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An ILA Student Experience

Written by John Hinck, 2nd year PhD Student, Leadership Studies

One of the goals of the 2015 ILA Conference in Barcelona was for participants to lead across and beyond borders in both physical and conceptual ways. For me, navigating the conference in a foreign land, extending my knowledge of leadership and values, expanding my academic connections, and building relationships with the greater USD family were incredible outcomes.

The experiences of being in Spain and attending an international conference were challenging and rewarding. Learning the language and rituals of a country along with the dialogue and traditions of the ILA extended my personal borders. The relaxed pace of meals and movement in Barcelona seemed to contrast with the busy, packed schedule of the conference. Moving beyond the boundaries of the conference were incredible sights like the La Sagrada Familia – a monument representing generations of the people and by the people.


The four days of presentations and discussions enriched my understanding of the theory and practice of leadership. In general, I exchanged new and emerging ideas about leadership scholarship, development, and education with scholars from US and foreign institutions. In particular, the four sessions on leadership training with values, engaging leadership through values, exploring leadership in doctoral education, and advances in emotionally intelligent leadership (chaired by Dr. Getz) stood out the most. I received worthwhile feedback on my own paper “The Value of People” presented during a roundtable format.


From the beginning to the end of the conference, the networking opportunities seemed never ending. To name only a few – seeing our own undergraduate team led by Tara Edberg; attending the USD book award presentation to Ira Chaleff; participating in the Youth Leadership Networking Dinner; being a part of exclusive discussions with scholarly giants like Ira Chaleff, Georgia Sorenson, and Gill Hickman; and the many impromptu conversations outside the meeting rooms and conference halls – all building on the conference theme.


Perhaps the most rewarding experience was connecting with the greater USD family – fellow students, professors, and alumni. The friendships and laughter over food and walks between hotels and the conference center seemed to extend the USD borders and enrich relationships. The USD family has had a global impact -- the USD reputation is extraordinary among scholars and practitioners! As a student and future alum of USD, I am thankful for the opportunity to experience leading across borders and generations and look forward to ILA 2016 in Atlanta!

Other articles about SOLES at ILA 2015

Outstanding Leadership Book Award Presented to Ira Chaleff

ILA Reflections from a Leadership Studies Masters Student

ILA Reflections from an Undergraduate Student