By MIDN 1/C Danielle Abad
The Naval Academy Leadership Conference is a midshipmen-planned and executed event that has been around since 1984. Originally, the conference only included senior cadets and midshipmen from each of the service academies, but we got tired of hanging out with just Army and Air Force, so over the years we expanded it to include students from civilian universities as well.
The 2015 midshipmen officer staff began planning the event before the Class of 2014 could even walk across the stage at graduation. The first challenge: Who was going to speak at the conference? After making a list of 100+ names and a rough outline of what they wanted the conference to look like, the 2015 chairman and vice chairman brought their ideas, hopes and dreams to the Dant, seeking his approval.
The next challenge: How would they convince world renowned business and military leaders, basically famous people, to come speak at some midshipmen-run program? It turns out that “some midshipmen-run program” isn’t all that the 2015 Naval Academy Leadership Conference is to people outside of the brigade. After hearing a lot of, “I would love to, but I am already booked” responses, the team received some yeses, and they were pretty impressive yeses, to say the least.
Keynote and panel speakers this year include military and civilian professionals from companies like Cisco, Pepsi, Pinterest, and Facebook – to name just a few. Prominent speakers include retired Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, publisher of Forbes magazine Rich Karlgaard, and Pentagon Press Secretary Adm. John Kirby.
The not-so-challenging challenge: what universities would want to attend? It turns out that many universities wanted to attend the 2015 Naval Academy Leadership Conference, so many that a waiting list had to be created.
The eight midshipmen officers on the staff had their work cut out for them. Each midshipmen officer holds a different role in the planning and execution of the Conference.
This year’s conference theme is Leading in an Interconnected World, where the speakers and participants will explore the challenges of being an authentic leader in a world where technology can be beneficial to the leader and follower and yet hinder them at the same time.
Together the midshipmen staff plans and executes more than you will ever see, but that is for them to know and you to see the results for yourselves at the 2015 Naval Academy Leadership Conference beginning Jan. 25.
Learn more about the conference at http://www.usna.edu/LeadershipConference/.