leadership

Navigating Transitions in Leadership

3 important tips for passing the torch of excellence.

TRANSITIONAL LEADERSHIP MAKES THE YEAR GO ‘ROUND!

Whether it happens during the spring term, over the summer or when students return in the fall, the successful transition of major officers is the key to a remarkable year for any organization. No two years are alike, for any organization on any campus. One year may be “the best ever,” while another posed tremendous challenges that needed to be overcome simply to survive. That is the exciting part of being a student leader and staff member —the uniqueness that each new academic year brings.

Here are three suggestions for an outstanding transition of officers:

  1. Keep the suggestions for change confidential. This process keeps personalities, petty jealousies and individual conflict situations out of what is best for the group, the students and the campus. Using the Mind Mapping technique will allow each individual to voice their opinions and suggestions for change in an anonymous fashion that allows the group to develop a solid plan of action for the future with no ulterior motives interfering.
  2. Bring in a focus group of students and staff to share their perceptions. Over the course of a year, it is easy for any organization and it’s members to become oblivious to the perceptions those on campus have of their group, its mission, purpose and level of success. Bringing in an unbiased group of students and staff, who are asked directed questions, can help an organization create a blueprint for future success that they may not have discovered on their own.
  3. Evaluate the entire year like you do a major event. For any major event, there is a planning process, an implementation directive and an after action review. The same should be done for the success of a year. If something worked, keep it and share suggestions for its improvement. If something failed, do your best to ascertain why and decide if it is worth attempting next year or not. If something was obviously detrimental to the group and its members, remove it from the equation and replace it with a hopeful new endeavor. The unknown can be incredibly exciting!

These tips were created and shared by David Coleman, multiple speaker of the year winner, who has lead dozens of leadership retreats and given hundreds of leadership keynotes worldwide. Transitional leadership is one of his prime areas of expertise as he sees it as incredibly important to the success of any given academic year.

Click below for more information about David Coleman, his programs, or booking information.

Orientation is a Family Affair – Students, Parents, and YOUR Campus!

Successfully making the academic and social transition from high school to the college campus is the focus of these informative, fun programs that help to prepare students and parents for the journey that lies ahead. USA Today says, “Colleges and universities are learning to work with a new breed of parent.” David Coleman and Lenny Dave, co-authors of “Infinite Inspirations” and “Let Your Leadership Speak” have each been talking with (and working with) campus audiences for over 25 years. They’ve seen the changes; they know the challenges; they share the meaningful and essential keys for campus success.

“…the most highly evaluated part of our Orientation program. It has become an essential part of our success. I cannot imagine beginning our school year without it!” Ohio Northern University

Our Popular Program Options:

The Art of College Parenting

Anxious parents become a bit more relieved and assured after experiencing this informative, fun and educational program designed to help them to better understand the campus lifestyle challenges and changes ahead. Parent’s fears are alleviated; their most basic, pressing questions are addressed. Several campuses who regularly schedule this powerful parent program cite it as the most highly rated component of their Orientation program, whether it’s during Summer Registration or on Move-In Day. This presentation tells it like it is, addresses the realities of today’s campus environment and, perhaps more importantly, sends parents home feeling a lot less stressed!

Creating One Heartbeat

(Interactive Leadership Training for Orientation Leaders, RA’s, Student Staff and Student Leaders). Program participants will learn the important message that “Orientation is not about you, but it could not happen without you!” This highly engaging program teaches the elements of One Heartbeat Leadership (No one is more or less important and no one cares who gets the credit!) while incorporating interactive exercises that transform a group of individuals into a united, inspired, inclusive and selfless team!

Dating and Relating At The Speed of Life

(Making Relationships Matter! or #IWouldSoDateMe!) The internet has changed dating’s landscape forever. Be it Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, Tinder etc., the pace of meeting, dating and relating has reached an all-time high. This award-winning program addresses essential topics such as: Meeting Others, Mutual Consent, Intervening, Safe Words, Red Flags, Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationships, Surviving & Thriving Following a Break Up, Types of Love Found in Healthy Relationships and so much more! On campuses nationwide, this program has been a “must book” for many years in a row.

Hooray! Building A Caring and Inclusive Community of Classmates

This highly interactive team-building program has been honored as among the best of its kind. Hooray takes a group of “strangers” and, within an hour or two, turns them into a united, inspired and selfless family. Names will be learned, connections will be formed, friendships will be ignited and the closeness of those on campus will escalate. It also includes a training session for the Orientation Leaders (and RA’s and Student Leaders if you wish).

