BRLI Hosts First Leadership in Athletics Conference
Pictured above at the BRLI Leadership in Athletics Conference are BRSN Vice President, Josh Klein, closing keynote speaker and Director of US Naval Academy’s Center for Ethical Leadership, Art Athens, and BRSN Managing Editor, Aaron Goldberg.
Over Labor Day weekend, Cornell hosted it’s first ever Leadership in Athletics Conference, bringing student-athletes from around the area together to generate discussion and consideration for the importance of measured leadership as a tool for immediate competitive success and lifelong professional success.
The two-day event featured speakers from a broad cross section of backgrounds, as the Big Red Leadership Institute hoped that many different perspectives would emerge and that those athletes in attendance would be able to connect with the themes most relevant to them. The goal of the conference was to foster leadership and community within Cornell athletics and across colleges because, although these student-athletes compete against each other on the field, an atmosphere should be created where they can meet and learn from one another. In order to accomplish this objective, the conference not only included several keynote speakers, but also multiple panel discussions and breakout sessions.
A current member of the BRLI and a junior on the Cornell Men’s Lightweight Rowing team, Johnnie Sinclair, perceived the conference as a true success. “I believe we accomplished our mission, and the exchange of ideas and shared experiences among the athletes involved was one of the most valuable components of our event,” said Sinclair.
Many Big Red athletes attended the event, but Cornell also hosted student-athletes from Yale, Colgate, Bucknell, and Lehigh. To their knowledge, this was the first Leadership in Athletics Conference of its kind nationwide.
“This was a student-athlete driven initiative, from initial concept to event execution, and I’m incredibly proud of what the BRLI Athlete Steering Committee was able to achieve,” remarked Sinclair. “We’re already looking forward to planning the next one.”
The BRLI as a whole provides an integrated, four-year developmental curriculum for student-athletes that maximizes their personal development as teammates and team leaders, allowing them to use their competitive experience as a hands-on laboratory for honing these skills. By creating this type of learning environment for student-athletes, the organization emphasizes self-awareness, self-reflection, personal and collective accountability, discipline, composure under adversity, and communication. The BRLI also provides resources and support for coaches on a variety of topics, including captain selection and development, team culture, and team accountability.
Ultimately, the BRLI wishes to take great student-athletes and make them even better through focused leadership and character development, and the Leadership in Athletics Conference was a major step in the right direction toward achieving this goal.