Cancer survivor speaks at SLC

The 7th annual Southeastern Leadership Conference (SLC) started off with a torch ceremony to match their Olympic theme of “Ready, Set, Lead” on March 3, 2012.

The SLC began with registration and breakfast at 8 a.m., leading into the keynote speaker of the conference.  Chad Crittenden, a former contestant on Survivor, is a cancer survivor who was disabled after battling synovial sarcoma, a rare cancer of the soft tissue. For the keynote, he spoke about his experience on Survivor, being disabled and living through the process of fighting cancer.

“Going back and thinking about that decision to send in the tape, thinking about what was going on through my mind, I had time to reflect on it and qualify what was going on in my mind,” said Crittenden. “It really comes down to this idea of circumstances and this idea is kind of an abstract notion, thinking that, I was dealt this group of circumstances, having synovial sarcoma and deciding to have surgery, and taking these circumstances and molding them to my liking. I wasn’t going to let these circumstances get me down. I was going to change them.”

He went on to say that it is a person’s responsibility to mold their lives on these circumstances and to take small risks to help move you forward in life, whether its within a profession or through gaining leadership.

“Whatever comes your way, whether it’s a group of adverse circumstances like I had or something that’s an obstacle, it’s up to you,” said Crittenden. “You can’t control the circumstances, but you can control what you do.”

After the keynote speaker, the first of three sessions began.  Multiple presentations were held during each session, with a lunch break in between the first and second sessions.  Session topics ranged from leadership to personal branding.

“I really liked this session,” said Kaitland Brannon from Xavier University. “It helped me plan certain things that I would like to do next semester. Now that I have them written down, I can actually see them and approach them in the correct manner.”

She also commented on the keynote speaker, referencing the challenges that he has had to endure in his life.

“It put things in perspective for me, because he was doing things that I can’t even do, and I’m a full bodied, able person,” said Brannon. “To see that even he can persevere, the little things that hold me back, I can just let it go.”

For more information, visit the Office of Student Development section on Southeastern’s website.