I’ve been a little tardy at writing more about my experience with Athena Next Gen. But luckily, they have extended the deadline to April 8th to apply for their next class, so you’re okay. A few weeks ago, I attended their breakfast where they had two past Athena class members and Annetta Wilson, who was one of the guest speakers for my class, as panelists to discuss the benefits of being involved with Athena.
One of the questions that was asked by the head of the Athena Next Gen program, was, “which pillars of leadership class spoke to you most?” The panelists answered and then she asked those of us from the class who were attendance. This is how I answered.
(Refresher – here are the 8 pillars I had to pick from:
- Live Authentically
- Build Relationships
- Give Back
- Foster Collaboration
- Act Courageously
- Learn Constantly
- Advocate Fiercely
For me, build relationships, learn constantly, and advocate fiercely are the three sessions that I got a lot out of.
With building relationships, the session make me appreciate why I was in Athena Next Gen and why I am in all of the other activities I’m in where I can help impact others’ lives and my own through befriending and building connections with others. After finishing Athena, I find that I’m building better relationships with those that were in my class now more than when we were in the class. It is the effort to grow and sustain friendships that makes life fun and rewarding.
I’ve always valued learning constantly (have you seen my tattoo? Kidding, not kidding). And this talk solidified my desire to continue on my path of attending conferences, reading books, and teaching others so I learn more myself.
Annetta’s talk was on advocating fiercely. But it focused more on advocating for oneself, because, frankly, who else will? Her talk was about identifying what is important to you and encouraging you to support yourself in connecting to those things without apology and with confidence. She expressed the importance of learning to say “no,” and how to say it politely, but firmly. It was refreshing to hear as I was beginning to re-frame my priorities in my life (you know, husband and all – I’d kind of like to spend more time with him since I like him so much) that I could say that I couldn’t obligate myself to certain situations and be comfortable with it.
So if you are a woman, and you live in Orlando, think about taking the two hours once a month starting in May to learn a little about yourself, a little about some others, and a lot about your community and your potential future, by applying for the Athena Next Gen class. You can learn more about the program by clicking here.