pain touch us, inform us, and unite us.

 

Many of you know this power. You’ve grieved. Donated. Corralled people to help. You touched the pain of others and let it move you to benevolent action. That is true power, my friends. When we allow ourselves to be impacted by the emotions of others, it has the potential to be a force for good for others. When we choose to really see each other, we are better able to show up for each other in ways that truly change the world. But there are many who have not experienced the power of this collective experience. Not because they are unwilling, but because it is overwhelming.

 

With all our technology and media, we can’t avoid what’s happening in the world— as well as sometimes, be knocked right out by it. We gingerly try to dance around the conversation of it all. Yet, the weight finds you and sticks to you, unable to undo its grasp on you. Grief, loss, confusion, outrage are all some of the emotions from the past few weeks. But they’re also uncomfortable…and as humans, we run from uncomfortable things.

 

“Get Comfortable, Being Uncomfortable.”

 

The irony of life is that it is the uncomfortable that has both the power to take us out and push us forward.

 

It reminds me of a recent family trip to the beach. My son had insisted on bringing their sand bucket and pail into the water to “wash it off.” Before we knew it, one good strong wave swept the bucket from my son’s hands. I tried to catch it amidst the sandy water, but it slipped through my fingers. As we walked back to shore, adjacent to us on the shore line, was the bucket. It had been swept back onto the beach by the next wave, after being plunged into the ocean.

 

Our uncomfortable feelings do the same. They have the power like the ocean’s waves to sweep us off our feet, disorienting us for a minute. But, when we choose to ride out the wave, we see it pushes us further along the beach. Perhaps further than we could have ever walked ourselves. In my profession, I get many responses regarding my work around emotions and human connection, including comments like:

 

“Emotions- that’s small stuff.”

 

“Ahh, emotions. Just get over it.”

 

“We don’t have time to feel right now. We have to work, then cry later.”

 

A man once told me that he viewed “softer” concepts like emotions, connection, and empathy like the annoying packaging material that comes in a box, preventing you from reaching the “real” gift that’s inside. I think many people feel that way—that emotions are these cumbersome, unnecessary things we experience with no purpose. But every time I hear this, I am still amazed because my experience and work prove the opposite.

 

What I know to be true, is this: Our feelings help us see each other, connect deeper, and grow closer. These are the things that are needed and carry significant meaning. These are the things that will help us rebuild after everything we’ve experienced recently. Rebuilding Houston, US VI, and the Keys only happens when we first connect around the loss, fear, and grief from that shared experience. The way we have effective yet hard conversations about race and discrimination is by connecting over honest feelings about what we do and don’t know.

Our emotions- our ability to connect- is the gift. It is our prized possession, the thing that we should all be striving to grasp and understand, and use for the good of others.

 

Brave the wilderness with over 20 million college students on campuses around the nation, there’s ample opportunity to practice really seeing each other. But will you choose it? Will you lean into the discomfort of someone’s uncomfortable experience or the discomfort of facing the realities of your own? True leadership is being the catalyst to create space for others to be vulnerable, and show their most authentic self.

 

In one of my recent online classes, I was teaching participants about a concept I’ve coined called heartwork—which is the process of facing and conquering our most difficult life emotions, so we can be free to live out our purpose within. We cannot effectively do the work of seeing each other and creating space for each other unless we have first done our own heartwork. When we can navigate the dark, tight, uncomfortable spaces of our experiences, it gives us the dexterity to help others face theirs, and really show up for and belong to one another.

 

In her recent book, Braving the Wilderness, Dr. Brene Brown describes the concept of true belonging as a wilderness that can only be conquered when we first learn to first belong to ourselves. It’s in doing so that we create space for others. Honoring the gift of our emotions is not just doggedly embracing those of others; it is first embracing the emotions in ourselves- facing the rejection, anxiety, insecurity, and pain that we individually feel. Because it’s when we feel our own emotions— when we brave our own wilderness- that we can feel for others and help them brave theirs.

 

So, my friend, at the beginning of this was right. There is a lot going on. It can all feel too much. But when do our work to face our own pain, get comfortable with being uncomfortable, and brave our wilderness, we experience the power of the collective and the daunting truth of our human connection. It’s through this connection that we create truly safe spaces on our campuses, not just for people’s political or ideological opinions, but for their hearts to show up, untethered, honest, and unafraid. That is braving your wilderness. That is heartwork. That is changing the world.

