Edwina Ward is a second-year doctoral graduate student majoring in Conflict Resolution Analysis Studies. She serves as the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Graduate Student Government Association President at NSU. In the community, she is the founder of Leaders Recognizing Leaders (LRL), a 501c3 nonprofit community organization dedicated to mentoring young people to become leaders and young diplomats through community service projects and global communications.
When I first saw the flyer online about the Global Leadership Organization (GLO), I was immediately interested. I began doing a little research, only to learn that the conference was outside of my state, and I had to either drive 40 hours from Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco, California, or take a flight. I chose to make the trip.
First, I registered for the conference. Then, I made plans to fly over 2,782.2 miles away from home to meet total strangers. This was indeed an exploration of the unknown. After traveling over five hours from Florida to California, I was filled with fatigue but had an attitude filled with gratitude for the journey.
The day I arrived, I was super pumped about meeting everyone. The first meeting started at 8:00 a.m. with an opening session featuring Teddy Liaw, founder of GLO and CEO of multimillion-dollar Silicon Valley company, NexRep. Liaw shared his vision for starting the organization, which is to inspire aspiring future trailblazers like us to become “social transformative leaders.”
Overall, the focus of the global leadership conference was based on people management, project management, meeting management, communication and public speaking. What made the conference most interesting was the added value of working together in small groups to discuss how we must be more strategic and analytical in the process of creating transformative social changes. Also, we talked about creating visions, goals, objectives and using the power of technology to communicate with young people around the world to achieve future goals.
At the conference, I was trained by Gordon Yoon, a graduate of UCLA who is a software engineer at Google Cloud. In my small group sessions, we were asked if we knew where we wanted to be in the next five years and whether we were prepared to fight for a cause to empower others. Many of us were clear about our academic career goals, but had not paid much attention to the thought of being change agents around the world until then.
At the closing session, I won a gift card for networking with everyone in the room. At the end of the experience, I gave a speech to the audience by sharing that despite my fears of the unknown, I did not allow that to stop my decisions to travel for the conference. It is all about being determined to “travel the distance,” which is something more young emerging leaders must do in their quest to succeed.