USG member, Alexis Conaway, was the winner of USG's 2022 Fall Reflection Scholarship. This blog will feature Alexis' winning essay!
Winning Fall 2022 Essay by:
Alexis Conaway - Graduate Assistant Director of Volleyball Operations at Louisiana State University
"“Create environments for people to thrive.” These six words describe how Chelsea Mangino operates as a men’s basketball chief of staff. They provide a powerful mission for every person working in athletic operations. They also taught me what God does for us every day because of His love for us. He creates environments for us to thrive, and I am grateful for the wisdom of Chelsea to help me realize this.
Chelsea’s story taught me that thriving does not always mean feeling comfortable. Throughout her career, God presented her with multiple challenging positions. From student manager to graduate assistant to director of operations, every single opportunity required faith and courage to step into, regardless of how qualified she felt. God did not force her to accept any of them, but He invited her to trust Him and follow His lead. Every yes enabled her to experience more of Him and develop into who He created her to be. I believe the same is true for all people. God constantly provides moments for us to grow. These moments are not always easy. He may open a door to the unknown and ask us to take a step of faith we feel completely unprepared for. As Chelsea stated, this is actually the sweet spot where we can be used by God the most. It causes us to rely on Him to guide us and provide what we need, when we need it. It really forces us out of the way and places God at the center. Only when He is the center of our lives can we truly thrive.
God recently opened the door for me to be a director of operations graduate assistant. As I embrace this opportunity to learn and grow and develop my gifts, Chelsea’s story encouraged me to pursue creating a similar environment of helping people thrive. Athletic operations really is all about service. Not only do I support the coaches and athletes on the team, I also connect them with people in many different departments across campus. My natural instinct pushes me towards attempting to fulfill everyone’s role on top of mine. Her story reminded me that it is not about me at all. God does not expect me to perform all of their jobs. Rather, when God is at the center, I get to provide the space for them to step into their positions to the best of their abilities.
Chelsea provided many specific examples of how to do this well. She acknowledged the importance of bigger tasks like communicating clearly to build unity and keeping my word to build trust. She also recognized how basic tasks like completing expense reports and planning team travel free up the staff to step into their callings more. Even the small and seemingly insignificant acts such as ordering a player’s favorite food or supplying gum for the team can be Godly acts of service. They are opportunities for people to feel seen and known and experience the love of their Heavenly Father.
I am so thankful for Chelsea’s story. She embraced the opportunities God gave her and now thrives in her giftings while helping others do the same. I cannot wait to continue my own journey through athletics with a similar mindset. It is easy to get caught up in endless checklists and lose sight of the bigger picture. My job is to serve, but I am not simply serving people. I am serving the Creator of the world. Every task I complete is a chance to glorify God and draw people to Him. That is my true calling as a follower of Christ - to help others know Jesus and enjoy abundant life on earth and ultimately in heaven one day. That is a job worth waking up for!"
Thank you, Alexis, for participating in the Fall 2022 USG Reflection Scholarship! We are also thankful to our sponsor, Texon Athletic Towel, for making this scholarship opportunity possible for all thirteen of our winners!
If you have an interest in taking part in USG's Reflection Scholarship program, be sure to apply for our Spring 2023 Reflection Scholarship, which goes live on February 1st!