 

Learn more about Dr. Leslie Nwoke and her keynotes at campuspeak.com/nwoke.

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Overcoming Tragedy: 4 Steps for Healing http://www.campuspeak.com/overcomingtragedy/ http://www.campuspeak.com/overcomingtragedy/#respond Tue, 03 Oct 2017 15:48:39 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=26108 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 […]

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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.

 

  1. 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 release it. By screaming into a pillow, screaming into the sky, screaming into our journals, screaming out to anyone who’s willing to listen. We acknowledge the emotions and then we let them go because if we don’t they’ll make us hard. And on the path to healing, we must remain courageously soft.

  2. Set Boundaries – Self-care is a combination of the nurturing routines, conversations, and relationships we have with US. It’s the capacity to love, accept, connect and care for ourselves, from the inside out, in spite of the traumas and stresses in our lives. It’s about leaning into our life, moment to moment, with trust and appreciation.Self-care does not include conversations, relationships, and routines with the Internet, with the news, with social media. Self-care means unplugging from the noise around us. Self-care means muting the world so we can hear ourselves more clearly, as the empty silence is full of introspective answers. So switch to airplane mode. Become more selective of who and what you’re giving yourself to.
  3. Align – Healing is a lifelong journey, filled with heart-warming reprieve and tender scars. Those of us on the healing-side realize that our lives will never be the same. Like a crumpled piece of paper, the creases will always be present. It took me many, many years to understand that the path to healing is not about getting over X, Y and Z but rather aligning with their existence. We align by accepting and acknowledging the presence of their scars for a lifetime to come. For these scars are evidence of our strength to prevail.
  4. Nurture – Nurture you. Take tender care of your mind, body, and spirit. Give yourself love today so tomorrow you can give it to others. How?

 

  1. Get outside
  2. Journal
  3. Take a bath
  4. Pray
  5. Meditate
  6. Read a book
  7. Go on a walk, hike, bike ride, etc.
  8. Eat healthy
  9. Stretch
  10. Do yoga
  11. Make love
  12. Make out
  13. Mindfulness/stay in the present
  14. Practice breathing exercises
  15. Workout
  16. Cook yourself a nice meal
  17. Buy yourself a nice meal
  18. Take a nap
  19. Write an affirmation list
  20. Write a gratitude list
  21. Watch a sunrise
  22. Watch a sunset
  23. Smile
  24. Watch a comedy
  25. Make a vision board
  26. Travel

When the dark days of our lives take over, the job is ours to shine as our own beacon of light. It’s our responsibility to bring ourselves safely home after the storms have passed—to a place where we honor our past experiences by living from an aligned and nurturing space. The healing ladder of the universe is long and aims toward self-care. Only in this place can we find the love to propel us forward.

Learn more about Brittany Piper and her impactful keynotes at campuspeak.com/brittany.

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Circles of Grace: Taking Diversity from Head to HEART http://www.campuspeak.com/circlesofgrace/ Tue, 17 Oct 2017 15:22:17 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=26272 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 […]

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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.

Circles of Grace

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 when it assumes it knows something, and that, my friends is how we can see an object, person, or symbol and automatically assign meaning and understanding to it without fully knowing it. Many times we do this without our even realizing it is happening. It takes extra diligence and intentionality to combat this and really learn about the event and person from FIRST-HAND information/experience and to try our best to understand all perspectives. This is not about always forging an agreement and believing the same things as others, but about agreeing to see the humanity in others even if we disagree.

I am ashamed at who my EVERYONE ELSE has been throughout the years, but I have made strides to “enlarge my circle” to develop meaningful relationships and gain exposure to people and groups who have been carelessly lumped together. WHO IS YOUR EVERYONE ELSE? I encourage you to take the #6monthchallenge. This challenge is one where I challenge myself to go do something, to learn something, or talk with someone whom I either disagree with or don’t know a lot about. This is a humbling experience, but very helpful. While I don’t always walk away agreeing, and sometimes I have maintained my same position, this exercise has allowed me to see their HUMANITY! My friend, we need this more than ever right now. Will you enlarge your circles of grace and challenge your view of people and events in the society? We can do this together!

TO GO DEEPER: Watch the short video for a more in-depth understanding of the Circles of Grace and identify who is in your circles and who could be.  It just might help you to become a better leader, better member, and a better human!

