CLEVELAND – Junior Kasheem Thomas represented Cleveland State University, and the Horizon League, at the 2018-19 NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum April 11-14 in Orlando, Fla.
Thomas, a member of the Vikings men's basketball team, was one of two Horizon League student-athletes to attend the leadership forum.
"We did a lot of self-reflecting," said Thomas. "One of my biggest takeaways from the weekend was that self-reflection is so important for growth and that you can't lead others if you aren't self-aware."
The NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum engages a diverse and dynamic representation of student-athletes, coaches, faculty and administrations. Student-athletes selected to attend the forum return to campus with invaluable leadership skills, the experience of exploring the relationship between personal values, core beliefs and behavioral styles.
"I learned about my strengths and what my core values are and what I stand for, and to use those strengths and values to my advantage because you are going to need those leadership qualities throughout your life," Thomas said.
The Leadership Forum, created in 1997, has been a life-changing experience for more than 5,000 student-athletes, many who have grown personally and professionally, gained a new network of peers and friends, as well as felt the rewards and importance of community service.
"It completely changed my perspective on leadership because people think that leading is easy. In fact, it's very hard to lead because you have to know yourself before you can lead others. I also learned that in order to be a leader you also have to be willing to follow.
"I recommend the leadership forum for anyone that is willing to take on the challenge and really grow as a person. Before I went to the forum I thought I knew everything about leadership, so I was able to humble myself and learn quite a few things that I did not know previously."
Student-athletes were placed into 10 groups of 30 and Thomas was able to interact, and learn from, student-athletes from a wide range of Division I, Division II and Division III institutions.