NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Being an effective and impactful leader is as much an internal endeavor as it is about successfully guiding others.
That was among the lessons Belmont University's Caleb Corprew absorbed during the recent four-day NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C. The senior track and field standout returned to school Sunday evening after a long weekend of insightful seminars and thoughtful conversations that covered both athletics and life beyond college.
And, of course, a little bit of sight-seeing.
"I feel inspired to bring the lessons I learned at the NCAA Leadership Forum back to Belmont," Corprew said. "I have a greater sense of self-awareness of who I am as a leader, and I have a better idea of the leadership tactics I can take in my own life and how I can impact people."
Corprew (Midwest City, Okla.) was one of just two Ohio Valley Conference student-athletes chosen to attend the Leadership Forum. He and Nia Gibbs-Francis of Austin Peay University gathered along with more than 300 college athletes from around the country chosen based on their diversity of background and positive influences on their campuses and community.
They came together for acts of service -- the group volunteered to arrange donation bags for the city's young homeless population -- and to discuss upcoming issues with NCAA governance members. Of course, there was plenty of discussion just among fellow student-athletes as well.
The setting and membership facilitated respectful and enlightening conversation, Corprew said, even regarding some of the most divisive social issues of the day.
"How often can you get to talk with people from all over the country who completely disagree with you, but both sides are willing to sit and listen and respect each other's opinions?" he said.
Among the lessons of leadership the Forum hoped to instill, Corprew recalled, was how to help others become leaders as well. Helping another reach his or her potential and knowing when to allow others to lead can be equally important to stepping into that role yourself.
These messages swirled in Corprew's head as he and his fellow student-athletes explored the national monuments of the city during their free evenings. The power of visiting the Lincoln Memorial, a favorite memory of Corprew's, was even greater because of the perspectives gained throughout his stay.
"I've always been in awe of him as a leader," Corprew explained of President Abraham Lincoln. "This person altered the world so much that people wanted to honor him in our nation's capital in that way."
Back at Belmont, Corprew is a member of the leadership team helping coordinate Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) meetings on campus, as well as the vice president and treasurer of Belmont's chapter of the American Marketing Association.
A business management major who plans to continue his education after graduation in the spring, Corprew also volunteers as a basketball coach for elementary-aged girls during the winter.
He and the Bruins begin the indoor track season on Dec. 2 at the Vanderbilt Indoor Opener.
Belmont University senior Caleb Corprew visits the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.