Justin Jones-Fosu has great leadership strategies embedded in his keynote. Whether you are looking for leadership, diversity, or purpose driven inspiration, check out Justin and his ability to intersect amazing energy and practical content. Trust me, look at one of his videos!!!

Check out one of Justin’s most requested Keynote “Hug an Elephant, Kiss a Giraffe: Embracing EVERYDAY Diversity” and see why Justin is helping move the conversation from head to heart.  Justin’s engaging yet relevant style is one reason he was named as a “HOT ACT” in 2015 by Campus Activities Magazine.

To learn more about Justin, please visit campuspeak.com/jones-fosu

 

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Permission to Screw Up http://www.campuspeak.com/permissiontoscrewup/ Tue, 03 Oct 2017 14:28:41 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=26104 “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 […]

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Hadeed_Press_Photo2

“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 they’re mopping floors and scrubbing toilets. It’s the story of how she went from being an almost comically inept leader to a sought-after CEO who teaches others how to lead. Along the way, Kristen got it wrong almost as often as she got it right. Giving out hugs instead of feedback, fixing errors instead of enforcing accountability, and hosting parties instead of cultivating meaningful relationships were just a few of her many mistakes. But it was Kristen’s willingness to admit those mistakes and learn from them that helped her become a leader who gives her people the chance to learn from their screwups too.

Permission to Screw Up dismisses the idea that leaders and organizations must always be perfect. Through a brutally honest and often hilarious account of her own struggles, Kristen encourages us to embrace our failures and offers proof that we’ll be better leaders when we do.

Order Kristen’s Book Here

Learn more about Kristen and her keynotes

Kristen Hadeed is the founder and CEO of Student Maid, a cleaning company that hires students. She spends much of her time helping organizations across the country improve their own workplace cultures. This is her first book. She lives in Gainesville, Florida.

www.kristenhadeed.com

 

 

 

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Old Keys Don’t Open New Doors http://www.campuspeak.com/old-keys-dont-open-new-doors/ http://www.campuspeak.com/old-keys-dont-open-new-doors/#respond Tue, 19 Sep 2017 15:05:47 +0000 http://campuspeak.com/?p=1298 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, […]

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. What events do we do more out of a sense of obligation than out of “our organization gets a lot out of this”?
  3. How can we utilize our more experienced members to make sure they feel valued in our organization?
  4. This year, what will we be great at?
  5. Who are the key players that we need investment from to help make sure that happens? (Note: Everyone is not the answer.)
  6. This year, we will waste less time doing what? How?
  7. What is a new way that we are going to make the members of our organization feel like they have a role in its success?
  8. One idea for my organization I’ve always had but was always afraid what others would say about it is… (Hint: this is the year, bring it up, get buy-in, get it done)

I would love to hear your thoughts about this and/or answers to some of these questions so tweet at me, @JamesTRobo, and let’s start the conversation!

 

Learn more about James Robilotta and his student leadership keynotes at campuspeak.com/robilotta.

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Anyone That Truly Cares About Their Organization Has Thought of Quitting http://www.campuspeak.com/quitting/ Tue, 19 Sep 2017 12:08:55 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=26020 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 […]

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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 you CAN get through it. It is a natural part of leadership. See burnout for what it is. It is just another step toward success.

Burnout. Maybe you’ve felt it before. Surely, you’ll feel it again at some point in your journey. Remember that burnout isn’t caused by how much work you do. It’s caused by how much work you see others not doing. One strategy is to focus on those that will be led. SW, SW, SW. One of the best things I learned about leadership. Some Will. Some Won’t. So What. Work with those that will and don’t focus on those that won’t. They’ll burn you out if you let them. Take energy from those that will work with you to get things done, and let them remind you why your membership matters so much.

Leadership isn’t supposed to be easy. It is supposed to be filled with lots of work, and effort, and stress. What’s great about fraternal organizations is that you have the opportunity to lead, to try, and to fail. And when you do, brothers and sisters who have sworn a sacred oath to you, are there to pick you up, dust you off, and help you start all over again.

Key Take-Aways:

  1. Wanting to quit is natural. It means you really love your organization.
  2. It is OK to get frustrated. Leaders grow at the edge of their comfort zone.
  3. Burnout is caused by seeing others not working. Focus instead on members that want to work.

Learn more about David Stollman at campuspeak.com/stollman.

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