James Robilotta headlines U-Lead Conference at MNSU

This year’s 8th annual U-Lead Conference at Minnesota State University, Mankato featured James Robilotta, a professional speaker whose goal for the night was making personal, professional and leadership development skills available for all students in attendance. 

Robilotta introduced the audience to the importance of leading imperfectly. He said the value of leaders being authentic makes all the difference. 

His main points for the night involved authentic leadership.

“We as humans can’t learn things from people that are perfect, we can only learn things from people that are imperfect,” he said. “So, how do we lead through our slip ups, our struggles, our own stories?” 

People need to own who they are before they can be real with other people, he said. Later in this session, Robilotta had people work on their teamwork and communication skills. 

In his words “Everyone here deserves to feel seen, heard and respected.” 

When talking one on one, Robilotta addressed students struggling with self confidence.

“I think we need to be very careful on who we let write our story,” he said. “You need to know that you are the one that holds the pen to write your story to your own life. But, oftentimes and especially for someone who struggles with self confidence issues, they can tend to let other people write their story for them. They let other people tell them what they should do or could do. Seeing what other people look like and thinking that’s what I should look like.”

Robilotta finished up his speech talking about how to help fix this problem, whether it be for ourselves or for other people.

“I think we need to catch ourselves and others when we see each other spiral, and put ourselves into shame holes,” he said. “We need to give ourselves advice that we often give to others, which is that they are deserving. That they are deserving of love, and respect, and time, and grace. What would happen if we started saying that to ourselves?”

Clare Kasten, a senior studying RPLS resource management, said she attended having high hopes for the conference. 

“I watched a video of him speaking before, so I was very excited to listen to him. He’s very engaging and he’s got lots of good ideas and good things to say,” Casten stated.  

Anna Thevenot, a senior studying mass media, said, “I’ve seen his wife speak on multiple occasions within the last four years and I think she is amazing. She always talks about him, so of course, loving her work, I wanted to see him speak as well. If he were to come back I would 100% come back without a doubt. I got more out of this hour than I have all year.” 

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