Emerging Leaders Recap

By Megan Gaard, MIAC

Over the past few days, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend the Emerging Leaders Seminar at the NCAA Headquarters in Indianapolis. With over 200 attendees, I was one of many interns, graduate assistants and young collegiate athletics professionals eager to fine tune our skills in professional networking, personal branding and self-leadership development.

On the first day, our cohort spent time analyzing the results from the DiSC Workplace Assessment  that categorizes your personality into one of four categories: D-i-S-C. I was grouped as an S. It was amazing how accurate my results were to my personality style. Having already taken this assessment before, I was not surprised by my results. So this time, I focused on learning how to interact effectively with those categorized as a D, i or C. Working effectively with people in the workplace is extremely important so I found this session relevant and helpful.

As the conference progressed, I attended various informational sessions. The first session provided feedback on our current resumes and gave us tips for organizing our experiences effectively. The second session discussed personal branding on social media and it made me think twice about how I am presenting myself on social media outlets. The main speaker gave good insight into how we can use social media to learn more about the athletics industry. I plan to follow more athletic-based dialogue on Twitter and become more proactive in tweeting information I find relevant and interesting about athletics from my Twitter handle.

NCAA Headquarters in Indianapolis.
Finally, networking  played a large role in this event. We were given a plethora of opportunities to network with other attendees, NCAA staff and administrators from institutions around the area including Purdue University, DePauw University and Ball State University. This gave me a greater understanding of job opportunities available in collegiate athletics and I learned more about the similarities and differences in Division I, II and III.

Because I  was a Division III student-athlete and work specifically in Division III at the MIAC, it was beneficial to spend some time talking with attendees from Divisions I and II. My roommate while at the conference also worked in a conference office as an intern from the Mountain West Conference. It was interesting to hear about her role in the office because she was one of 20 people working there as opposed to our three-person staff at the MIAC. Her job was more specialized in Championships and Event Management while in my position, I get experience in every aspect of the duties within a conference office. The variety I get on a day-to-day basis is one thing I like about working in Division III.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to expand my professional network, self-reflect, goal-set and learn more about the different areas of collegiate athletics. I hope the NCAA continues to run events like this as I find them extremely beneficial for young professionals starting out in the collegiate athletics industry.

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