(courtesy Justin Paysinger, NCAA Assistant Director of Leadership Development)
Felician College juniors Taylor Parker (Surrey, British Columbia/Semiahmoo) and Anthony Tsouhnikas (Clifton, N.J./Clifton) will accompany assistant director of athletics Lori Kwiatkowski to the annual NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum, to be held Thursday through Sunday in Providence, R.I.
Parker and Tsouhnikas will be among more than 350 student-athletes, who were identified as leaders on their campuses, and 125 athletics professionals from the northeast region of the United States to be hosted by the NCAA this weekend. Parker is a softball third-baseman, while Tsouhnikas plays goalkeeper for the Golden Falcons' men's soccer squad.
The Leadership Forum is one of the largest non-competitive gatherings of NCAA student-athletes representing their colleges and universities. The forum was designed for student-athletes to discuss key issues collectively and provide them with an opportunity to enhance personal awareness and leadership skills needed to positively impact their development at the campus and conference levels, as well as beyond the collegiate realm.
"The NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum is another type of educational setting that helps our student-athletes develop into more effective leaders and gets their thought process in motion which can help them on campus and even after they graduate," said Curtis J. Hollomon, NCAA director of leadership development. "It also allows them to communicate more on key topics of interest to them and to share best practices, while getting to know one another aside from competition. They then take ideas back to their Student-Athlete Advisory Committees and the results end up helping a wider range of student-athletes."
Throughout the Leadership Forum, representatives from NCAA member schools will lead small group discussions about a variety of topics such as: behavioral styles, branding, social media, decision-making, emotional intelligence and values. This will help the student-athletes become more effective leaders and motivators when they return to their campuses.
In order to best facilitate these discussions, the 39 school representatives attended a four-day training session at the NCAA national office in Indianapolis in September to learn curriculum that will be implemented during these sessions. These selected facilitators represent NCAA Division I, Division II, and Division III colleges and universities, athletic conference offices and the NCAA national office.
The student-athletes will also hear from several speakers including Chris Herren, former NBA player and founder of Hoop Dreams with Chris Herren and The Herren Project, about decision-making. They will also hear from Rayna DuBose, a former basketball student-athlete about facing adversity. Additionally, participants will hear from keynote speaker Sam Davidson, president and co-founder of Cool People Care, about leadership lessons that he learned at a young age.
To gain a better understanding of the NCAA association-wide and division-specific structures and committees, participants will also learn from peer representatives on the NCAA National Student-Athlete Advisory Committees as well as NCAA governance staff. During these sessions, participants will learn about the NCAA legislative process and discuss current hot topics.
To compliment these sessions, a panel discussion will address global leadership and how student-athletes transition from a leader on campus and into the world. Panelists include Bridget Belgiovine, director of athletics and chair of physical education, recreation and athletics at Wellesley College; Clyde Doughty Jr., director of intercollegiate athletics and recreation at the New York Institute of Technology; and Amy Huchthausen, America East conference commissioner.
Participants will also complete team-building activities in order to collect supplies for a service project to benefit Providence's St. Mary's Home for Children.