20 Key Points Every New Student Should Know

Research shows that if a new student acclimates to campus, forms friendships, feels a sense of belonging and is able to establish a skill set that allows them to be successful, there is a greater likelihood they will return for their sophomore year. This program is aimed at meeting each of those needs. 20 Key Points covers study skill habits, responsible socializing, living civilly together on campus, alcohol related issues, mutual consent, intervening, getting involved on campus, roommate issues and building confidence and momentum that will make their first year experience one that has them ready, excited and motivated to return for their sophomore year!

“…the perfect combination of relevant information, audience participation and overall content. And, it’s fun! You cannot help but smile.” -University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown

The Orientation Masters:

David Coleman & Lenny Dave

  • Recipient of APCA’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Entertainment, David Coleman, “America’s Dating Doctor,” is the 14-Time National Speaker of the Year and is the only speaker ever voted Entertainer of the Year for CAM’s Reader’s Choice Awards! He has over 3,500 appearances worldwide speaking to more than two million people! David has been featured in: USA Today, People, Women’s World and ESPN The Magazine as well as having appeared on CNN, Fox and Access Hollywood.
  • Lenny is a veteran campus speaker and facilitator whose personal mission is “to end toxic sameness.” He helps students become more inspired leaders; he helps campus organizations move forward with creative confidence. Campus Activities Magazine has twice nominated Lenny as “Speaker of the Year.” He is also the recipient of 14 NACA and APCA Showcases and has presented numerous times at NODA, ASGA and AFLV. Lenny is co-author of “Infinite Inspirations” and “Let Your Leadership Speak.”

Click here to learn more about David Coleman and Lenny Dave; or see more great speakers and orientation programs!

For information and to schedule an engagement for your campus, please contact Joyce at Metropolis Management: 877-536-5374 x101 Joyce@metropolismanagement.com

6 Mesmerizing Hypnosis Facts – Uncovering the Benefits of Hypnosis

You’re getting sleepy…very sleepy…

You’ve probably heard that phrase before, and imagery that follows is usually a dapper gent swinging a pocket watch in front of someone’s face, or maybe you imagine that iconic swirling black and white spiral ready to take anyone who stares into it long enough to a dream-like trance.

While there’s no way to completely undo the effects of this hypnosis cliché and the usual skepticism; The fact is, hypnosis is a genuine psychological phenomenon that has valid uses in clinical practice. Simply put, hypnosis is a state of highly focused attention or concentration, often associated with relaxation, and heightened suggestibility.

1. You Experience Hypnosis Every Day

All hypnosis is self-induced. When you sit in front of your favorite TV show or become engrossed in a good book, you are experiencing a hypnotic trance-like state. Have you ever taken a trip while in a car or train and have reached your destination without paying any attention to the moving scenery, and are surprised to find yourself at the end of the trip? Again you have experienced a mild hypnotic state, as the comfortable movement of the car and the rolling scenery have created a rhythmic experience.

2. Hypnosis Can Reduce or Eliminate Pain

It sounds too good to be true, but studies have shown being hypnotized can relieve the pain from an allergic reaction, a burn or insect bite. Influencing your mind through hypnosis controls your body’s response to the ailment and with the help of an experienced hypnotist, individuals can master the skill of guiding their body to control the effect of their condition. It is possible to persuade your body into reducing swelling, inflammation or blistering. Hypnosis simply allows you to access your natural healing ability.

3. It is Impossible to Get Stuck in a Trance

Have you seen the movie Office Space where the main character gets stuck in a hilariously nonchalant state after experiencing an accidentally botched hypnosis session? It makes a good movie plot, but REAL Hypnosis is nothing like that. While you are under the effects of hypnosis, you always remain fully in control of your body and senses. Even being in an influenceable mindset under hypnosis, you’ll still be aware of all external sounds and can move your body freely – for instance scratching an itch or repositioning yourself in a seat. Should the need arise, you will also be able to come out of the hypnotic state instantly, by simply opening your eyes. However, Doing this without counting back into wakefulness, may make you feel slightly disorientated for a few minutes – much like being woke up abruptly from a deep sleep – so isn’t recommended.

