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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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MSC Abbott holds annual leadership conference

The MSC Abbott Family Leadership Conference celebrated its 20th anniversary this weekend in Houston. Each year, approximately 70 students are chosen to attend the conference, spending the weekend listening to various speakers and engaging in dialogue with fellow attendees about their respective experiences.
MSC Abbott intends to provide student participants with discussion on the nature of leadership within their families, communities and future business endeavors.
Animal science sophomore and Junior Yell Leader-elect Will Alders said Frank and Joanie Abbott started the conference after noticing a lack of avenues for discussing leadership skills and family values within Texas A&M.
“They started talking about creating a leadership conference where delegates could learn a lot about leadership as well as get a lot of time hearing about family values and what the importance of family means,” Alders said.
Alders said hearing the Abbott’s story inspired him and has given him a lot to work on in preparation for his position as Junior Yell Leader.
“I saw how the Abbott’s take leadership and stress the importance of being a leader — a humble leader committed to having integrity,” Alders said. “It was inspiring to me because these are all great traits to work on and learn from. Lord knows I need to learn all this before next year happens because in a position of leadership I want to exemplify these traits but know I have a ways to go.”
Finance junior and Senior Yell Leader-elect Steven Lanz attended the conference and said it was an opportunity for him to define what makes a leader and learn the difference between significance and success.
“It’s really an opportunity for us to learn from people who have lived life and learned how they’ve done things, where they’ve been successful and what they define success to be,” Lanz said. “We are able to take that and, amongst the families within the conference, discuss and hear everyone’s perspective about that speaker.”
Lanz said having conversations with other delegates, directors and chairs he didn’t know would translate well to his future duties as Yell Leader.
“As a Yell Leader I’m going to have a lot of interactions with people,” Lanz said. “In such a short time, we had to skip small talk and be intentional with each other. Sitting on a bus going place to place, I got to know who they are as an individual and hear what they took from speakers and events and how they dealt with that.”
Lanz said owners of Taste of Texas Steakhouse in Houston, Nina and Edd Hendee, gave one particular speech of note at the conference.
“[Taste of Texas] is more than a typical steakhouse,” Lanz said. “Nina has a passion for Texas history so she started her own collection within the steakhouse itself.”
Lanz said upwards of 13,000 kids have gone to the restaurant to learn about the history of the state — from Davy Crockett to Stephen F. Austin.
“Nina’s speech was so genuine and it was like she was experiencing it for the first time,” Lanz said. “Edd spoke about branching away from his original job and starting a steakhouse. He shared ethical dilemmas he faced, what his options could’ve been, the options he did take and how that worked out. We were able to reiterate the business ethics we learned in school and made connections to his efforts.”
Communication senior and conference attendee Matthew Vanderbloemen said service is a huge focus of the conference, and was highlighted by a service project on Saturday at the Houston Food Bank making food boxes for elderly people.
Vanderbloemen said the best piece of advice he could give to other students came from a conversation he had with Andrew Abbott, Class of ’14.
“He told me advice he would’ve had for his freshman self,” Vanderbloemen said. “Pursue excellence in everything you do and don’t do it halfheartedly. You can go to bed at night and feel good about your efforts in life and you can be comfortable with the influence and significance of your days on Earth.”

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