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Leadership seminar 2019

BY Amy Schambril with contribution by Lisakhanya Daniels and Romeesa Mohammed

“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” – Jack Welch. This quote best describes the wise words from the guest speaker for the 2019 leadership seminar, Mrs Swanepoel.
Eager young minds all joined in the school's hall to empower themselves with knowledge of leadership in order to take over the committees from next week at the annual Club Induction Party. The learners were asked to get into groups of ten and write ten things they all had in common. This ice breaker tested their ability to work in a team and to think quickly and creatively.
Riebeek Old Girl and past teacher, Mrs Swanepoel was the guest speaker for the seminar. Her speech was very relatable, informative and encouraging. Mrs Swanepoel touched on how birds fly in the "V" formation in order to maximize strength and quickness of their fight. She also mentioned how there are times when the bird, or in our case the leader, becomes tired and will have to swap out with the one right at the back who is more energized and ready to take on the task. Very importantly Mrs Swanepoel mentioned that one person's success is not your failure. Rather build each other up than tear each other down. The crowd really loved Mrs Swanepoel's bubbly nature.
Casey Els, Monique Balie, Malakhiwe Hoffman and Amy Schambril all spoke about their experience in leadership positions. Casey spoke about how asking for help is not a weakness but rather a strength and how asking for help molded her into the leader she is. Monique spoke about always expecting the unexpected and how being prepared enough is not enough and that having a back up plan for your back up plan is always essential. Have a goal, envision yourself reaching that goal and surround yourself with people who have the same mindset as you was what Malakhiwe spoke about. Last Amy spoke about the importance of learning from the people you lead as not everyone is born being good at everything therefore if someone is stronger in a skill than you are, ask them to advise and teach you.
The learners then watched a video that spoke about the importance of saying thank you to people who impacted your life positively. The audience was then allowed time to ask the Cultural Board Matrics questions that they could get their view on. One learner asked what has been the most important lesson being a leader and being in matric has taught them, which Gabrielle Ownhouse replied, saying that you should always be yourself and never force yourself into being something just because you are told to be that. Learners also learnt from the matrics to be assertive rather than aggressive and passive, to have a support system and to accept that there will be failure but it doesn't have to define you
Thank you to student teachers and interns for helping out. Thank you to Mr Reynolds and his team for getting the hall set up. A very big thank you to Mrs Gerber for all the work she and the Cultural Board Executive put in to making the day a success. We are hugely thankful to Mrs Swanepoel for joining us and inspiring us!
Lisakhanya Daniels added:
The 2019 leadership seminar that took place in Riebeek College Girls' High School was very helpful in preparing and educating young leaders for tomorrow.
The event kicked off with Mrs Swanepoel informing the young girls about what it means to be a leader. Throughout her speech, she emphasised that being a leader does not mean the people you are leading serve you but rather you serve them. She also emphasised that in order to be a great leader - you must a great impact in people's lives. She stated that, "Relationships are the greatest foundation of all important things" she later quoted "People do not care what you know but want to know if you care." From attending the 2019 leadership seminar we [the attendees] learned that being a leader does not mean being the loudest in the room but rather entails making collective decisions with your team and serving others. We also learned that someone else's success is not our failure; that life is not a competition and we learned that good leaders build each other up. Mrs Swanepoel said, "A good leader knows praising someone does not take away from them."
After Mrs Swanepoel very informative speech we watched a Ted Talk. The Ted Talk taught us that you do not have to change the world in order to be a leader. It taught us that leadership can the impact you have on people's lives with money. It displayed to us that "Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, it is that we are powerful beyond our measures."
We then closed off with a Q and A from the floor to our [Riebeek's] very knowledgeable matrics. The shared with us the life lessons they gained from their high school experience. They taught us the significance of a balance in one's lifestyle. They taught us ways to effectively deal with hard situations and the importance of knowing where you want to be in life. They encouraged us to never undermine ourselves and to grab our opportunities as they come. Mrs Gerber said, "You can do anything if you put your mind to it."

Romeesa Mohammed added: “A good leader and a great leader are both lead by another leader,” said Mrs Swanepoel during her speech. This year’s Leadership Seminar was smoothly led by Amy Schambril and the Cultural Board executives with Mrs Swanepoel as the guest speaker.
 
The seminar started off with a fun ice breaker lead by Casey Els. All learners attending the event had to get into groups of ten members. They then had to come up with ten things that they all had in common.
 
Next, Mrs Swanepoel spoke about leadership and what makes a great leader. She taught us that a leader should know how to take charge but also know when to step back by comparing this to the birds' v-formation of flying. She also reminded us that a title does not make you a leader but how you treat others in your team.
 
All the leaders-in-training then eagerly listened to some of the matrics' experience of being a leader and what they learnt. Casey Els taught us that you should build a support system for yourself and you should never be afraid to ask for help. Monique Balie told us that being prepared and having a backup plan can make all the difference. Malakhiwe Hoffman instilled in us that your past or bad circumstances should not define you. She taught us that you should  have a vision and become a hard worker to be able to achieve that vision. Amy Schambril taught us the skills we need to be able to become a good leader such as prioritising, delegating, influencing others and being organised. She also helped us realise that even the most disorganised of us can become organised.
 
Finally, the attendees all got to ask the matrices and Mrs Gerber questions about leadership. When asked how to not let the pressure get to you- Mrs Gerber gave some useful and helpful tips such as to have some work done in advance and to keep all your work organised so that it is easy to find later on. Lisa Daniels asked what they [the matrics] their roles of being a leader. Amila Thys replied that you must never undermine yourself. What you say matters so never be afraid to speak up.
 
When asked what Casey Els liked about this year’s Leadership Seminar, she said, “I loved that the matrics were given a platform to share their experiences and advice with the lower grades.” Everyone definitely learnt valuable lessons. Lisa Daniels said, “ I learnt that leadership is based on the impact you have on other people’s lives.” Overall, the event was enlightening and amazing, thank you to all those who had a hand in making this event a great success.

 July 14, 2019
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