Nashomi Belfon is the former AAPG Student Chapter President at the University of the West Indies and the current YP Lead for the Trinidad & Tobago YP Chapter. She was one of two Latin merica Region YP Leads to participate in the YP Leadership Summit and Leadership Days in Snowbird, Utah 7-10 August 2014.
In August 2014, I attended AAPG’s 34th annual Leadership Days in Snowbird, Utah. I attended because of the passion that I have for volunteering with AAPG and the incentive that there is a lot to learn from an event such as this, where individuals from various committees throughout the world are present. Such knowledge and concepts can then be brought back to the Latin American region for ever growing achievement. I can personally tell you that my expectations were exceeded; Leadership Days truly was a remarkable experience.
My experience at Leadership Days was so memorable, so it is challenging to select one best moment. If I had to choose however, I’d say one of the things that really stuck with me was the presentation by guest speaker Jay Barney, “Essential Shifts to Move from a Functional Leader to a Strategic Leader.” The lecture delivered the message on what it takes to make that transition, which is something that we all can benefit from in our respective duties as leaders within AAPG.
One of the most valuable parts of the weekend was being able to work with Young Professionals from other AAPG Sections and Regions at the 5th Young Professionals Leadership Summit, held prior to the start of Leadership Days. The Summit focused on key concepts such as the YP Handbook overview, sustainability and marketing and internal and external communication within YP committees. I found these discussions to be of great value because they highlighted the roles and responsibilities of YPs, especially new YPs like me. It was great to share thoughts and be able to get an inside view on what other Sections and Regions are doing and to figure out if such events can be useful in our Region.
Another valuable part of the weekend was the field trip to Albion Basin and a 2-hour hike to Cecret Lake. There were two amazing aspects of this hike. One was being able to do what I enjoy most, be a geologist. I was honoured to explore the geology of the Little Cottonwood Canyon under the guidance of the expert himself, Dr. Ron Harris, author of “Exploring the Geology of the Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah.” Prior to the start of the trip, Dr. Ron Harris did an informative session on the geology of the little cottonwood canyon. He highlighted key concepts such as the formation of the Canyon and the Wasatch Front, the geological Chronicles of the Little Cottonwood Canyon and Exploration of the Upper Part of the Canyon. One of my favorite quotes from the lecture was the following,
“Geology is the very essence of connecting with the land. It is the air we breathe, the water we drink, the materials we use to build. The energy resources we crave and the wilderness that takes our breath away.”
The second amazing aspect of the hike was the opportunity to interact with new and experienced geoscientists, as well as to have meaningful discussions and to bond with other representatives from the Latin America Region. This experience will forever be embedded in my mind.
Participating in the YP Leadership Summit and AAPG Leadership Days had a remarkable impact on my future work with the Latin American Region. As a newly appointed and dedicated YP for Trinidad & Tobago, being able to interact with new YPs and experienced YPs and Professionals was definitely worth every minute. The sessions helped me understand the roles and responsibilities of a YP leader and also helped to identify leadership traits and skills, key information for new YPs like myself. Being able to contribute ideas and opinions during AAPG leadership Days was quite a bonus.
The YP Leadership Summit provided great opportunities to share thoughts, to get an inside view on what other Sections and Regions are doing and to figure out if such events would work in our Region. An example that really stood out to me was the idea that the European Region’s “Geo-Olympics.” Theses intriguing discussions sparked new ideas that I can see myself trying to pursue within the Latin American Region through my role as YP Lead. I definitely look forward to sharing these ideas with my fellow Latin American Committee Members in hope of truly making a difference in the Latin American Region and in AAPG worldwide.
Leadership Days is an event that every AAPG leader should attend if given the opportunity. Participating in the event enhanced my respect for and commitment to AAPG. Volunteering with AAPG has always been a passion of mine, and I believe that AAPG is an amazing organization of which every geoscientist should be a part. AAPG provides publications, conferences, and educational opportunities to geoscientists and disseminates the most current geological information available to the general public. It is definitely a people organization, which suits me perfectly!
Attending Leadership Days and participating in various discussions reinforced what I already knew about the organization and inspired me to do the best that I can do in my role as YP Lead. It showed me that the sky’s the limit and encouraged me to inspire others as well. I look forward to continuing to work with the AAPG in advancing the world of petroleum geosciences.
Lastly, I’d like to take this opportunity to personally thank AAPG for presenting me with the opportunity to represent the YP Latin American Region at the 34th Annual Leadership Days. It is an experience that will forever be embedded in my mind, with knowledge and concepts that can be used to take the Latin American Region to the next level! Working with the Latin American Leadership Committee is always a wonderful experience and I look forward to many more adventures. Special thanks to Emily Smith Llinás, Latin America Region Programs Manager, and Mr. Antonio Velásquez, Latin America Region YP Lead.