Sunday, January 25, 2015

ND Leadership Conference Weekend

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of attending the North Dakota Leadership Conference in Castleton, which is about 15 miles out of Fargo, making it about a two hour and 45 minute drive from Bismarck. To be honest, we were all unsure of what to expect (Rachel also went) and they made a point of keeping us in the dark until the very last minute. Our student body president reached out to us in an email a few weeks back basically telling us we were attending this conference, but even he wasn't told exactly what to expect. 

It ended up being a great weekend and I learned a lot more than I expected I would. The forum leaders included the former Republican governor of North Dakota, Ed Schafer and his lovely First Lady, Nancy. They provided excellent insight into what it was like to perform in the political realm while also trying to raise Nancy's young children and they were a lovely witness to what a totally selfless and healthy marriage looks like. 

The theme of the conference was purpose, and we dove deep into discussions about what it means to have a purpose, what it takes to find that purpose, and what actions it requires to fulfill that purpose. We talked about relationships, both dating and marriage and deep personal friendships. Leadership through faith was an important component of the talks and there were many faith based accounts and stories of faith journeys that were extremely inspiring. Former president of the University of Mary, Sister Thomas Welder, led a women's panel and talked about the struggles she faced on her journey to entering the convent. She also touched on the at times daunting task of being the first female leader of the school, but also how she received a great level of respect and admiration as her order was the one which founded the college. 

Nathan Clark from Wondermade was another keynote speaker who talked about his journey from being a struggling college student looking for God and his purpose in life to becoming the founder of an extremely successful homegrown company manufacturing all natural marshmallows. Through an unsurmountable measure of faith, patience and love, he and his wife were able to put total trust in God and begin something that they loved doing but which turned into something so much more than they could ever have expected. 

Throughout the weekend there were many opportunities for small group discussions and conversations that covered everything from internships to family to travel to where will you be in five years? I am so glad I had the chance to leave my comfort zone and meet some amazing new people and hear their stories. It inspired me to take advantage of all the opportunities that present themselves to me and it reminded me that I can truly do anything and everything that I put my mind to and work towards accomplishing. 

What were some highlights from your weekend?

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