NJCAA Leadership Institute - An opportunity for growth

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Richmond, VA – The NJCAA hosted its first-ever Leadership Institute Monday, April 1-Tuesday, April 2 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Richmond – Midlothian. A two-day professional development event, the Leadership Institute welcomed over 100 coaches, administrators, and staff from various member institutions from around the country.

With over 20 breakout sessions throughout the event, attendees engaged with presenters in categories ranging from compliance, facilities, marketing, professional development, and various other opportunities. Along with presentations from the NJCAA national office staff andregional leaders from around the association, presenters included Jim Abbott, Oklahoma City University Athletic Director, Jake Hirshman, author of 20 Secrets to Success for Student-Athletes Who Won't Go Pro, and Tom Hess, The Playbook Lab Founder & CEO.

"It was an amazing experience from a perspective of what college athletics is all about," stated guest speaker Jake Hirshman, 20 Secrets to Success for Student-Athletes Who Won't Go Pro. "The NJCAA really represents providing opportunities for student-athletes from around the country. It was really neat to learn about the association and the people involved with the Leadership Institute are all just as ambitious - eager to learn, eager to improve the student-athlete experience."

"I think from a turnout perspective – the engagement was extremely high," Hirshman added. The people were locked in and focused and really enjoyed it and were graciously kind enough to give feedback."

The opening day of the Leadership Institute was capped by the keynote address delivered by XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck. Throughout the address, Luck touched on the importance of college athletics and the opportunities created for student-athletes.

"Think about all the passion in college athletics – that passion is so powerful as a support for higher education in this country," Luck noted in his keynote address.

Also in attendance at the Keynote Address was the VCU Sport Leadership graduate program. The group of 27 students took part in group discussions and engaged with the membership during the Keynote Address.

Various NJCAA official partners and sponsors showcased their organizations at the NJCAA Exhibit Hall. Sean Connors, CEO of eTeamSponsor, the Official Fundraising Partner of the association, served as both a guest speaker and exhibit hall sponsor throughout the Leadership Institute. "I think leadership is a core value at eTeamSponsor and anytime there's a leadership opportunity, we jump at the chance," Connors stated. "Understanding Dr. (Christopher) Parker's vision as to why leadership is important and having us as a part of that, we're honored, and what a great way to continue to help grow the association."

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