The sixth annual student leadership and mentoring conference hosted by Student Leadership and Success Studies was held Feb. 3.

The event was a six-hour long affair from 8 a.m. to an early close around 2 p.m. The event cost around  $10 and included breakfast, lunch and priceless wisdom from students in various stages of their studies.

This year, the theme was “every leader has a story” with students Meghan Flinders-Peay, Raechel Cox, Nathan Winterton, Tyson Hillock, and Olivia Atkinsons sharing their stories for the opening keynote. Their speeches recounted difficult moments in their’ lives and showcased how they’ve been able to overcome difficult trials and how those trials changed their outlook on life for the better.

“Everyone can benefit from learning how to be a leader,” said sophomore math major Laren Balls.

And benefit they did as all featured students had powerful messages. From accepting and loving oneself from an LGBTQ perspective by Nathan Winterton, to taking back our lives despite our shortcomings by Megan Flinders-Peay, each speaker recounted their struggles and how to overcome them. Tyson Hillcock even spoke on learning how to love someone deeply by listening to understand instead of listening to reply.

“I thought his [Nathan W.] message was so personal, and I loved how he was able to relate his experience to the audience,” said junior biology major Britt Stokes.

After the keynote speakers, event goers had the opportunity to decide which of the three rooms they were going to choose to listen to more students share their stories. After each speaker, a raffle ticket was given to each attendee if they filled out a survey critiquing each speaker, which was then used as a raffle ticket for multiple prizes ranging from a Nintendo Switch or UVU swag bag, to a TV projector at centre stage which doubled as the eating area for lunch.

After lunch, Kyle A. Reyes, VP of Student Affairs, gave a powerful talk as he recounted how a single act of kindness and validation from his 10th grade teacher put him on a path to excellence that led him to  where he is currently.

“Every leader has a story and every story has the potential to influence people,” said senior of aviation studies and speaker at the SLAM conference Powell Dubois.