Nominations & Elections – Meet the Candidates!


Hello RMASFAA!

Elections for the next Board of Directors is opening, and we wanted to give you a brief introduction to your slate of candidates. Here are some short introductions from each of them, and more details can be found on each candidate on the RMASFAA website: Candidate Information

Voting members, remember to keep an eye out for the election link coming to your email soon!

President

Kelli Engelhardt – University of Providence

I have filled roles in the state association as president (elect and past-president as well), and Member-at-Large. I have served on the Training Committee for RMASFAA. I have been the Registration Co-chair/Chair, a faculty member, and now the Faculty Dean for Summer Institute. So many people in RMASFAA have helped me get to where I am, and it is my turn to give back to the organization. I would love to take the next step and be the President of RMASFAA. I know it will be challenging and take me out of my comfort zone and I still have a lot to learn, but I am also willing to give back whatever I can to continue to make RMASFAA a strong and valued organization for all of us.

Vice-President

Brenda Haseman – Northern Wyoming Community College

Brenda is the current President of WyASFAA. She served as WyASFAA treasurer from April 2017 to April 2019. She is a 2017 graduate of RMASFAA’s Leadership Pipeline and was a mentor for the Class of 2020. Brenda was Chair for RMASFAA’s Association News Committee in 2017/2018 and is ending her tenure as Leadership Pipeline’s Chair this October 2022.  “I truly enjoy making connections on a larger scale and the networking opportunities RMASFAA provides to its members. Being part of a fantastic association that provides so many opportunities for leadership and professional development is what I love about financial aid.”

Becky Pribyl – Northern State University

Thank you for nominating me for the Vice President-Elect position.  RMASFAA has played an important role in educating me in the financial aid profession and developing me as a leader.  I have previously held positions in RMASFAA such as Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee as well as state representative for South Dakota.  In SDASFAA, I have served as State President and two terms as Treasurer.  I am currently the Director of Financial Aid at Northern State University in Aberdeen, SD, where I have spent my entire career since being hired as a workstudy student.  Thank you for this opportunity to take the next step in my financial aid journey.

Jill Robinson – Western Governors University My career in financial aid began when I took a position at Brigham Young University (BYU) in 2008. I moved to Western Governors University (WGU) in 2021. I am currently working with Tuition Discounts, Outside Resources, Scholarships, State Grants, and Income Share Agreements.  So many people in RMASFAA have helped me get to where I am, and it is my turn to give back to the organization. It would be a great honor to take the next step serving as the Vice President-Elect of RMASFAA.

Treasurer-Elect

JJ Dynneson – Flathead Valley Community College I work for Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell, MT. I have been in financial aid for just under three years and I have really enjoyed my work in the world of financial aid. I am running for Treasurer because I want to become more involved in RMASFAA as a way to give back and to learn about RMASFAA and financial aid in general. This would be a great opportunity and I am excited to be considered.

Daisha Holmes – Johnson County Community College Hello RMASFAA members, my name is Daisha Holmes. I am a Financial Aid Coordinator at Johnson County Community College. I have been in financial aid for a little over 1 year and I have completely fallen in love with all aspects of the profession. Since I have been in financial aid, I have been involved in many organizations including RMASFAA’s Diversity and Inclusion committee and KASFAA’s outreach committee for which I was awarded KASFAA’s Rising Star Award for 2022. I am excited to continue my volunteerism by running for RMASFAA Treasurer as I am always excited to try new ways to get involved.

Matthew Rowell – Western Governors University

My career in Financial Aid began 9 years ago when I started at Western Governors University. Over those years I have held various processing, administrative, auditing, and compliance roles. Currently, I handle both Title IV and HEERF reconciliation and reporting. I have benefited from attendance at UASFAA’s annual conferences, RMASFAA’s summer institute, and NASFAA’s Leadership and Legislative conference and I am seeking to contribute back to our industry in a meaningful way by becoming the new Treasurer-Elect for RMASFAA.

