The Big South Conference held its 10th annual leadership conference during the weekend of July 10-12 in Black Mountain, N.C. 41 student-athletes represented each of the 11 member institutions, coming together to develop their leadership skills.
Former Ohio State running back and 2002 national champion, Maurice Clarett, was the keynote speaker. Clarett was drafted by the Denver Broncos in 2005 with the final pick in the third round. Clarett is well known for unsuccessfully challenging the NFL's draft eligibility rules requiring a player to be three years removed from high school.
Four of Liberty's student-athletes attended the conference: Chima Uzowihe (Football), Jonathan Burgess (Football), Lizz Kappler (Women's Soccer) and Ashley Rininger (Women's Basketball). Kappler stated, "The most applicable thing I took from the whole weekend that I can use for my team was a statement by Maurice Clarett when he said, ‘Your strengths attract others to you, and your vulnerability makes people love you'".
Participants spent time discussing the characteristics of effective leadership, personal challenges that leaders face and strategies for effective communication. They also participated in a service activity benefiting a local organization as well as team-building activities. Participants concluded the weekend by learning about the NCAA and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and how both organizations support their efforts as leaders, both academically and athletically.
Rininger declared, "The biggest thing that I took from the conference was creating your own personal brand and deciding who you are, what you stand for, what your purpose is and why you do what you do. You need to consistently be that person, day in and day out."
Burgess stated, The Big South Leadership Conference was a great experience for all of our representatives. It was great making life long connections, and we were able to learn from great speakers and other athletes on how we can better reach our teammates and lead them to success."
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