Continuing the Leadership Pipeline series. The eight participants that make up this year’s class will share their experiences about participating in RMASFAA’s professional development program.
What is your current position and how long have you worked in financial aid?
I am an assistant director of financial aid at South Dakota State University. I started out 23 years ago at NSLP (now Inceptia) as a claim reviewer. I held positions as a loan discharge specialist and student loan ombudsman before making the switch to the school-side 7 years ago.
Who is your Leadership Pipeline mentor and describe your relationship with them?
My mentor is Joe Donlay. Joe exemplifies great leadership. He is approachable, self-sacrificing, and a great listener. Joe and I have monthly phone conversations, and I am always grateful for his perspective and candor. Having a mentor to go to for guidance and advice is one of the best things about Leadership Pipeline.
Why did you decide to join Leadership Pipeline?
I was asked to take on a leadership role in my state organization, and I didn’t feel prepared for the task. I thought Leadership Pipeline would provide me with the tools and resources that I needed to be a more effective contributor and help me feel comfortable in a leadership role.
What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned so far?
In one of our first meetings, we talked about servant leadership. The conversation really helped me see leadership is less about being assertive, decisive, and a good public speaker and more about listening and giving back.
What is it that you are hoping to come away with at the end of the program?
I have met some amazing people through this program, and I hope to have a lasting network of peers and mentors who I can connect with in the future.
Why would you recommend the Leadership Pipeline program to others?
Leadership Pipeline is a great way to learn about our profession, meet people, and develop leadership skills. It is also a lot of fun! I think we are really lucky that our regional association provides a leadership/mentoring program.