Connecting with Confidence at the Light Foundation’s Leadership Conference
June 16, 2022

The connection was real at our annual Leadership Conference that took place on May 26th at Bridgewater State University! For the first time in two years, more than one hundred high school students, freshman to seniors, convened for a day loaded with keynote speakers, along with several breakout sessions and a group activity.

The room was filled with students from Brockton, Canton, Taunton and Scituate High School! They were eager to learn
more about the event topic: “Connecting with Confidence – Putting Your Best Self Forward.” The theme led us on a path to guiding young people in their journey to becoming stronger leaders by cultivating their own well-being, supporting the wellness of their peers, and moving forward with confidence in connecting with others.

The day began with our favorite go to breakfast–Dunkin’ Donuts, whose franchise owner, Neal Faulker, also served as a conference sponsor. Students were quite pleased with the assortment of baked goods and the adults certainly appreciated the coffee! To top off the busy morning, we geared them up with BSU and Light Foundation swag that would help them through their leadership journey.

After the cow bells rang–the real fun started! Two of our externs, Avery and Andrew, had the honor of welcoming everyone by sharing their experience at the Light Foundation, announcing the timeline, and introducing our co-founder, Matt Light.

As stated, it was a day filled with dynamic keynote speakers. Here’s a run-down of the lineup and what they spoke about on leadership:

Jackie Bruno – a three-time Emmy Award-winning features reporter and anchor at NBC10 Boston and NECN. She’s interviewed countless celebrities, like Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and many of the casts of your favorite NBC shows. Her red-carpet coverage has taken her from special previews in Boston to the Golden Globes in Los Angeles. She has also been on The Kelly Clarkson Show, Say Yes to the Dress, and MTV’s Made.

Jackie’s presentation titled “Finding Your Confidence Through Finding Your Passion” encouraged students to find their passion and use their courage to pursue what they really want to do in life, never listening to those that say you can’t!

Antoine Allen – an American rapper and entrepreneur, born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. Coming out of high school, Antoine attended the University of Miami to play basketball before finishing his junior and senior years at the University of South Alabama. After college, he began playing professionally overseas for European leagues. Still, he dreamed of a musical career. When off the court, Antoine would record different songs. Eventually, his basketball journey ended, and he moved to Los Angeles to promote “love, light, positive vibes, and good faith” through his art.

Antoine’s presentation titled “Keep it Going- No Days Off” proved his drive for missions and commitment to working with diverse populations is bringing people and organizations together. His positivity sent the students off with the belief that they could do whatever they set their minds to, yet they must work hard, stay committed and never give up.

In between both of our lively keynote speakers, we took a brief break for networking, refreshments, and sharing thoughts on our leader boards – “Networking 101”, “Quotes or Compliments” and “Highs and Lows”. We also enjoyed lunch and a fun game of “Would You Rather?” in the Bear’s Den, college campus style!

The aspiring young leaders also took part in a group activity – “Fact or Cap?” It allowed students to create a social media platform to decide what is “fact” and what is “cap” (a lie). The aim was to realize the difference between fake versus real people and how you want to portray yourself.

The day also included three breakout sessions–“Your Legacy” by Matt Light, Co-Founder of the Light Foundation, “The Wellness of Good Leadership” by Dr. Christopher Frazer, Director of Wellness at Bridgewater State University, and “TB12 Method & Application” by TB12 staff, James Costello, Kevin Richard and Lisa Borges.

The breakout sessions encouraged the young people to think about their leadership style, the impact they want to leave on others, and how to lead with empathy. TB12 taught specific stretching, foam roller exercises, and nutritional information that will help attendees maintain focus and perform better, not only as athletes, but also in every day life.

Team Light had a fantastic time pulling together the curriculum and all aspects of the conference with the insightful help of our high school externs: Avery Piantedosi, Andrew Valkanas, and Jack Haynes. They were instrumental in designing relevant workshops, the group activity and the general session so high school students could relate easily and have a great experience. They handled much of the administrative needs, such as designing name tags, ordering merchandise, creating the music playlist, and so much more. It took a lot of initiative, but they used their creativity and performed with excellence!

We owe a great deal of thanks to our partners! Bridgewater State University was a dream to work with and we can’t wait to collaborate with them again next year! Our Corporate Partner, Haynes Group, is always stepping up to help us teach the future generation of leaders. Once again, they provided us with the best of the best volunteers and sponsored this event! A round of applause goes to Gravoc, another one of our conference sponsors and go-to marketing partner, for creating dynamic videos and capturing the essence of the conference.

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