Community, Leadership Development, Leadership Education, Leadership Training, Uncategorized

Events Staff

The CMU School of Music (aka. my second home) is what I chose to do for my second RSO Reflection because since I have three jobs, and am taking a full course load, I don’t necessarily have the time to be in 2 RSO’s. This RSO I have been working for the School of Music for four semesters now, and have loved most every bit of it. At the event staff, we organize and execute all of the musical events that happen at the SOM. Those include famous guests artists, student recitals, big and small band/choir ensembles, and faculty recitals. We also host state-wide musical events for high school bands and choirs. This jobs has taught me so much about organizing events and managing a staff, both of which will be crucial parts of my future career. This year, I was promoted to be an Event Staff Coordinator, which is basically the position of a student manager. With this, I have more time interacting directly with my other staff members, training and facilitating events with them. I have also had much more extensive training on technical things, such as hinging lights from catwalks.

The main thing I love about this job is that the ones of community is wonderful. As a staff, we all grow very close to each other since we work and have a very supporting boss who challenges us. Some of my best friend have come out of my time working for the Event Staff. I also like that for my job, I get to interact with the music faculty, students and the different guest artist. I have made so many connections with individuals who could be great contacts in the future through this job. I love seeing different events successfully come together with all of the planning my staff and I put into it. I can thank the Event Staff for training me to be able to train staff members and be more comfortable with managing small groups of people in professional settings.

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Community, Leadership Development, Leadership Education, Leadership Training, Uncategorized

CMU School of Music Event Staff

As one of my RSO involvements for this year, I have taken the liberty of using my on campus job to count towards one of these. ( I have chosen to do this because between both my on campus and off campus job, my 19-credit hour work load, and volunteering at St. John’s, there isn’t much time for anything else!) Working at the CMU Music Building as a member of the event staff has been one of the most positive experiences in my career at CMU thus far. This job has taught me so much about putting together events, keeping composure at the face of chaos and learning to put others before myself. Not only do I get all of this professional development experience at the Event Staff, but the sense of community among not only the staff, but the entire music building is incredible. I can’t walk through the music building without stopping to talk to someone for a few minutes, or greeting one of the faculty, and I’m not even a music major! Being a member of the event staff here on campus is one of the places that I feel I truly belong. This semester, I am also training to be an Event Staff Coordinator (Student Manager) for the next school year. I am extremely excited to continue to learn about the work that I do, and to further build on this very welcoming and unique community that the music building offers.

event staff

Members of the staff at our annual “Event Staff Olympics”

event staff fail

The team after a failed attempt at a human pyramid.

Leadership Development, Leadership Training

LEAD Team

The team I was on this year was the Social Lead team. We organize social events for all of LAS. This year, we planned LAS on ICE, which was an ice skating trip to the local arena, and LAS in the D, which is a trip to a Tiger’s game that will take place in June. The team was wonderful, and the meetings were never too long or boring. For every event that we planned, each person had a specific job to do, and without him or her, the event wouldn’t get planned. For LAS on ICE, I was placed with the social media position for my cohort, so I had to create and event and advertise on our Facebook page. Other jobs were making posters, emailing our advisor or calling the Ice arena.

A picture from LAS on ICE

Having these responsibilities really taught me something about leadership that I already knew, but it kind of solidified it. A leader isn’t necessarily the person in charge, but it can also be the person who works behind the scenes to make the magic happen. Each person in my Lead Team held some kind of leadership throughout the year because we all had some type of responsibility to make sure each event happened.

Next year, depending on what lead team I’m on, I will try my best to convey that message to my team that you don’t have to be the person in charge to be a leader. I also hope to have as good of a lead team as I did this year. If I’m on the Social Lead Team again, I hope to do a few more smaller events, like a Christmas dinner or a Halloween gathering within cohorts. This way, that would bring in even more leadership roles to the members of the team within cohorts.

