The StrengthsFinders Leadership Conference is fairly new to JMU as of last year. Since then, the program has been utilized to provide students, faculty and staff with an understanding of their strengths to improve their leadership. The conference is based on an assessment and teaching guide provided by the Gallup Strengths Center.
“While in college, you should definitely take advantage of this,” said Alicia Pettis, a JMU alumna who attended the conference with several of her friends in the spring of 2014. She believes that those who are thinking about leadership or are interested in personal development would benefit from participating in the conference.
Another alumnus and former participant of the StrengthsFinder Leadership Conference, Faith Ntundi, believes those who are unsure of their abilities could greatly benefit from the conference.
“It would be reassuring to see how they could use those strengths to grow as a person,” Ntundi said.
In order to empower participants through their strengths, the conference is broken down into three sessions. In the first, participants receive a detailed report of their strengths based on a preliminary Gallup StrengthsFinder Assessment taken before the conference. While the first session focuses on understanding those strengths, the second session focuses on real-world applications. The third session then offers a hands-on experience applying those strengths via a group activity.
“They will be able to see how one can quickly learn to work with strangers better once they understand their strengths,” said junior Health Service Administration major and coordinator of the StrengthsFinder Leadership Conference, Carissa Jeffers.
Both Ntundi and Pettis learned a lot from the conference and find themselves using the awareness of their strengths in their daily lives.
During a weeklong training for his current Camp Horizons job, Ntundi utilized his “learner” strength to grasp the responsibilities of his job. During a week of training he had to make sure to ask a lot of questions to learn the technical work used in the various camp activities such as rock climbing and a ropes course. Similarly Pettis has applied the knowledge she gained about her strengths in job interviews.
“It gives you something to back up what you’re saying,” Pettis said.
The next StrengthsFinder Leadership Conference will be held on Saturday, February 7th, from 10am to 4pm in Taylor 405.