Mason Student Conference Emphasizes Connections Between Leadership and Well-Being

By Sudha Kamath

Students who take on leadership roles already know how important―and challenging―it is to balance different aspects of their lives.

Now a group of them has the tools to do it better after attending George Mason University’s ninth annual Leadership Mason Conference. The event drew a near record crowd of 175 students with its theme of Thriving Together: Leading with Vitality, Purpose, and Resilience.

“I’ve always been passionate about teaching mindful leadership and well-being practices to students, especially student leaders,” says Kalia Harris, a global and community health major. “I learned how to balance different aspects of everyday life in order to be more efficient as a leader.”

Students came from Mason, University of Mary Washington, James Madison University, Northern Virginia Community College, Trinity Washington University, American University, University of Maryland-Baltimore County and Montgomery College.

Lisa Snyder, associate director of the Leadership Education and Development office, which sponsored the event, says more than a dozen workshops were held, delving into the intellectual, physical, emotional, social, spiritual and career connections between leadership and well-being.

That included guidance on everything from breathing techniques to life/study/work balance; from self-care advice to stress-busting exercises and creativity.

“I have a newfound appreciation for self-care as a part of leadership,” says Katie Garay, a government and international politics major from Alexandria, Va.

Taylor Sprague, a junior from Scotch Plains, N.J., praised the positive energy at the event. “People were there to learn and increase their understanding of both leadership and well-being and the atmosphere was really set up for that.”

The conference promoted Mason’s Well-Being University Initiative. It was sponsored or supported by the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being; The EDGE on the Prince William Campus; and the Division of University Life’s: University Life Programming Committee; Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Multicultural Education; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning Resources; Housing and Residence Life; Mason Recreation; Student Involvement; and Wellness, Alcohol, and Violence Education Services.

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