“Rising through falling”: 2021 UCCSlead Student Leadership Conference to explore leadership, resilience, failure

UCCSlead, a student leadership development program at UCCS, invites all undergraduate and graduate students to participate in the 2021 Student Leadership Conference on Saturday, Nov. 6.

This year’s theme, “Rising through Falling,” will empower students to learn how leadership can be tested, informed and enhanced by failure. They will have opportunities to share their experiences with others and connect with leaders on campus and in the Colorado Springs community. Maria Ines Flores, a former Olympic gymnast and motivational coach, is slated as the conference’s keynote speaker.

The conference will have both an in-person and virtual participation option for attendees. Catered breakfast and lunch will be provided, and the first 100 students who RSVP will receive free conference t-shirts.

Students should register by Sunday, Nov. 1.

To learn more about this year’s conference, we sat down with Sloan Gonzalez, Program Director of the Chancellor’s Leadership Class and UCCSlead, and Cody Parish, coordinator of the two programs.

Sloan Gonzalez, Program Director of the Chancellor’s Leadership Class and UCCSlead, and Cody Parish, coordinator of the two programs.

Q: What are the event details for this year’s Student Leadership conference? How can students participate?

A: This year’s hybrid Student Leadership Conference will be hosted by UCCSlead and will take place on Saturday, Nov. 6, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. both in Berger Hall and online via Microsoft Teams. Check-in and breakfast will begin at 9:30 a.m.

Q: Why is this year’s conference theme relevant to us in 2021?

A: This year’s conference theme is “Rising through Falling,” a perpetually relevant topic to leadership. How do leaders not only overcome failure but seize it as an opportunity to learn and grow?

The coronavirus pandemic, for example, has presented us with unprecedented challenges, from which we’ve seen heartbreaking stories of failure but also some incredible news of innovation. We’ve all seen our personal leadership tested and strengthened through this global crisis, and this year’s conference provides a platform to share what we’ve learned from these experiences, as well as other experiences leading through challenges.

We’ve got an amazing group of speakers this year, including UCCS undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff, as well as community and military leaders, all ready to share their leadership experiences with conference attendees through interactive breakout sessions. The topics range from imposter syndrome to resiliency to lessons learned from leading the US naval response to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan.

We’re also very excited for attendees to listen to our keynote speaker, Maria Ines Flores, a former Olympic gymnast and motivational coach. She had an incredibly inspiring journey overcoming hardships on her way to representing Guatemala at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea. After hearing our speakers, we believe attendees will leave this year’s conference inspired and motivated to reflect upon, improve and practice their leadership in their daily lives. 

Q: What are the benefits of this conference to UCCS students?

A: This conference is a fantastic leadership development opportunity that students can add to their resumes. Through interactive presentations and an inspiring keynote address, UCCS students will be empowered to critically engage with and learn more about leadership, to share their leadership experiences, and to connect with other leaders on campus and in the Colorado Springs community. 

We will also provide breakfast and lunch to all attendees — who can turn down free food?

Q: How can students register for the conference?

A: Registering for this year’s conference is quick and easy. Students can go to our event page on Mountain Lion Connect, click RSVP, and answer a few brief questions. That’s it! It takes maybe a minute total.

Q: By when do students need to RSVP?

A: The deadline for students to RSVP is Sunday, Nov. 1.

The UCCSlead program incorporates elements proven to be critical in the development of well-rounded, successful leaders. Through experiential training, the program allows students to learn about leadership principles, while practicing them and incorporating them into their student experience. UCCSlead leadership training revolves around a singular, intensive training day designed to enhance students’ leadership skills and character. This training module is called Game Changer, and is a single day training. 

Learn more about UCCSlead on the UCCS website.