ECSU and CIAA host Excellence Girls' Club Leadership Institute

Kesha Williams
June 26, 2012ecsu-and-ciaa-host-excel Grooming young people for success can yield great results. Two organizations joined forces to bring Virginia youths to Elizabeth City State University for a recent two-day leadership institute for that purpose.

Twenty four girls, ages 11 to 17, participated in informative and exciting workshops at the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) and Excellence Girls' Club Leadership Institute held June 21 and 22 on the ECSU campus. The workshops were held at the Willie and Jacqueline Gilchrist School of Education and Psychology Complex and were led by ECSU's Athletic administrative Department staff and faculty, CIAA student-athletes and staff and community leaders. Topics included "Who Are You: Branding," "Leadership Styles," "Effective Communication" and "Verbal and Nonverbal Communication."

Organizers' aims for the event were to offer informative and interactive workshops to clearly define characteristics and qualities of effective leaders. They also sought to expose the young women participating to positive female leaders and role models and to a taste of college life at ECSU.

Dr. Monette Williams, director of Enrollment, Management and Retention at ECSU, served as the keynote speaker at the institute's luncheon on June 21. She assured her young audience they will need to plan for a successful future. "If you're to be the next leader of a Fortune 500 company... if you're to be the next researcher who comes up with the cure for cancer... if you're to be the next media mogul like Oprah Winfrey, then the choice is yours."

"No matter what you want to do with your life, I guarantee that you'll need an education to do it," she said. "You can't drop out of school and just drop into a good career."

Each person has "something exceptional to offer. Every single one of you has something that is uniquely you. You have a responsibility and a duty to yourself to discover what that is," she said.

She challenged the students to be conscientious - focused on their grades and school work and not just enough to "get by." They must be focused enough to earn high grades that lead to higher education and careers that place them in the position to make decisions about the quality of life they ultimately will have.

Williams also advised them that they will need to be careful and wise enough to surround themselves people who "add to your life - not take away from it."

"Lastly, you must be kind," Williams told the girls. "You must understand that being kind will take you far. Generally speaking, people will go out of their way to help you when you've been kind... have a great attitude. How you treat others, often times, determines how they treat you. Being kind to others is really a test of the tenets of our humanity. In other words, it is in helping to brighten another's day... to lighten another's load that we honor who we are as kind and compassionate leaders."

Dr. Angelia Nelson, ECSU's assistant athletic director and chair of the Department of Physical Education and Health, called the leadership institute a success. Nelson has worked with young people for more than 20 years. She praised Williams for her impact on the participants. "What can I say about Dr. Williams? She was absolutely awesome!" Nelson said. "Her message was real, passionate and inspiring. The young women thoroughly enjoyed her words of wisdom and encouragement.

Nelson also credited workshop presenters with helping to make the institute a hit with participants.

"I am especially proud of our student-athletes, Heather Smith (Miss ECSU and CIAA, 2011-12), Christen Pelton (President, ECSU Student Athletes Advisory Committee) and Allie Kolezynski (President, CIAA - SAAC, Chowan University) for working so hard during their summer vacation to plan and present at the leadership conference. They were very professional and great role models," Nelson said.

After spending hours in intense and interactive workshops, participants enjoyed the campus social scene at ECSU's Bowling Center - playing pool, bowling, listening to music and more. The young women were showered with giveaways sponsored by various ECSU departments, coaches and athletic administrators.

Nelson also thanked Chancellor Willie J. Gilchrist and university officials and offices across the campus for contributing to the institute's success.

"I believe that the young women walked away enlightened and inspired about becoming future leaders, hopefully future Viking Leaders," Nelson said. "They were exposed to great female leaders and role models and had a wonderful Viking experience."

### Founded in 2000, Excellence Girls' Club Inc. serves more than 100 girls in Virginia's Hampton Roads area from Newport News to Chesapeake. The nonprofit organization's mission is to empower young women by exposing them to positive experiences while developing leadership skills.

Dr. Angelia Nelson contributed to this press release.