Junior Lilly Avrigian Attends US Naval Academy Leadership Conference

Lilly Avrigian, a Business and Enterprise Management major and WFU Field Hockey player, attended the 2024 US Naval Academy Leadership Conference.  The theme of the conference, Learning to Lead: The Lifelong Pursuit of Excellence, was explored through many inspiring discussions with highly-esteemed panelists.  “The overall experience was truly inspiring.  The theme of the conference, to me, meant fulfilling a life of honor and doing what you love.  To be the person to start the ripple effect to those around you.”

Learning about the power of diversity on a team was a key takeaway for Lilly from Admiral James Winnefeld’s presentation on The Five Anchors of Leadership. “Once you recognize the unique characteristics that each member brings to your team, you will build a solid foundation and truly inspire the team to work together.”  Another highlight was hearing Vice Admiral Collin Green discuss leadership as mentorship. “Mentorship is not just directing orders, it’s giving members of your team a culture and a vision, and guiding them through each step of the way. He emphasized the importance of investing in your people, in their lives and their families.” 

The conference delivered a number of powerful messages that resonated with Lilly.  “I learned that pressure, the pressure of being responsible for people, is a privilege, it means you are trusted.” Hearing the stories of the men and women who sacrifice so much to serve our country changed her outlook on life.  She learned that asking for help in finding your purpose is a sign of strength.  “We also talked a lot about the importance of listening to others.  Once you really understand those around you, it builds a connection and a certain level of trust. Trust is the cornerstone of all success.”

Among her fondest experiences came at the end of Vice Admiral Collin Green’s keynote address when he acknowledged the freedoms we enjoy in the United States: free people, free enterprise, free minds. “He told us to go forth and earn our star in that American flag, to be the person you want to be because you truly control your own destiny. I thought that was a really special message.”