Every year Mays Business School nominates five students to attend the Wakonse Undergraduate Leadership Conference in Shelby, Mich. Surrounded by the natural beauty of Lake Michigan and the leadership of students from across the country, participants become Wakonse Fellows – people committed to supporting, promoting, and sharing the excitement and satisfaction of teaching.

The students spent a week enhancing their self-knowledge, leadership, and learning skills to bring back to their organizations at Mays.

Here are some reflections from a student who attended the conference.

“Going to Wakonse, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew that it was supposed to be a sort of leadership camp or conference. Once I was there, I still could not completely figure out what it was supposed to be or what we were supposed to learn — until it all finally clicked.

Wakonse encompassed so many things, topics, ideas, strategies, people — that in the end, despite how different each other’s backgrounds were, everyone got out of it exactly what they needed. This is just one insight I had on a list of eight things that I got out of seven days and six nights at Wakonse:

I learned that being vulnerable brings the best out of you and by consequence the best out of others. When you are open, willing to try new stuff, putting yourself out there, showing who you really are, that translates to others. Having a mindset where you assume that people want to do good work and are competent, that people can learn and grow and that people have incredible contributions that they can make, will allow you to let people into your life. If you are open with them they will help you become a better person, they will see that you are not afraid and therefore unconsciously they will mimic that behavior. They will feel inspired by you to take their walls down and let others in, they will allow themselves to grow by being vulnerable. Talking about vulnerability and being your genuine self will take you far. When you are the same person at all times, meaning around your parents, friends, and colleagues, when you conserve your essence and you are not afraid to be judged because of who you are, your personality will bring greatness to the table. It is admirable because it is hard to do, and again, it transmits the best of you to others and by consequence brings the best out of them.”

–   Sam Lopez ’20