Secretary

Caroline Bitter – Salt Lake Community College

 I am honored to be nominated for Secretary for RMASFAA Board of Directors.  I have been actively involved in my state association, UASFAA, as the Professional Development/Training Committee Chair and President.  As the Utah State Delegate (UASFAA President) I had the opportunity to be a part of the RMASFAA Board of Directors.  This was valuable experience that provided me with opportunities to grow both professionally personally. Being elected as secretary allows me a chance to give back and serve others participating in the opportunities RMASFAA provides

Susan Collins – Capitol Beauty School I am honored to be nominated to run for RMASFAA Secretary. Association involvement is very important to me, and once I accepted my current role as Financial Aid Director my immediate task was investing in local, regional and national associations through membership and volunteering. I have been blessed to be the Private Sector Representative for our state association, and as a participant in RMASFAA’s Summer Institute I knew I wanted to get involved on all levels.

Associate Member Delegate

Crystal DeLong (Bruntz) – Citizens  Crystal DeLong (Bruntz) is a Vice President, Regional Manager at Citizens.  She began her career in financial aid at Fort Hays State University in KS as a work study student back in 2001!  After 18 years in aid offices in KS and MO she jumped to the “other side” to continue serving her passion in Higher Ed.  “While representing the other associate members of the organization I can bring a unique perspective as well as ideas from my past.  I would love to be an active board member and help RMASFAA accomplish all the goals set forth.”

Jeff Recker – Ascent

 I am honored to be nominated for candidacy for the position of Associate Member Delegate of RMASFAA.  I am a twenty-two-year veteran of the lending space.  Through these many years I have helped schools solve for solutions and navigate the complexities and ever-changing role that lenders and other vendors have played in helping their students persist, graduate, and succeed in life.   Being able to serve RMASFAA will allow me to fully engage and recognize the challenges schools face in helping the needs of their students, both now and in the future, providing insight that I can hopefully pass along to others in my profession, and my daughters.  I’m hoping I can listen and provide insight to help to solve those challenges.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Written by Chico Dimas


Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), has been utilized in the professional academic setting and workplace for a substantial amount of time. Yet in 2020 and beyond, many individuals have been adapting their DEI conversations to include the aspect of belonging (creating conversations to become connected to the DEIB dynamic vs. the traditional DEI dynamic one might be familiar with). With this new change to the traditional DEI conversation, it is important we identify what it truly means to infuse the aspect of belonging into our current DEI dialogue within our organizations and life. 

Many individuals may ask themselves, “How can we address these changes and advance our current DEI Knowledge?” To recap, the non-profit Action for Happiness (which is endorsed by the Dalai Lama), defines DEIB via the following definitions:

  • Diversity is about welcoming all the ways we are different (both visible and invisible) and promoting a wide range of different people and perspectives.
  • Equity is about recognizing that each person has different circumstances and may need different resources and opportunities to reach an equal outcome.
  • Inclusion is about valuing people’s unique ideas and lived experiences and ensuring they feel involved, respected, connected, and have their voice heard.
  • Belonging is about creating a culture where people can be themselves, have psychological safety, appreciate each other, and feel part of something bigger.

By having belonging in an organization, many individuals are able to authentically engage and advance DEI organization dialogue/actions. Belonging ensures that everyone can feel connected to having a space in the DEI conversation space.

Now that you have an established understanding of DEIB, please reflect on the following prompt: 

Within your role as a Financial Aid Administrator, how can one infuse the aspect of “Belonging” into the DEI actions within the role, scope and organization that one resides in? 

For further information about advancing your DEIB knowledge, I recommend the following reading:

Inclusify: The Power of Uniqueness and Belonging to Build Innovative Teams, by author Stefanie K. Johnson, PhD. https://inclusifybook.com/

The Leadership Pipeline application is now open!


Apply today to join the gang in Salt Lake City, UT this October.

Participants will graduate from the program October 2023 at the RMASFAA conference in Fort Collins, Co.

Applications are due July 22, 2022.

Check out the details at https://www.rmasfaa.org/general_information.php

Want more information? Please contact:

Brenda Haseman, LP Chair: bhaseman@sheridan.edu 307-675-0203

or

Marc Gangwer, Incoming LP Chair: marcgangwer@weber.edu 801-626-7053

Interested in participating as a mentor? Submit an LP Mentor Interest Form today!

