STEP Leadership : National Society of Black Engineers National Conference

Name: Jasmine Jones

My Project.

The main purpose of partaking in this project was to grow and develop as a leader by pursuing professional and leadership skills, and putting them into action at the National Conference of the National Society of Black Engineers.

Transforming Myself

Thanks to this opportunity that I was afforded from the STEP program I’ve come to understand that I can grow from and past the barriers in my life. One of my goals in attending the conference was to gain experience and insight on how to be an effective leader. That includes learning about my leading style, how does that affect the members of my group, and how I can grow myself into a better person for myself as well as my peers. Though I have always been very determined I tend to be quite timid in unknown territory, which brings forth my slight speech impediment and anxiety. The problem wasn’t so much about my speech itself, but rather that I let fear get in the way of my goals.

Now I know that nothing, internal or external, can stop me from achieving my goals personally and as a leader to better serve my community. I’m not saying that the fear is completely gone or that worry is no more, but what matters is that from this experience I’ve gained the knowledge and tools to not let it stop me. Because of that I’ve gained an enhancement in my leadership style that cannot be taught.

How did this project do that?

The national conference gave my various opportunities that encouraged the change I saw. A first would be networking with companies in various scales.  We’ve all been to the Engineering Expo held in our Ohio Union but that is quite a formal setting. At National conference I got a chance to do large scale networking, in addition to a medium setting where each company had invited a group of maybe 30 students to speak with in a business casual setting. After that there were casual medium sized settings that were actually quite casual, which was then followed by semi-formal one- on –ones. This experience taught me how to loosen up. In this vast ever changing world, there is no way to predict everything that could ever happen and every outcome. From this I learned flexibility and how to match my environment with ease.

Another situation could include the Telecommunications meeting session which housed the telecommunications chairs, such as myself, from all of the chapters nationwide. There we expressed our successes and our down falls, problems, trials, and solutions. From that I experience I learned that as a leader you might fail sometimes. Actually that all good leaders do fail sometimes, but Its about being able to admit it, analyze it, and grow with grace.

Also at conference there were various workshops dedicated to networking in leadership. I learned about other leadership styles and how collaboration with other leaders isn’t a show of weakness, but a signal of strength. Different people bring different experiences which can really shape and change the way that you view the world. A good leader knows what would be beneficial to add to the group. These are just a few of the instances that really let me experience and practice new leadership techniques and have personal growth.

Why does it matter?

Gaining this leadership experience is so important because with the life path I want to follow, it is necessary for everyday life. As an engineer and as a member of an organization I often work in groups. Sometimes I need to follow someone else’s plan, and other times I need to be the trail blazer and set out what is the plan for the group. I’ve always had the determination and organization to do so but was never really capable of relaying it to my peers in a way that it is accepted, that is open to suggestion, and that is understandable. It now gives me immense pleasure to be able to say that I can effectively lead the way I’ve always wanted to.

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