1. What does being a Leader mean to you?
To me, being a leader is part of your character.
It means doing what is right and best in each moment, whether those around you are watching or not.
Being a leader comes with the responsibility of showing and setting high expectations for yourself and others and striving to outwork everyone while doing so.
The goal of being a leader is to do these steps effectively and with poise and encourage others to follow suit–the best leaders don’t ever need to ask for followers; they lead by doing.
2. What’s your favorite part of being a leader?
I love seeing the progression of younger students who once looked up to leaders becoming the leaders.
I remember when I was first starting at EMA I looked up to those older student leaders around me so much in everything I did.
Now that I am one of the older student leaders in the program, the opportunity to empower younger students excites me and
I hope that I am able to have an impact and inspire them as much as the leaders before me did for me.
3. How has EMA helped you become the leader you are today?
EMA has created a space and community that I love coming back to.
The lessons that Coach Gumbs and others have embedded in me since the beginning has stuck with me–even when I am far away from EMA.
Every time I hear ‘last one’ my mind immediately responds ‘best one.’
All the small catchphrases and experiences that EMA has fostered for me have helped me prepare for college basketball and I am eternally grateful to EMA for helping me achieve that goal.
4. What’s the best thing you’ve learned at EMA?
The most important thing that EMA has helped me to learn through my development as a player is resilience. Playing a sport is not always highlights and easygoing- most of it is time spent out of the spotlight working on your game.
When the crowds go away, when you get bumped off the starting 5, or whether you get cut entirely, it’s these moments that are the hardest to train for yet the most important in determining one’s character.
EMA helped me to find confidence and drive within myself that allows me to feel better prepared to face adversities.
5. How do you show up as a leader on and off the court?
To me, being a leader and consequently, a good teammate, means showing up for those around you at times when others aren’t willing to.
It also means creating an equal relationship between you and others, growing from their advice and encouragement, while also sharing your own. This reciprocated relationship is something that has helped me to thrive as a teammate on my college team.
Supporting teammates during practice is the building block and something that is expected of everyone;
It is what you do off the court that distinguishes you as a leader amongst your teammates.
To me, this means checking in on my teammates after hard practices, taking time to spend together in a non-basketball setting to build our relationships and everything in between.
6. Who are some leaders that you look up to and why?
Growing up in middle school I used to be a ball-girl at the University of San Francisco women’s basketball games. I would get the ball rack from the closet for warm-ups and half time but my favorite part was when I got to high-five the players while they were warming up.
Watching, I always admired all the players, but the ones I remember most to this day are Zhane Dikes, Rachel Howard, and Anna Seilund.
Anna, I stayed in contact with and got to see her play while she was playing professionally in Spain. It turned out, that both Z and Rachel already knew Coach Gumbs and after graduating they still would come back and train at EMA–
To this day they are both still inspiring leaders involved with EMA.
As I progressed through high school, I remember coming to training, and sometimes if I was lucky I would get to train alongside them. This is something that has stuck with me to this day.
Despite the age difference, skill difference, and even size difference for that matter, EMA always challenged me to play with all types of players.
From “fangirling” over them on the sidelines at USF to training and working alongside them at EMA, I have always valued and looked up to both of them not only for their amazing talent but more importantly for their drive and commitment to the sport.
7. Define EMA with one sentence.
EMA is a space filled with positive encouragement and energy that gives everyone equal opportunities to grow as teammates and people through a shared passion for basketball.
8. Complete the sentence: As a leader, I encourage people to…
As a leader, I also encourage people to always give their best energy and effort and support others around them while doing so.