Fairfield’s women’s basketball player Kristine Miller ‘17 was recently invited to a National Collegiate Athletic Association Leadership Forum in Phoenix, Arizona. The forum was held from April 8 to 11, which included different student-athletes, ranging from Division I-III.The Leadership Forum was created in 1997, aiming to recognize student-athletes’ leadership abilities on and off the playing field. Student-athletes were selected to attend the event by their various conference offices.The attendees did partake in different activities across the three days that they were together. I recently sat down with the forward from Egg Harbor City, N.J. and asked her some questions about being invited and the event itself.

CL: How did you feel about being selected to attend this leadership forum?

KM: “I felt honored because it was a really small percentage of people. There are like 400,000 Division I, II and III athletes and of those 400,000 only 325 were selected to attend this event. I felt pretty honored that people thought enough of me as a leader to nominate me.”

CL: What did you do while you were at the forum?

KM: “It was a lot of break down sessions and group discussions about leadership, different ways to lead and how we can lead in our athletic roles and on campus. We listened to a lot of really cool speakers that had a lot to say about being an influence on people and influencing our team and school. It was a lot of break down discussions, mostly, and a lot of team building activities to get to know each other and learn from each other.”

CL: Of the speakers that talked, which one did you enjoy the most and why?

KM: “I think it had to be a tie between LaChina Robinson and Justin Patton. [Robinson] was a former NCAA Division I basketball player and is now a broadcast journalist. She talked a lot about our social media footprint and how to deal with social media and people not saying good things about you. [Patton], who is a motivational speaker, really made us think about our vision and purpose in life. We did an activity with that and it was really cool and eye opening. It made a lot of us think about what we really want to do and not necessarily what other people want us to do.”

CL: What did you learn from attending the forum?

KM: “I learned that there is not one way to lead. Everyone can be leaders in their own way. Just because you’re the best player on the team doesn’t mean you’re necessarily a leader. A leader can come from anywhere and there are so many different characteristics that make a leader. Not everyone has all those characteristics and people lead in different ways, so it was kind of cool to see that there are so many different ways you can influence the people around you.”

CL: After attending the forum, how has it changed your mindset going into next year as a senior?

KM: “It has really changed my mindset. It really is eye opening, as I keep saying, and I really want to talk to my team about it and how different teams have different philosophies to help them succeed and be successful. I really want to share this with our team and our coaching staff, even my friends. It was really cool and I’m really excited to put a lot of what I’ve learned into action going into senior year and making it the best that I can.”

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