4. Hypnosis Can Strengthen Your Personality

Everyone has a good side, but sometimes the best part of your personality may not shine as bright or as often as you’d like. Hypnosis can focus on increasing your positive personality traits. It can influence you to become more confident, outspoken, assertive and more aware of positive aspects that make you more positive about yourself and your abilities. The power of hypnotic suggestion can provide a trigger for increasing your awareness of your own personal development. Hypnosis can also relieve stress, fears, negative and unwanted behavior patterns, and encourage more positive responses to situations you may struggle with. Hypnosis can also be a tool to improve concentration, helping you get better results with studying and work assignments.

5. Hypnosis Can Help You Conquer Your Fears

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” – H. P. Lovecraft.

What is holding you back? Fear is said to be the biggest contributing factor of not living up to your true potential. Fear of failure, rejection, or maybe you can’t quite put your finger on it. Causes of phobias and fears can be identified and then released by using hypnosis. An experienced hypnotist can help you safely uncover and overcome your fears. With the use of hypnosis techniques combined with positive affirmations, it is possible to permanently release and remove the fear. In its place your mind will accept the positive suggestion which will enable you to lead your life free from fears.

6. Hypnosis Can Be Fun & Entertaining

In addition to all of the great ways to utilize hypnosis, it can also be incredibly fun and entertaining. Hypnosis is such versatile and safe way to get everyone at your event interacting, laughing, and having night guests will be talking about for years to come – no open bar or hangovers required! From corporate entertainment (that even HR can enjoy), graduation parties, colleges, weddings and beyond the possibilities are endless. You should find a hypnotist that is willing to customize their show to fit the mood of your event and guests needs. Choosing a reputable and personable hypnotist is key and will give you the most “bang for your buck” for your event. Using entertainment hypnotism is not only a fun way to create lasting memories and encourages camaraderie for all events; when used in a corporate setting, it can lead to increasing sales & productivity as well.

Post provided by Sailesh The Hyptonist.

For more information, and booking, please contact us here.

poetrymonth

It’s National Poetry Month!

National Poetry Month, which is every April, is a celebration of poetry introduced in 1996 and organized by the Academy of American Poets as a way to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry in the United States.

With that in mind we want to highlight the amazing poets that we work with.

iCon – SHA’CONDRIA “iCON” SIBLEY is a national championship poet and multi-disciplinary teaching artist. Her slam accomplishments include becoming the first woman and non-Texan to ever win Texas Grand Slam and currently ranking as the #3 female poet in the world.

Jinahie – Jinahie has collected hundreds of Potluck Poems, a collaboration among strangers in which a poem is completed during live performances by the contribution of a line from each audience member.

Rudy Francisco – Rudy has made conscious efforts to cultivate young poets and expose the youth to the genre of Spoken Word Poetry through workshops and performances at schools and community centers.

OVEOUS – As a poet he’s earned countless national titles and is one of few artists to be chosen by the US State Dept of Music to represent America this year on a world tour.

Sierra DeMulder – Sierra is the curriculum director of the Slam Camp at Indiana University, an annual writing summer camp for high school students, and one of the founders of Button Poetry, the largest digital distributor of spoken word in the world.

Angelo Geter – Angelo is a multi talented entertainer who merges his passions for poetry and speaking into a unique performance that educates, entertains and inspires. He blends his pieces with commentary and personal narratives that transcends a traditional lecture or performance, and has given birth to a new genre.

If you have an event coming up at your school that needs some amazing and inspiring entertainment – these are all amazing choices. Think global, book local!

Send us a message to see which of these artists are going to be in your area.

Humor Month Highlight – Daphnique Springs

Incredulous is one of my favorite comedy flavors and nobody does it like Daphnique Springs. I could watch a whole set of Springs working a crowd and/or just focus on her amazing eyebrows. It feels like she’s not even doing material, but she is definitely doing material.”  – The Portland Mercury

Daphnique Springs is a Stand-Up Comedienne who has featured For Martin Lawrence (2015) and Toured with Katt Williams on his Born Again…Again Tour (2014-2015). She is the 2015 Winner of the She-Devil Festival in New York City, NY.  World Series of Poker Comedy Girls Satellite 1st Place Winner (2016). ABFF Comedy Wings Competition Sponsored by HBO Winner (2016).

To follow along with her career be sure to like her Facebook Page.

