BMCC is such a popular college that even non-students want to come here—well, at least for a weekend.
the second consecutive year, BMCC hosted the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) New
York Region Leadership Conference. PTK students and regional members
from all over New York State attended.
Participants met with guest speakers and engaged in workshops designed to teach and refine leadership skills.
Theta Kappa is the official honor society for two-year colleges, as
recognized by the American Association of Community Colleges. BMCC's
chapter of Phi Theta Kappa is called Alpha Kappa.
conference was sponsored by St. Bonaventure University, which provided
PTK students with tote bags, brochures, and pens, encouraging them to
consider transferring to St. Bonaventure after graduating from their
respective 2-year colleges.
Dr. Sadie Bragg,
BMCC’s Vice President of Academic Affairs, spoke at the Leadership
Panel. She was introduced to the students and guests by Alex d’Erizans,
Senior Faculty Advisor for Phi Theta Kappa at BMCC.
d’Erizans oversees the organization with assistance from advisors Acte Maldonado, John T. Means, and Zhanna Yablokova.
also here on behalf of BMCC’s President Antonio Pérez—we fully support
PTK because you make things happen,” said Bragg. “All of you are
leaders; we are delighted to have you here at our college. You are among
After officers from the New York Regional Team spoke
about the perks of Phi Theta Kappa memberships, the first panel of the
weekend got underway.
Leaders are “self-aware”
The opening panelists were Louis Oberndorf, Phi Theta Kappa Foundation member;
Luke M. Davis, Associate Director, Regional and Chapter Development –
Div. 1, Phi Theta Kappa; Dr. Alex d’Erizans, PTK Senior Advisor and
Assistant Professor of History, and Victoria Dombroski (’12), Alumni
Coordinator for PTK.
“My friend Antonio Pérez taught me about the
importance of community colleges,” said Oberndorf, founder of METI, a
world leader in medical technology used for educational purposes.
Oberndorf shared his advice about leadership and control.
think the real question is, how do you deal with failure? Because
you’re going to have failure—none of us are perfect,” he said. “Knowing
how to deal with failure is another step in becoming a leader. You don’t
set out to be a leader, you become one.”
Oberndorf also reminded students that every leader needs to be self-aware.
“And remember—arrogance is a pitfall of being a leader,” he said.
Luke M. Davis, Associate Director, Regional and Chapter Development,
Div. 1, Phi Theta Kappa, advised students to listen—carefully—when
others speak, especially in a group forum.
“It takes a strong
leader to listen; we don’t engage as much with others if we say,
‘Everything’s OK,’ or ‘I’m fine.’ Focus on others; people need to know
others care about them. We all have to help each other succeed.”
loses sight of the little things. Say ‘thank you, how are you?’
Building relationships is part of being a leader,” he said, adding, “a
leader makes things happen in a profound and visable way. Learn about
others—their strengths and weaknesses—and acknowledge your own strengths
and weaknesses, which can be humbling.”
According to d’Erizans,
being a leader also means, “having a vision and the confidence to make
ahead with an action plan. But also realize you just can’t do it all.”
BMCC graduate Victoria Dombroski is a former PTK board member.
liked the public speaking tips I picked up from PTK,” she said. "Today,
I’m much better at interviews and taking charge of tasks while
More than grades
The panel moderator was Liberal Arts major Michael Guttentag, a PTK board member.
PTK was one of the best decisions I ever made—honestly,” said
Guttentag. “PTK taught me how to multi-task. For me, time management is
crucial, especially since I want to attend law school, where
multi-tasking is key."
Part of the whole BMCC experience is "enhancing your social skills," added Guttentag.
isn’t just about grades, it’s also about meeting diverse people, and
understanding how much the whole college experience matures you,” he
said. "Being an active PTK member has taught me the importance of
networking and how to bring leadership skills into the job market."
Business Administration major Romina Moyano agrees.
active with PTK is great way to meet standout students while putting
yourself in a better, stronger mindset to complete your academic goals,”
she said. “I came back to school later in life, so I wanted to take
advantage of everything PTK offered. I joined to better myself, to push
myself, and I thought today’s panel was inspiring.”