Leadership Development

Seth Godin Reflection

This reflection today is written over a blog of my choosing from Seth Godin’s website. I had never heard of him before, but his blogs are really quite interesting and insightful. The blog I decided to reflect over is titled, “‘Connect to’ vs. ‘Connect’.” This piece was about how it’s easy for companies/people/teachers to ‘connect to’ their clients/friends/students. He says this creates a “vertical connection” which creates a window for communication. Less common/simple is to ‘connect’ clients/friends/students which builds “horizontal relationships, person to person.” “It’s what makes a tribe,” he explains. He says that companies are scared to connect because they don’t want to have less control over what happens when the customers like one another more than they like the company. I was slightly confused at this point, when reading, because I felt that there was a lot to think about regarding the little bit that he wrote. But his last sentence really brought his idea together for me: “Of course, connecting is where the real emotions and change and impact happen.”

This entry reminded me of the Ted Talk, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” by Simon Sinek and my reflection on it. Sinek’s video was all about how if someone has a reason for why they do what they do, and make it known, they are more likely to be successful than someone who doesn’t know why they do something, but rather only know how or what they do. I thought these two pieces were similar because when Godin referred to the organizations who only “connected to,” it reminded me of when Sinek talked about companies who only know what they do and how they do it, but not why they do it. These vertical connections made by ‘connecting to’ are only the ‘what’ and ‘how’ part of the equation. When we dig deep down get to the ‘why’ part, that’s when the personal, horizontal connections start to happen and relationships start to form. Using an example from Sinek’s presentation, he said: “MLK gave the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, not the ‘I Have a Plan’ speech.” With that, we could say MLK didn’t ‘connect to’ his audience, but rather he ‘connected’ his audience, creating strong army of people all advocating for the same thing, with the same “why” in mind. Real emotions, change and impact all happened here all because MLK connected his audience because he knew why he was giving his speech that day.

These two post from Godin and Sinek I think really taught me a lot about what great things, and not so great things, can happen depending on how I portray myself and influence others. Godin’s post relates to things on a bit of a bigger scale than just me, but the concept is still applicable. We need to not be afraid to connect other people because, like Godin said, thats when the real emotion, change and impact start to happen. Making connections and building relationships with people is a big part of how we grow as people. Think of all the “horizontal connections” you’re missing out on because you’ve been confined to only making those “vertical connection.”

Leadership Development, Leadership Training

Mentor/Mentee Retreat 2014

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Mackenzie, Mckenzie and me, Awkward Family Photo

About the second weekend of school, the freshman (mentees) and sophomore (mentors) LAS classes took a trip up to Eagle Village for the annual Mentor/Mentee Retreat. I’m a freshman, so obviously i was there as a mentee. The trip was supposed to be like a get-to-know-you thing so that each mentor/mentee could build a bigger and better relationship. All of us were separated into about four big groups with our mentors. We each had a team facilitator from Eagle Village (my group’s facilitator’s name was Tim Horton) and throughout the weekend we did different group and team building activities, and we even got to go rock climbing. I was excited to spend time with my mentor, Mackenzie, and my “sister,” Mckenzie, but at the same time, I was nervous and didn’t know what to expect since I really had made no new friends in LAS at that point.

The group team building was really great and I enjoyed all of it. My group was really great and we all got to know each other and had a great time. What I was worried would happen, though, did happen. Since I really hadn’t made too many friends yet, I felt really excluded at some points. The last night we were there, we all sat around a big bonfire and everyone was sharing their stores about how they had such a great time and made such great connections with everyone, and I just didn’t feel the same way. After the bonfire, people were playing board games with each other and stayed up all night out in the common room. I tried to talk to people, but they were busy with their own inside jokes and only concerned with each other, and I totally understand that. I just kept wishing that I could be out there with everyone too, but it really is difficult to make connections and bonds with a group of people who are already comfortable with one another. 

kenzie
My “sister” and me 🙂

Frankly, the Mentor/Mentee Retreat really was not a welcoming first impression of my LAS class. Although I did have a great time with my mentor and sister, I really just couldn’t connect with anyone else in my class and it was very difficult for me. I was never used to feeling like an outsider, and suddenly I did in my group of peers. Since then, I have tried and made a few more friends but it’s still hard when everyone else has built their relationships to such a strong level and you try to join the group. But I try not to let this influence my leadership in any way and I’m still friendly toward everyone, still trying to build more relationships.