For booking information please click here!

Metropolis Management is at NACA Northern Plains!

Dates: April 5-8, 2018

Location: St. Paul, MN

Booth: 310-314

 

———- Thursday, April 5th 2018 ————

Nash Fung
Location: Ballroom
Time: 4:50pm

———— Friday April 6th, 2018 ————-

Joshua Fredenburg

Topic: ARE YOU SUFFERING FROM APATHETIC AND DISENGAGED VOLUNTEERING MEMBERS? – DISCOVER THE LEADERSHIP STRATEGIES THAT WILL HELP YOU INCREASE YOUR VOLUNTEER ENGAGEMENT AND RETENTION!
Location: Room 12
Time: 10:00 am

————- Saturday, April 7th 2018 ———–


Joyce Jiawan

 

Topic #1: Diversity – Beyond the Buzzword

Location: Room 14
Time: 10:00 am – 10:50 am


Topic #2: Creating Norms in Cross Cultural Communication

Location: Room 14
Time:
3:30pm

 

David Coleman

Topic: Unplugged with The Dating Doctor
Time: 10:00 am

Megan Stubbs

Topic: The F Word: Understanding Fat and Body Image
Time: 3:30 pm

 

Be sure to stop by the booth to take some photos with us for our SnapChat! We can’t wait to meet you.

It’s National Humor Month!!

“National Humor Month was conceived as a means to heighten public awareness of the therapeutic value of humor. Laughter and joy – the benchmarks of humor – lead to improved well-being, boosted morale, increased communication skills, and an enriched quality of life.

It’s no coincidence that the month begins with April Fool’s Day, a day which has sanctioned frivolity and amusement for hundreds of years.

Humor as a tool to lift ailing spirits is an established notion supported by scientific research. The curative power of laughter and its ability to relieve debilitating stress and burnout may indeed be one of the great medical discoveries of our times.”  – http://www.humormonth.com/

In honor of National Humor Month we have decided that we’re going to take some time to highlight our amazing comedians. We’ll take a break from Tuesday Tunes and showcase all of the amazing people that make others laugh with their real world experience, and funny antics.

Who is your favorite comedian, and why?

Check out our amazing comedians here!

Orientation Icebreaker

Try This Engaging Icebreaker from Team Building Expert Troy Stende

Planning and implementing an orientation program can be a huge task with many moving parts. Of course, you want your Orientation Leaders to have the skills and confidence to run engaging icebreakers, to be a more articulate speaker, and to understand how to work with their small groups. Having this type of training could help take your orientation program to the next level!

Most of the tasks involved in creating a successful orientation may be in your wheelhouse, so to speak. It may be a strength of yours. But some of those tasks may not be your favorite. Maybe you don’t feel competent or properly trained. Or maybe it drains your energy and feels like drudgery.

For most people (unless you are a superhero) this is a common thing…great at some things, not so great at others.

For those of you not so great at (or not so excited about) training your OLs, I am here to help. In my 20 years as a full-time speaker/trainer I’ve learned a thing or two about what it takes to train great leaders. All these skills (and more) are covered in my typical 4-hour training.

Below is the full script of an icebreaker I would use in training. The way I work is very experiential. We might do an icebreaker and then I’d step out of the roll to talk about why I did what did, said what I said and behaved the way I behaved. In addition, each leader gets to facilitate twice with immediate feedback. They learn by doing. This accelerates the learning because it’s easy to say you can run an icebreaker after seeing someone do it, but it’s another thing to actually DO it.

Enjoy this icebreaker. It’s work for me beautifully with tens of thousands of students over the past couple decades.

 

“BRING IT TO ME”

Create groups

The first thing I do is get them into smaller groups- ideally no less then 4 and no more than 12. It’s best if the groups are the same numbers, but depending on the number of people, that can be a difficult thing. My favorite size ranges from 8-10. It’s important to get them into their groups in quick and succinct manor.

Move them to the outside

“With your group, stand in a circle linking elbows. Without disconnecting your arms, shuffle yourselves to the outside of the room so you make a circle of circles. Go!” Get them to spread out; ideally, they are an equal distance from you in the center. “Now count yourselves off, one through how ever many people you have in your group so that everyone has a number.” Give them time to do this. It always amazes me that some groups take about a minute to do this. “Number 5, raise your hand” Look around to make sure every group has someone with a hand up. If they don’t, get them to find out who number 5 is. “Good, everyone has a number, right?”

