Anna Kempf attends 2019 Empire 8 Conference Summit

Five student-athletes from Elmira College recently participated in the annual Empire 8 Conference Summit, held at the Woodcliff Hotel and Spa in Fairport, New York, to learn more about leadership, teamwork, and community service.

Anna Kempf of New Woodstock was one of five student-athletes from Elmira College who recently participated in the annual Empire 8 Conference Summit, held at the Woodcliff Hotel and Spa in Fairport, New York, to learn more about leadership, teamwork, and community service.

Nick Cottone ’19 (baseball), Janie Kempf ’21 (field hockey), Macy Huntley ’19 (women’s lacrosse), David Keisler ’20 (men’s lacrosse) and Taylor Hanson ’21 (women’s soccer) were among the 39 student-athletes from around the conference at this year’s E8 Summit. Cottone and Huntley both attended the event for the second year in a row.

“The E8 summit is a grouping of the athletes from across the Empire 8 Conference with the purpose of further developing our leadership skills and personal growth, while also taking time to help the local community,” Cottone said.

“I think this is very beneficial because the student-athletes in attendance learn many new leadership concepts, which we can bring back to our schools,” Huntley said. “It is also beneficial, for it increases opportunities for friendship and sportsmanship between student-athletes from the various schools.”

This year’s keynote speaker was Johns Hopkins University’s Senior Associate Director of Athletics, Jen Baker. A United State Naval Academy graduate who spent seven years in the Navy, Baker joined Johns Hopkins following stints as Senior Manager of Corporate Real Estate, Facilities, and Operations at Under Armour and as Associate Director of Athletics for Facilities at Cornell University. She spoke on the subjects of leadership, followership, and the importance of being good at both. Baker’s sessions focused on relationships within the framework of teams and how important those dynamics are for personal and team success.

“My favorite part of this year’s E8 Summit was our keynote speaker, Jen Baker,” explained Hanson. “She spoke about how being a good teammate and a good follower were equally, if not more important, than being a leader. It was something I’ve never considered before. I think a lot of athletes are told to be leaders and step up, and while that’s important, it’s also completely okay and necessary to be the best teammate and follower you can be. I loved learning new ways to improve myself as a teammate, and I’m excited to bring it back to ECWS.”

Attendees at the Empire 8 Summit also heard from Houghton College’s Director of Athletics, Dr. Matthew Webb, who presented on the subject of understanding your followers as a key element of being a good leader. Following presentations, the student-athletes visited Ronald McDonald House Charities to volunteer with the organization’s upcoming spring sale.

“The best experience was volunteering for the Ronald McDonald House and seeing how appreciative they were when we finished our mission to help organize for their annual sale,” Keisler said.

In addition to volunteering together at the Ronald McDonald House, Elmira’s student-athletes worked alongside fellow athletes from each of the conference’s member schools in a variety of ice-breaker and team-building activities.

“Getting to know some of our competitors in this environment was cool because we were all there for the same reason,” Kempf said. “We did participate in some competitions, but all the schools were mixed, so we got to work together.”

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