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Written by Sheelu Surender


In recent years the topic of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has become a top priority for organizations. Although large organizations may have a leader identified in an executive level role to oversee DEI efforts, most rely on Human Resources or other areas to incorporate information into employee training or professional development.  It has become increasingly critical for organizations to move beyond tag lines about DEI on brochures and websites. Instead, effective strategies should include strategic plans and actions for creating a truly inclusive workplace culture.

Higher Education institutions are not immune to the challenges of prioritizing DEI efforts to create an inclusive environment for all its members. As universities and colleges grapple enrollment and budget declines, funding for DEI must not be overlooked. When institutions encounter challenges on how best to serve a campus of diverse faculty, staff, and students they can look to other organizations with many similar challenges in the workplace.  

I recently read a blog presented by Katie Saba, a product marketing manager at Circa, which highlights how to address some of the common challenges. She recommends that becoming familiar with the top challenges may provide clarity on why a current strategy may not be working  and how to allocate efforts differently to address those challenges. She listed the following top 5 challenges in the workplace:

Limited budget and inexperienced staff

Many companies believe that DEI is a one-person role or does not need to be a shared responsibility, and as a result they don’t dedicate enough of their budget to it. On the contrary, DEI should be monitored and executed across the entire organization. It is often viewed as a function of HR only, but it should have a prioritized place in every department.

This may seem like a large undertaking because the concept of DEI is rather new, and a lack of understanding can make it difficult to tackle the strategy company-wide. Businesses can tie their DEI strategy to key business initiatives to strengthen the support.

Knowing what to measure and relevant benchmarks for comparison

Businesses often get bogged down in numbers because of the extensive amount of stats that can be gathered. They often don’t know which are the “right” metrics to measure DEI success. There are two ways to approach this: quantitative and qualitative data.

  • Quantitative data measures things like improvement in the rate and time of promotion of diverse hires, increases in the diversity mix of supervisory and leadership positions, reduction of discrimination grievances, reduction of turnover of diverse hires, and a higher level of productivity and innovation.
  • Qualitative data measures changes such as improvement in employee attitudes and job satisfaction, an increase in employee engagement and participation, and an increase in employee comfortability with sharing opinions and ideas.

It’s also important to assess the big picture when it comes to metrics — for example, a 5% increase in diverse hires may not ultimately impact diversity levels if the company’s goals for total new hires in the same timeframe is parallel in growth.

Knowing how employees feel about culture on an ongoing basis

Most companies forget that one of the most important things to do is get the entire company involved, not just management or leadership. It’s critical to know how DEI efforts are impacting every employee at every level. Companies can accomplish this by conducting listening sessions or developing surveys to identify how employees truly feel about the company culture. These sessions should not be a one-time thing either. Companies should look to conduct them annually. Is there something the company could improve on or something holding people back? Does everyone feel like they’re bringing their real authentic selves to work?

Sharing DEI initiatives and resources across the organization

DEI initiatives and resources can be challenging to address whether in-person or remote, but it is important to stay consistent. Simply “implementing” DEI and letting it fall off the radar shortly after will not achieve true change in inclusivity and diversity practices. Companies should regularly educate the organization on their biases and how they can actively participate in DEI with strategic resources.

DEI strategies should also cover all the bases — if the goal is to celebrate multiple holidays or different traditions across the organization, it’s important to ensure no groups are being forgotten.

Knowing how to sell the business case for DEI internally

Selling the business case for DEI can be tricky — for it to be successful, all members of the organization must be invested and recognize the importance of diversity in the workplace. Some strategies for fostering this involvement include (but are not limited to):

  • Developing an onboarding and new employee orientation process with DEI in mind
  • Providing career development planning for all employees
  • Implementing a reward and recognition program to increase engagement
  • Holding managers accountable for retaining high performing diverse teams
  • Enhancing benefits and perks to attract a diverse workforce.

Ref: https://circaworks.com/blog/top-5-dei-challenges-in-the-workplace

Even though the challenges identified above are in the context of the larger organization, there is valuable information that can be incorporated as departments or individuals work to ensure that their commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are ever present to build the kind of workplace where everyone thrives.