The set-up

“The game is called, Bring it to me; Here’s how it works: I’ll call out a number. If that is your number, you will be the runner for that round. You’ll come to me in the center and we’ll huddle up and I’ll tell you to bring me something. I might say, ‘Bring me a left shoe’. Then I’ll say ‘break’ and you’ll go back to your group, get a left shoe, and bring it back to me as quickly as you can- while being safe of course. A couple things first. If you’re in the huddle and I ask you to bring me a left shoe, you can’t just take your left shoe off and say ‘Here’s my shoe’. You have to go back to your group to get a shoe. Now, if for some crazy reason, you are the only one in your group who has a left shoe (pause for laughter-people WILL laugh), then you would go back to your group and get a left shoe from yourself and bring it back to me. But you must go back to your group before you bring it to me. “ If the groups aren’t the same size I say; “You’ll notice that some of the groups have different numbers of people. If I call out number 10 and you only have 8, just send someone else. You figure out who it is. Someone will run twice. “

  • Keep them safe “Please be aware that this is not a full contact sport. Be safe and take care of each other. If the only way to win is to knock someone over and step on their face, then just come in second. It will be ok.” “What questions do you have?”

Game on!

Here’s how the game generally flows. I’ll yell out “Runner number 5!” and all the number 5s will rush towards me in the center. This can be a bit crazy the first time. If a group gets overly excited someone can actually crash into you. You might need to remind them to slow down.

I have them gather around me in a huddle and usually I take a knee and repeat, “Don’t go until I say break. Bring me an article of clothing that has red on it”. I repeat this several times while looking around to make sure everyone hears me. Then I yell “Break” and they rush off. When they start coming back to me I tell them to stay until every runner is back with their item. When the last person has come back, I go right into the next number. “Send down runner number 4”.

How you run this transition is the key to the activity. I don’t make this a competitive game by announcing a winner. There is a different, much more competitive version, and generally takes a long time to complete. I don’t do it that way. I’m just looking for people to have fun, get excited, pump up the energy and meet new people. I keep the flow moving fast and move from one item to the next without any fanfare about who’s quickest.

Music

I like to play music during this program. It helps drive the energy. It helps to have someone running the music during the activity by turning the volume up or down depending on if you’re in a huddle or everyone is running crazy.

Here’s a list of items you might use:

1. Article of clothing with red on it

2. Three Cell phones

3. Two Rings

4. Two Earring

5. Bracelet

6. Three Watches

7. Six left shoes (I like to make a comment about how stinky it is in the room)

8. Pocket lint

9. Sweat (this is pretty gross and I only do this with certain groups who are ready for it)

10. Two people carrying one person (Make sure you stress safety. Tell the runner they can be a part of this or not. Only do this one if you think the group is ready for it and can be safe)

11. Two belts that are connected

12. A piece of hair that is not connected to the body

13. Bring everyone to me (This is the last round, and I do it differently. I tell the runner to bring everyone in their group to me and as they are running back to the group, I run off somewhere else– like the stage or end of the room– and stand on a chair, and as they all rush the center of the room I yell, “To me, to me!” and they all rush over to me. Sometimes I run from them and have everyone chase me for a few seconds.) After the last round I have them all give themselves a hand or give high fives all around as they go back to their seats to end on a playful, fun note.

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About the Author

A professional keynote speaker and high impact trainer, since 1998, Troy Stende has been helping colleges and universities develop student leaders and increase retention rates. Troy presents unique and dynamic campus programs that include student icebreakers and orientation keynotes; customized programs and retreats for student leaders; and programs for staff, faculty and student advisors.Troy has become an integral part of orientations, retreats, and leadership series on campuses. He has presented in 47 states, including Alaska and Hawaii and presented international as well, having spoken in Singapore, Hong Kong and even Canada. Troy is co-author of; “College Success Secrets: what they don’t teach you in the classroom”. He is dedicated to developing campus leaders and increasing student retention.

Tuesday Tunes – SAGA Strings

Saga Strings is an all female electric/acoustic string band based out of Los Angeles, California. All women are virtuoso classical musicians & at the same time highly skilled improvisers, creating a unique & energetic show entertaining audiences around the world. Strings rocking high energy Electronic Music to make your crowd dance? A classical ceremony quartet? Rock Music like you’ve never seen by violins sounding like electric guitars? SAGA STRINGS DOES IT ALL.

