My American Experience – part 5: Lessons learned

My trip to the US lasted for 5 days and what a memorable experience it turned out to be. After the first day I felt greatly at ease and relaxed amongst the new colleagues I’d met. The next four days that followed were filled with carefully selected education sessions such as a session on “a starter kit for the new school business official” and a “young professionals focus group”. I attended sessions on integrating curriculum and finance, sustainability, excel hints and tips and overcoming adversity. The dedicated conference app made it so easy for me to plan my participation each day so I always knew what lay ahead. As well as education sessions I attended a number of social events hosted by various state associations, another brilliant way to gain insight into how things are done differently in the US in comparison with the U.K.

Although many delegates left first thing on Monday morning I had deliberately booked an evening flight home so that I could stay for the final feedback sessions. I attended those sessions as a changed person. I’d gone to the conference very much an introvert who would attend events and silently soak in the learning. At this wrap up session I was surprised to find myself taking the microphone and feeding back to a room full of people about my experiences, my learning and even suggestions for future conferences. My biggest lesson learned from this experience is how to use my voice. How to build on my learning experiences by communicating more.

I’ve recently received emails inviting ASBO Intl members to submit proposals for education sessions for the 2020 conference. They ask for sessions ranging from webinars to mini-modules to full education sessions. I’m not quite there yet but maybe one day I could be. There’s no reason why I couldn’t stand in front of a room delivering some content. The only thing holding me back right now is a bundle of nerves but at least it isn’t self doubt anymore.

Applying for and successfully being awarded an Emerging Leaders Scholarship has done wonders for my confidence but most of all it’s made determined to live up to the award and strive to be a leader. It won’t happen overnight but I’m on the path to get there.

As for the conference, I’m eagerly looking forward to attending as many more of them that I can afford in future years. Will you join me? Leave me a comment to let me know!

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