What I’ve Learned and Developed as a Past LEAD Summit Attendee

by: Shelly Cruz

Engagement and Giving Coordinator at Tito’s Handmade Vodka
Austin Young Chamber Corporate Member

We asked Shelly to share how she has learned, explored, taken action, and developed as a leader because of attending the LEAD Summit. Read more about how she’s grown as a young professional leader!

Then be sure to join us in person at the 2022 event on Friday, April 29th.

What is something essential you LEARNed from attending a past LEAD Summit?

I learned about overcoming imposter syndrome and designing my life at the 2020 LEAD Summit. Navigating professionalism has always been a struggle for me. The breakout sessions at the summit covering these essential topics provided the opportunity to hear relevant advice from expert speakers and participate in interactive discussions among peers.

I was able to gain an understanding of how to harness my unique skills and lived experiences together as a strength rather than view this as a weakness. This taught me how to create an authentic brand professionally and design my career in a way that is true to what is important to me. I gained the understanding that true success is defined based on individual talents and perspectives that contribute to the greater good. This idea instilled a new layer of confidence that has pushed me to be more intentional and strive for better both professionally and personally.

How has the LEAD Summit inspired you to EXPLORE new connections or experiences?

The Unplugged Mixer held at the end of the day provided a great opportunity to network and continue impactful conversations with other participants encountered throughout sessions in the day. This was a great chance to expand my network and meet a diverse mix of professionals from a wide range of industries.

It is easy for many of us to get stuck in our own industry’s “bubble” and lack access to This experience sparked an interest to continue the practice of making new connections.

How did the LEAD Summit spark you to take ACTion in your community or workplace?

The LEAD Summit inspired a new work approach. Rather than focusing energy on what professionalism “should” look like, I began to focus on what professionalism looks like for me based on my unique skills and experiences.

This added a layer of depth and increased awareness I had of my own strengths that allowed me to contribute at a higher level in projects at work and in the community.

Looking forward 1-2 years, how do you plan to DEVELOP as a leader?

In 1 to 2 years, I will utilize the knowledge gained from experiences that have shaped my trajectory to empower others who may not understand the power in their own story.

I will seek out opportunities to lead others to identify hidden strengths and learn the ability to harness these to reach new levels of success.

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Shelly (far right) with other LEAD Summit attendees at the 2020 event.


The Austin Young Chamber offers a Group Rate of $125 per ticket when you register five or more individuals at one time. Just be sure to select the “Non-Member” registration type to receive the group rate. Questions about registering? Email events@austinyoungchamber.org.