Meet Leadership Pipeline Mentee: Shawna Otte


Shawna Otte

What is your current position and how long have you worked in financial aid? I have been in financial aid for just over three years, initially hired to oversee our in-state scholarship program that is awarded to 3,500 students each semester at the University of Wyoming.  Last August I accepted a new position that we are still fine-tuning, but I am responsible for all communications from our office (to students, staff, faculty, etc.), am creating an onboarding program for our new employees, and am implementing a training program for our campus partners who use our scholarship system (Academic Works/Blackbaud).

Why did you decide to join Leadership Pipeline? My director and associate director approached me about this opportunity, both of them feeling that I would benefit from the program and that the program would benefit from me!  Since I am always up for professional development opportunities, I eagerly jumped at the opportunity.  Since I have spent most of my career outside academia, I was hopeful that I would gain some insight and skills that will help me adjust to a very different, non-corporate world, all the while making new friends and connections through networking opportunities.

What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned so far? Something that I’ve known, which has been reinforced, is that in higher education we have a valuable tool, and that is the fact that we really aren’t in direct competition with each other!  So, when we need assistance – either with “can I do this?” or “how do I do this?” questions – we can actually reach out to colleagues across the nation.  What does that exactly have to do with management or leadership, you ask?  It has everything to do with it, because by reaching out, it will free up that time that you might have spent spinning your wheels, and then you can reinvest that saved time into some other task or project, thus making you a manager/leader who works smart not harder!  Another thing that has been reinforced over these past five+ months is that we are in the business of building relationships, and those relationships go beyond just students; they also include our co-workers, subordinates, direct-reports and personal network of colleagues.  That is where coaching and mentoring can be so impactful and successful.

What is it that you are hoping to come away with at the end of the program? I want to be involved – within our office, with campus initiatives, with our state and/or regional association, etc. – so that I can be a resource about what our team does, and how pivotal financial aid is for a student’s success at the University of Wyoming.  As I continue to learn about our industry, and as I continue to make more connections, I’ll be able to lead in a variety of methods.  To take some baby steps, I have trained and volunteered for the inaugural Restorative Justice program on our campus, I volunteered to help with our state’s annual conference in 2022, and I have recently been helping with RMASFAA’s training committee.  I’m excited to continue to grow as a leader in our industry in any way that I can.

Why would you recommend this program to others? Leadership Pipeline gives you a rare opportunity to work one-on-one with a proven leader in financial aid.  My mentor, Sean McGivney, has been in financial aid for 29 years.  He is currently a Business Development Advisor with KHEAA, but in a previous life he was slugging it out in the campus trenches at the University of Vermont, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, and most recently, at Colorado State University–Pueblo.  If mentees and mentors both put in the effort, Leadership Pipeline helps provide valuable connectivity with someone who has successfully navigated not just the day-to-day tasks in our industry, but someone who has the experience of being in the director’s role.  The program offers a networking opportunity that, at the end of your one LP year, you will have somewhere around 12+ new contacts.  Those contacts will be friendly faces when you attend state and/or regional events and conferences, people that you can reach out to with questions, and individuals who are in similar places within their career path.  That is priceless!  And, at the core of all of it, I am just a training/learning geek, so this has been a great opportunity for me!

Sean McGivney, KHEAA

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Written by Jennifer Callis


I came across the meme below last week on social media. Many times, we quickly read a meme and then keep scrolling. I scrolled past, and quickly scrolled back up to re-read it. It caused me to pause and really think.

