Pepperdine To Host West Coast Conference Leadership Summit

  0 volleymob | July 01st, 2017 | Big West, College - Beach, College - Men's Indoor, College - Women's Indoor, Division I Mid-Major, MPSF, News

The Pepperdine Athletics Department welcomed the West Coast Conference and 32 outstanding student-athletes from WCC institutions to campus from Wednesday through Friday this week for the WCC Student-Athlete Leadership Summit in an effort to enhance leadership techniques and encourage culture change on each campus.

“It has been an honor hosting student-athletes from West Coast Conference institutions,” said Dr. Steve Potts.  “Student-athlete development and leadership is an important focus for Pepperdine Athletics and we are grateful to be able to share that vision with our partner schools.”

Among the group were five impacting Waves’ student-athletes, recent graduate James Gehrels (men’s volleyball), senior Kevin Maeda(men’s cross country/track), junior Skylar Caputo (beach volleyball), sophomore Nolan Taylor (men’s basketball) and redshirt-sophomoreMegan House (women’s basketball).

Ten administrators and staff from within the Pepperdine Athletics department served as ‘mentors’ and helped lead the participants.  Dr. Steve Potts, Karina Herold, Kevin Green, Katie Ristow, Sarah Otteman, Krista Lopata, Amanda Rowe, Thad Satre, Hilary Koenig and BrIa Richardson.

JT Thoms and Timothy Alexander from Growing Leaders presented on the first two days, working through ‘Habitudes’ that combine images, relatable stories and experiences into leadership values that resonate with today’s young adults.  The purpose is to equip those young adults to navigate through life’s challenges and opportunities.

“It was an enlightening experience,” said Kevin Maeda.  “It’s an experience we would not get from any other organization.  They truly unraveled the mysteries behind leadership and the fundamentals that make a great leader impacting.”

Along with Thoms, Alexander and the Waves’ staff, the West Coast Conference’s Commissioner Lynn Holzman, Senior Associate Commissioner and Senior Woman Administrator Connie Hurlburt andAssistant Commissioner of Compliance & Student-Athlete Services Jessica Everhart sponsored and participated throughout the weekend and led the final day of events.

“We are thankful that Growing Leaders, Pepperdine’s Athletics’ staff and the West Coast Conference help put on this event,” said Maeda.  “For all the student-athletes, it was a life-changing experience that will enable us to better both our individual schools and the surrounding communities.”

On Wednesday, all 32 student-athletes met in the Jones Trophy Room on the top floor of Heritage Hall.  After a full set of introductions and a nice lunch, the activities began.  JT Thoms led the first day of action, laying a foundation for identifying core values and empowering student-athletes to keep those values balanced and present in their leadership style.  Then, Timothy Alexander told his powerful story of overcoming the adversity of becoming a paraplegic and how he still successfully worked towards his dreams.

In the evening, everyone went to Malibu Café, a local Malibu establishment located in the hills of the Santa Monica Mountains, and enjoyed a nice dinner and various lawn games.  The fun activities set a jovial tone for the rest of the weekend.

On Thursday, the participants awoke bright and early and hit Pacific Coasty Highway en route to Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades, Calif. While there, 10 teams were dispersed in an effort to ‘Heal the Bay’ and clean up trash in the surrounding area.  Following a final presentation by Thoms and Alexander and an open forum with WCC Commissioner Holzman, the participants headed up to main campus en route to President Andrew K. Benton’s home for a lovely meal and conversation with the President and First Lady Debby.

On the final day of the weekend, Jessica Everhart from the conference office led a discussion challenging students to create action plans using the skills they learned.  After the strong presentations and healthy discussion and debate, each student-athlete is now empowered to impact change and influence culture on every campus.

“We are stronger as a conference,” said Skylar Caputo.  “In working together, we are all going to focus on small changes to make a big impact on this upcoming school year.”

Press Release courtesy of Pepperdine Athletics.

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