GW softball standout Victoria Valos was just a sophomore when her coaches selected her as a team captain for last spring's 2013 season.
Earlier this month, Valos, once again a team captain as a junior, was invited to attend the NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum, which brings together more than 350 student-athletes who were identified as leaders on their campuses along with 125 athletics professionals from the Northeast region.
"Tori is an extremely motivated leader in the athletics department and a quintessential Colonial to represent GW at the NCAA Leadership Forum," said GW LifeSkills coordinator Ted Costigan, who selected Valos to attend the seminar.
The Leadership Forum, which took place Nov. 7-10 in Providence, R.I., is one of the largest non-competitive gatherings of NCAA student-athletes representing their colleges and universities. The forum was designed for student-athletes to discuss key issues collectively and provide them with an opportunity to enhance personal awareness and leadership skills needed to positively impact their development at the campus and conference levels, as well as beyond the collegiate realm.
At the Leadership Forum, Valos took part in small group discussions about a variety of topics designed to help the student-athletes become more effective leaders and motivators, including behavioral styles, branding, social media, decision-making, emotional intelligence and values. Valos and her fellow student-athletes also heard from several speakers, including Chris Herren, former NBA player and founder of Hoops Dreams with Chris Herren and The Herren Project, about decision-making; Rayna DuBose, a former basketball student-athlete, about facing adversity; and Sam Davidson, president and co-founder of Cool People Care, about leadership lessons that he learned at a young age.
"The most important thing I learned was understanding what type of leader I am and that there are other types of leaders out there," said Valos. "Just being able to recognize my own personal strengths and weaknesses and be the best captain I can be for my team. I'm not going to be afraid anymore to ask people their opinions of whether I'm doing something wrong or right. Now that I know what my strengths and weaknesses are, I want to turn my weaknesses into strengths and my strengths into habits."
"Tori is a fantastic representative for the softball team," said GW softball head coach Stacey Schramm. "As a freshman, she was instantly a leader because of her work ethic and competitiveness that she brought to the field each day - she plays the game the way it should be played. as she has matured, she has taken on the responsibility of making sure her teammates bring the same level of commitment to the team as she does. She has high standards and expectations of herself and her teammates and empowers them to reach them."