Appearances include: Latin Grammys, Tonight Show with Jay Leno, American Music Awards, European tour, Conan O’Brien, E! News, ESPN, Soul Train Awards, American Idol, BET Awards, Late Show with Letterman

For booking information please click here!

Mitzi Sinnott

Black Gold in Appalachia – Their Footsteps, Our Treasure

This past October, I received a call from Dr. Alicestyne Turley, Director of the Carter G. Woodson Center at Berea College, “Mitzi I’d like to bring about 20 of my students from my African Americans in Appalachia course to your hometown for a tour!” I thought, “a tour of what?!”

Like most small towns in Appalachia, my hometown is doing it’s best to reinvent itself since the slow death of the coal and steel industries. Sad to say, many feel we don’t have much left, yet a few are collaborating to find new solutions to problems and visioning a new way of existing that respects our past yet creating a better future.

Dr. Turley continued, “Woodson spent a lot of time in your birth town of Huntington WV.” I said to her, “Growing up here, I had no idea who Carter G. Woodson was, sadly it wasn’t until I moved to New York City as a young adult that I first heard his name. We’re nottaught that the Father of Black History Month moved here from Virginia with his family to find work and received his high school diploma.”

Not only did Carter G. Woodson receive his diploma in Huntington, but he later came back after time spent at Berea College, and became the principal of our Frederick Douglas School, where he was once educated. It’s unbelievable to me that folks (we say that in WV) here let the school be torn down. They say some tried to stop the demolition, apparently there wasn’t a large enough group who voiced the value of maintaining such a building.

With disappointment and frustration surrounding my heart, my mind started to race, “How could we have let such important influence dissolve into the river (the Ohio River to be exact)!? The Frederick Douglas school has been torn down! Every child up and down this Ohio River Valley should be taught that the Father of Black History lived and worked in the area! Shouldn’t everyone here, African American, white, and brown wear this truth proudly in our hats!?”

I asked Dr. Turley “please give me some time to find out what kind of a tour I can organize that might be of value to you and your students.”

I was compelled to host a tour for the students! Berea College has been so good to me, each time I’ve performed and been a keynote speaker on campus. Like an archeologist I started my dig calling every African American elder I knew;

Me: Somebody’s got to know about Dr. Woodson’s time in Huntington?

Elder 1: He was the principal of the old Frederick Douglas school. They tore that down, but there’s a statue over on Hal Greer Blvd.

Me: A statue is all we have left?! I can’t have them come just to see a statue.

Elder 2: My Mom remembers Carter G, she said he was a small man, serious, not very friendly, I guess he was so focused on his mission, he didn’t care to socialize much…

Me: Can you imagine during that time the effort it would take to bring Negro History Week into existence? That’s serious stuff.

My most important excavation, connecting with Professor and journalist Burnis Morris head of the Carter G. Woodson Lyceum at Marshall University in Huntington. I had no idea Huntington housed a lyceum! Within minutes of talking with him, I learned that a few local people understood Dr. Woodson’s value and gone to great lengths to preserve some of his memory. Karen Nance a historian and preservationist (see photo) is now the current owner of the Barnett Building on 6th Avenue in Huntington. The Barnett Building was built to be the first African America Hospital in West Virginia. Carter G. Woodson’s family owned it. I also learned that the creator of the CLIO on-line history walking tour system lives in Huntington. Clio has a specific African American history component. https://www.theclio.com/web/entry?id=27312. Additionally, David Harris, a local citizen and treasurer of Huntington’s Carter G. Woodson Group does performances as Woodson during Black History Month.

“Hmmm” I could see a tour coming together. Dr. Turley and Morris and I fleshed out what was to be one of the most inspiring moments I’ve ever experienced in my hometown.

We started Friday evening, October 6, at the Marshall Café with City Council Member Sandra Clements joining me in welcoming our guests. She shared her own family’s knowledge of Woodson (see photo above). Saturday morning started with a lecture with Burnis Morris, a presentation by David Harris, and Karen Nance’s orientation of the migration of Woodson’s family to Huntington in preparation of our tour of the Barnett Building which she currently owns. As each person presented their knowledge of Woodson, our Berea guests were amazed, so much of his and his family’s story in Huntington is missing from national books. After having some of the best peach cobbler at Buzzy’s Café (see photo below), we walked 2 blocks to see the Woodson’s statue (see photo below) and the new Frederick school. We boarded the bus, off to the Barnett building. What a treat!

