January 19, 2015

On the Road: The Mission

Travel; verb-by definition “to go from one place to another, as by car, train, plane or ship; take a trip; journey.”

The Educational Leadership Consultant experience is not limited to one journey, but many. Like every journey, it all starts with a mission.

Mission 1: Packing
Packing for all four seasons in two suitcases is no easy feat. Being a clothes horse, I thought I would never be able to pack for months at a time in only two suitcases. With a little practice, I have learned to pack like a pro. Dresses, tees, jeans, heels… no problem! Despite the 50 lb. rule, the ELC team can pack the necessities, plus some, with weight to spare. Though I do owe some credit to packing cubes, I can say with confidence that I can pack for any climate, in two bags, in under 30 minutes. The ELC journey has given me one of the greatest gifts; the art of packing.

Mission 2: Navigating through the Airport
With my two suitcases and personal carry-on item in hand, the walk to the check-in kiosk is where the fate of your travel day will be determined. As an ELC, I have gained the knowledge and skills needed to earn good graces at the airport. Treating gate attendants, flight staff and airline representatives with kindness and respect will get you far. Though traveling can be stressful, and sometimes I think I am having a crazy day, chances are, they are having a crazier one. A simple, “Hi, how are you!?” may end up in the waiving of that hefty baggage fee.

Whether at LAX, Regan National or O’Hare, I can successfully make it through check-in and security, arriving at my gate promptly, with time to spare. The travel world is as stressful and chaotic as you make it. The ELC experience has instilled the life-long skill of being a veteran traveler, a tool that will never cease to deliver.

Mission 3: Takeoff 
“Flight attendants, prepare for take-off”, has become ingrained in my brain as the mental kick-start to a new journey. Each Alpha Phi chapter I visit allows me to enter into an unfamiliar environment and meet and create a relationship with numerous members, all the while empowering and inspiring women to be strong leaders through all that Alpha Phi has to offer.

Meeting new people, while traveling, has proved to be one of the most memorable parts of this job. Collegian, volunteer or stranger, each acquaintance has prepared me for my next journey. I have learned to be fearless; starting a basic conversation with a stranger has shown me more about myself then I could have ever imagined. If it wasn’t for the collegian who did what was right instead of what was popular, the couple retiring in Flagstaff, the soon to be father-in-law flying to Cancun for his daughter’s wedding, a coach of a respected collegiate basketball program, and the gate attendant who waived my baggage fee in turn for me to “pay it forward,” I would have never known that I have the ability to surprise myself. I have grown as a leader and person, and learned that stepping outside of my comfort zone has empowered me to be the best that I can be.

Mission 4: Landing
As each plane lands, it represents both the beginning and ending of each journey I set out on. I know as I board each plane, one thing will always remain constant: my ELC family. It is very rare that one meets a group of people that instantly click and “get” each other. Once my ELC journey has come to an end, my team will continue to support one another throughout our future endeavors. But until then…pack, fly, repeat and the journey continues!

Mia Sinatro (Iota Lambda-Connecticut) is a first year educational leadership consultant. Learn more about Mia by clicking here.

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