2017 World Leadership Congress

Tori Landry
MA HOBY & WLC 2009
MA HOBY, Director of Communications

This past July, HOBY’s World Leadership Congress (WLC) took place again bringing together over 400 students from across the United States and around the world to Chicago, Illinois for a week of inspiration, discovery and fun.

Personally, this was my first time attending the WLC since my ambassador year in 2009. I had been selected as a Group Facilitator for Section A and felt like I was a sophomore in high school again! I was giddy, nervous, excited, and feeling a little shy. But I was lucky enough to lead a great group of twelve ambassadors from across the world and although I was there to facilitate their HOBY experience, I felt more inspired than ever.

This year’s theme for the WLC was “BElieve in YOU” - because to be yourself, you need to believe in yourself. Each day we ‘believed’ in something: Discovery, Awareness, Action, Innovation, Connectedness, Engagement, and Celebration. Some of the highlights I loved were:
Creative Activity Time: Ambassadors were placed in creative project groups: choir, art, writing, service, and spoken word. (Choir was a big hit thanks to our awesome choir director, Will Sutton) This was an awesome outlet and all of their work was showcased at the final gala!
ChicaGO!: We spent one day exploring the streets of Chicago. Corralling twelve teenagers through the busy city was no easy task but we had a great time and only got lost once! For most of the students, it was their first time in this city and for one of my ambassadors, it was her first time on the subway. We had some fun, but also took some time to learn about the history and culture of Chicago, stopping to read plaques, looking up cool facts, and then taking time to talk and learn about the architecture and aesthetics of the city.
Global Citizens in Action: Groups of ambassadors were paired up by ‘region’ and asked to tackle a local problem. It was so interesting how many went from being strangers to diving right in to discuss tough problems from their communities and figuring out what they could do to help.

Something that really stuck with me though was our Day 7 speaker, Carla Hall (my favorite TV chef). Carla’s mantra "Say yes. Adventure follows.” dawned on me...I took a chance and applied to be a facilitator for the 2018 WLC, and said yes. And then, adventure followed! This was my first time in Chicago, my first time in years not knowing anyone and having to make new friends, and I realized that even at 25 years old, as a group facilitator for 12 ambassadors from across the world, I realized I was the one being inspired.

My advice to our Massachusetts HOBY alumni, friends, supporters: Say yes, and let adventure follow! Apply for something new, take that trip you’ve been wanting to, take that promotion you aren’t sure about, join that school club that you’ve always wanted to. Believe in yourself and say yes (when you can) and let these adventures help guide your journey as a leader!