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UAlbany Circle Strikes Gold with Capital Region Leadership Conference

(March 4, 2005)

On Feb. 26, the University at Albany Circle hosted the First Annual Capital Region Leadership Conference. The conference brought together more than 100 student leaders from the University at Albany, West Point Military Academy, Siena College, and the College of Saint Rose. Since the planning stages began in September, members of the UAlbany Circle have been working diligently to organize a leadership conference that would get the word out about ΟΔΚ and help other colleges in the Capital Region charter their own circles. Brian DePersiis, Circle president, welcomed everyone, then turned the podium over to National Vice President for Circle Standards Michael Christakis, and University President Kermit L. Hall, for opening remarks and personal notes on leadership and service learning.

The conference consisted of two panels, followed by break-out sessions for networking opportunities and for panelists to discuss their topics further. The first panel was "How I Became a Leader" and included speakers from both the public and private sectors who talked about their leadership experience and provided insight into their career paths. Director of the After-School Campaign for Citizen Action New York, Davia Gaddy-Collington, started off the first panel and was followed by Peter Gerstenzang, a senior partner and top DWI attorney from the firm Gerstenzang, O'Hern, Hickey & Gerstenzang, Lee McElroy, director for Athletics & Recreation at UAlbany and a member of the UAlbany ΟΔΚ Circle, and Brahim Richani, a total quality manager from General Electric.

The second panel was "Organizational Politics: The Inescapable Reality" and consisted of Mike Hendricks, editor of The Business Review in Albany, Major Eric Morrison, assistant professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences & Leadership from West Point Military Academy, Bill Scheuerman, president of United University Professions labor union and New York State Assemblyman Paul Tonko. Panelists discussed the role that politics play in the day-to-day operations of their organizations and offered advice in managing priorities.

"The conference offered student leaders the opportunity to network with working professionals and other student leaders as well as gain a deep understanding for various leadership styles. In planning this conference, we tried to ensure that students walked away feeling inspired about their current leadership roles," said DePersiis.

Perhaps the most inspiring part of the day was keynote speaker and empowerment specialist Arthur L. Andrews. Andrews captivated the audience's attention for two full hours and raised the energy level in the room by offering motivation and leadership advice. Andrews' speech was on "The Art of Powerful, Effective Leadership." Many who attended described the event as "a life-changing experience" and added that Arthur Andrews "made a lasting impact on my life" and "hit on many areas that I have been struggling with lately." When asked if attendees would recommend this conference to others, the answer was a unanimous "YES!"