Student Reflections: 2012 USNA Leadership Conference, Part 3

In Leadership, Student Stories, Undergraduate Students, Wharton on March 18, 2012 at 1:49 pm

U.S. Naval Academy Leadership Conference 2012
Visionary Leadership: Navigating through Unchartered Waters

In the final post of this 3-part series, Anna Pham, WG’12 reflects on lessons from the U.S. Naval Academy’s Leadership Conference in February 2012.  Students from over 20 different schools, military and civilian, gathered in Annapolis, MD for three days of leadership development workshops and experiences.

Reflections from Janani Ramachandran (W’11), Greg Rose (W’12) can be found in posts Part 1 and Part 2.    

 Part 3: Anna Pham, W’12

As the end of January drew near, the thought of having to miss half a week of school for a conference became heavier. Upon arriving in Annapolis and interacting with students and faculty from around the world, this weight quickly lifted as I embarked on the conference program.


There were keynote speakers such as Mr. Guy Kawaski, the  co-founder of Alltop.com, who talked about  his top ten lessons he learned from Steve Jobs. Former CEO of Southwest, Mr. Howard Putman, gave stories on how simple hand-written notes and subtle signs of appreciation can go a long way. Hearts of many audience members were won by panelists as audience members eagerly anticipated their insightful words. Coach Boone from the Titans confirmed what an inspiration he truly was with his powerful ability to raise spirits with it. Former Navy SEAL Commander, Rear Admiral Ray Smith told us that when we’re faced with two courses in life- always pick the one that’s most personally uncomfortable, because that’s the only way to truly grow. The number of prominent speakers and panelists were countless, yet it wasn’t until I heard General James N. Mattis speak at the Brigade Forrestal Lecture, that I started to find a whole new appreciation for my surroundings. In this lecture, General Mattis spoke with such genuine conviction and purpose, everyone could see the passion he had for the country he served.

I, a student who had a tough time committing to what I was going to do within the next week, was seated in Alumni Hall surrounded by future military students who were dedicated to committing their whole lives. I was also surrounded by future leaders who were just as passionate for the organizations they served. This drive was what united all attendees to this conference, and having the chance to exchange ideas and learn perspectives was such a grand and rare opportunity.

From the conference, I gained so many insights from my peers and from the examples and experiences of speakers. I realized more how lucky I was to be in a country full of men and women who were passionate about the country they served. I gained a new perspective on “visionary leadership.” But most importantly I was reminded to lead with love and that a leader is “the love between he who leads and the love and affection of those that are lead.”  This is an insight I am dedicated to remembering and practicing for the rest of my life.


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