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AUS student wins Lead365’s 2020 National Leader of the Year
Mohammed Amaan Siddiqui, a first-year international studies major at American University of Sharjah (AUS), was declared the 2020 National Leader of the Year at the Lead365 Virtual National Conference held recently.
Attended by thousands of undergraduate and graduate students, new professionals, and leadership educators from all around the world, the Lead365 Virtual National Conference is a premier collegiate leadership conference that focuses on individual competency and aptitude growth, leadership knowledge, entrepreneurship, workforce preparedness, new professional understandings, and enhanced skill-building.
Siddiqui was adjudged the winner for meeting the title’s criteria, which included the ability to make a difference; productive contributions to society through changes in social conditions, creation of new programs, increased group engagement, student activism and empowerment, or community support; an inclination towards exploration, engagement, and evolution; leadership by example; tackling hurdles; and continued work to improve personal leadership skills.
He attended six live sessions, eight pre-uploaded videos on CareerLabs, and eight pre-uploaded videos on self-care and leadership followed by a quiz.
“The conference covered many leadership areas such as self-care, feedback mechanisms, public speaking, emotional intelligence, developing your brand image as a person, defining one’s mission and vision, and staying resilient, said Siddiqui. “The various perspectives and empowering statements of the speakers in the online sessions, and questions provided with the pre-uploaded videos helped me reflect better on the issue, which ultimately improved and strengthened my skills. As a blogger, the sessions on self-branding gave me greater insights on developing connections and how others view me,” he added.
“The event was held in the USA as per their time schedule which meant I had to wake up at 3:00 a.m. for all the sessions. However, the speakers’ energy was so strong that they kept me from falling asleep on my desk,” Siddiqui said.
He had previously faced challenges when it came to public speaking so the session on the topic had the most impact on him. “I tend to feel rather insecure during public speaking, especially about my voice and how 'enthusiastic' I might sound. Hence, a session on public speaking gave me insight and a more positive approach as to how I viewed myself. I was particularly interested in the feedback session that referred to taking and giving criticism. In a recent project that I was part of, I received reviews that put me down and upset me. So, this session helped me understand better how to draw a line between constructive feedback and plain negativity,” explained Siddiqui.
As a result of his interest in self-development and growing and honing his leadership skills, he was eager to participate in the conference.
“The first time I recall attending a leadership workshop was in the fifth grade. Since then, I have not come across leadership-specific events. Most of my development stemmed from exploring new opportunities, experience, and interaction with and guidance of parents, family, friends, project colleagues and academic figures. Hence, when AUS informed me of this opportunity, I was very excited and didn't want to miss it,” he said.
Siddiqui added that his motto in life is to always get out of his comfort zone to keep learning. He said: “I always say: I am a king, and my comfort zone is my empire. I need to continue to expand my empire, which means I must always be outside my comfort zone. It is a never-ending process.”