The Barnett Building (see photos and video) has not been renovated since the early 1900s. Our guests and myself felt like we were taking a ghost walk back in time. There were suites for hospital guests, including a bathroom. The old tiles still there, the impression of tubs still on the floor. A desk still in the front space where an administrator must have done their work. Our guests agreed that the nervous walk up the fire stair case was worth it to see this historical space. Mrs. Nance shared an article with us, featuring the Guthrie Family, a prominent white family in town that owned a hospital, donation of the first shadow-proof chandelier to the Barnett hospital. Now with the new chandelier patients could be treated at all hours of the night. She also shared that Barnett Hospital had a “zero infection” rate. This was unheard of, not even the white hospitals in the region could boast of having “no infection.” This rating means, Barnett was superior. African Americans came from around the country to train there.

Lunchtime on our tour, the new president of Marshall University Dr. Jerome Gilbert hosted us for lunch. After lunch, Marshall’s Dr. Monica Brooks of the Drinko Library hosted a session on the CLIO system.

4 p.m. we were filled with stories of Carter G. Woodson’s life, of local people who’ve overcome limited resources and expectations, building hospitals, directing schools, and inspiring our nation to take time to honor the many contributions African Americans have made to make this nation great! We asked our guests, if they wanted to continue with the bus tour to Burlington Ohio, just across the Ohio river to see a few more of Woodson heritage sites. Most responded, “We’re overwhelmed with the information we’ve received today, we’d like to take some time to reflect and consider how this will affect our thesis and final projects.”

We ended the tour at Marshall’s student union, where Dr. Turley asked each student to speak on their thesis statements and the edits they plan to make.

In closing, I asked if each student would share some thoughts on what they’re thinking and feeling from this tour. My heart was full from their comments, especially one young man who said, “Who am I to lose motivation, think my life is hard… being here and walking in the first African American Hospital in West Virginia. Incredible. I need to step-up my game!”

It was an incredible opportunity for me to arrange this tour for our guests and community members. Everyone shined that day. I know there’s more to come from this, Huntington WV should be a destination for African American History. There’s something very special about us on this Ohio River. Black, white and brown folk on the Mason-Dixon Line. The space, the place where free-slaves, Natives and whites co-existed in a way that was impossible in the South. This trip confirmed that so many important stories of over-coming, of brilliance have been left out of our text books, and been destroyed… our future together on this planet depends on us allowing each voice, each success to be honored.

I am committed to bringing true stories to those who need to hear them, and working within my community to rectify our past and create a new space where we walk truthfully in our history and live our future. There’s an amazing African American history in every town in America. All Americans can be inspired by it. If you know this already good, and if it’s not apparent now, please go excavate yours!

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About the Author

Named in the “Top 5 Best Diversity Speakers in America,” by Campus Activities Magazine performance artist, activist, and educator, Mitzi Sinnott presented her unique family saga “SNAPSHOT: a true story of love interrupted by invasion,” featured repeatedly on PBS nationwide, and on stage in South Africa, Scotland, Sweden, Brooklyn, and campuses across America. SNAPSHOT is the true-life quest of a mixed-race daughter from Central Appalachia who eventually finds her Vietnam Veteran father suffering in Hawaii.

Audience feedback affirms her story has transformative power which she incorporates into her keynote presentations, campus workshops and strategic planning efforts, using story-telling to reveal, connect and challenge.

Mitzi’s personally familiar with the complexities of racial identity, mental illness, and the legacy of war. She is a champion of authentic conversation who effortlessly and respectfully navigates difficult topics, making her very effective on college campuses and why she is a sought-after keynote speaker for groups like Marshall University’s Women of Color Luncheon, St. Thomas University’s Leadership Institute, The National Conference on Race and Ethnicity, AFLV West, and APCA National Conference.

Currently Mitzi’s company All Here Together Productions utilizes her expertise to convene conversations about race and class across industries and interests, building more tolerant communities, learning from the past, re-imagining our future, one story at a time. This is her life’s purpose, creating community from strangers.

Would you like to learn more about Mitzi, See the variety of programs she has to offer, or find out how you can book her for your event? Click here!

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