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Follow the leaders: Ian Good, DePauw wide receiver

A college athlete reflects on what he learned at the NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum

By Ian Good as told to Lauren MaNamara

DePauw senior Ian Good catches a first-quarter touchdown pass against Oberlin College on Nov. 7. In April, Good was selected to attend the 2015 NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum in Orlando, Florida with more than 300 fellow college athletes. (DEPAUW ATHLETICS COMMUNICATIONS PHOTO)

Ian Good plays wide receiver on the football team at Division III DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. A native of Brownsburg, Indiana, he is a communications major; an intern in the athletics department (also interned at Butler); and president of the DePauw Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. Last year, Good was selected to participate in the NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum after being nominated by DePauw football coach Bill Lynch.

Opportunities like this don’t present themselves very often. I knew that the things that I would take away from the forum would be more beneficial than anything else I could be doing at the time. My career as an athlete is coming to an end, and I could not pass up this chance to come together with 300 other athletes and elevate our leadership abilities.

I have been to other leadership convocations, I imagined that it would be similar. All of my expectations were blown out of the water. Going to the NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum helped to put everything that I do into perspective. A lot of things that I was doing were definitely beneficial, but I was and still am capable of so much more.

Ian Good, DePauw University. (DEPAUW ATHLETICS COMMUNICATIONS PHOTO)

Leadership is about developing and maintaining relationships. It is not about how skilled or athletic you are. People are what matters, and the better I can connect to my teammates and colleagues, the more influential I am going to be able to be. Effective communication and active listening are important aspect to great leadership, and I tried to improve in these categories after attending the forum. Communicating clearly while standing behind everything that I say, and being able to clearly listen to others and take what they have to say into serious consideration is also essential. Often, we take for granted the conversations we have, and do not put any meaning into what we are saying or hearing.

My favorite thing about this weekend was the opportunity to meet so many different people. I became close with a select few, but I had great conversations with so many different people. I was able to talk to administrators and facilitators about the ins and outs of the sports business. Being someone that is perusing a career in sports, I truly took a lot away from my conversations I had with all of these people. I networked professionally and socially, and it all came back to the fact that we were all collegiate athletes and leaders back on our campuses.

My advice to other student-athletes: if you are selected for this opportunity, get out of your comfort zone and do not take a single moment for granted. You will meet some amazing people, and have an opportunity to truly put yourself out there. You will take something away no matter what; do not hold back.

It is unbelievable to see 300 athletes from completely different backgrounds come together with the purpose of developing their personal leadership skills. This experience definitely taught me that diversity is an incredible thing. I am a Division III football player from Indiana, and I made best friends with a Division I soccer player at Seton Hall who is originally from Germany, a Division II soccer player for Cal State originally from Australia, and a Division III soccer player for Transylvania University in Kentucky. Although we are of different cultural backgrounds and from very different places, it cannot disrupt the overall goal of bettering ourselves and bettering each other to become better leaders.

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Previous participants of the Emerging Leaders Seminar talk about how the program developed their careers in college sports.