It really makes you think, “What kind of world do we want to create?” What better statement should we pose to our college students. One of our goals as a college is developing well rounded, productive citizens for our community and state; future employees to help our communities flourish and thrive. This is a question we should be asking our incoming first-year student each year when they first arrive on campus. This is a great exercise to get them thinking about social justice. When they graduate and are ready to go out and start their future, complete the exercise again with the students and compare. With diversity, equity, and inclusion being the “hot topic” right now on all college campuses, this gives us a perfect opportunity to show our students the importance of inclusion as part of the group. We understand the need for diversity and equity, but we forget about the need to have inclusion. Do we spend quality time making sure everyone has an equal economic, political, and social rights and opportunities? How can we make sure that our students each have the same opportunities to create a world we can all live in. On my campus, we work to educate our students on these areas, but we need to make sure we are teaching them how to include, how to be involved, and how to push for social justice for all. Finding that common ground in an ideal world where everyone has the opportunity to be included.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Written by Beth Vollan


In today’s post from the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, I want to revisit the topic of implicit bias. Implicit bias refers to the often unconscious biases that we have the cause us to stereotype and make unfair judgments or assumptions about others. While there are many ways that we can work to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion, getting to know your own implicit biases is a great place to start.

Since I last posted about this topic, NASFAA has published an Implicit Bias Toolkit to help financial aid professionals identify and address implicit bias in their work with students. If you have a chance, check out the toolkit.  It includes information on identifying your own biases as well as suggestions for reducing bias in professional judgment reviews, Work-Study programs, scholarship awarding, and other areas of financial aid.

After looking through document, I realize that I need to take a look at how my office determines costs of attendance and make sure that the budgets we create are adequate to account for students across all demographics. If you have some time, I challenge you to read through the toolkit and identify one thing that you can do to reduce implicit bias, either in your processes or your own interactions with students.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Written by Blanca Perez


All colleges and universities serve a diverse population of students who are pursuing their degree and a specific demographic that experiences undue hardships are Hispanic students. As a Hispanic individual, I have seen the number of Hispanic students increasing in populations throughout the United States. Many of these Hispanic students are undocumented and funding for these students is very limited in most states. For many, their only option is to apply for scholarships limited to their undocumented status, which represents the impact we can have if we extend our financial support further. While these barriers may exist for undocumented Hispanic students, there is also a population of Hispanic students who benefit from FAFSA. However, there is still much more that needs to be addressed to correct the inequities that exist.

A large demographic of Hispanic students may come from low-income families, which accentuates the burden for them to attend college without additional financial assistance administered by institutions. In my experience, I encountered similar obstacles coming from a low-income, Hispanic family. While in college, I applied for financial aid and was fortunate to participate in work study at the Financial Aid office in Texas while I attended classes. Working at the Financial Aid office as a work study student opened the door for me to obtain full-time employment. My experience represents the positive impact we can have when we enable Hispanic students to pursue their education through additional financial resources and support. I’m proud to be able to assist Hispanic students and encourage them to further their education, all while navigating though the financial obstacles that impact their lived experience. Understanding these obstacles can help us to better perpetuate an environment of unbiased service and advocacy at our institutions.

Furthermore, in my experience, I have assisted Hispanic students in overcoming the language barrier that exists when trying to navigate through their finances. These students have the same pressure as our general student population to afford their education and establishing resources through Spanish-speaking staff and materials can help them to better understand the complexities of financing college. Through my interactions, I always counsel students on the multitude of resources available to them. It is rewarding to enable Hispanic students to be able to further their education, while preemptively seeing the issues they face.

In the article, “Hispanic College Enrollment: Years of Progress Stunted by the Pandemic” (1) by Natalia Ibarra, she stated, “Before the pandemic, Hispanics were seeking higher education in record numbers. Hispanics were the only student population growing on college campuses before the pandemic.” This indicates that more Hispanics have sought an education to improve their lives. However, the lack of available financial resources, coupled with the nationwide pandemic caused the number of Hispanic students enrolled in college to decline by 7.3% (2). We must take action to reestablish the progress that was being made, and continue to incorporate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion when we assist students in our Hispanic community. Through these actions, we can better promote access to education at colleges or universities for our Hispanic student population.

Sources: 1. https://brownpoliticalreview.org/2021/10/hispanic-college-enrollment-years-of-progress-stunted-by-the-pandemic/

2. https://nscresearchcenter.org/stay-informed/

Meet Membership Pipeline Mentee: Christina Covey


Christina Covey

What is your current position and how long have you worked in financial aid?

I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to work in various roles within my office and currently serve as an Eligibility Specialist for Wichita State University. I have worked in financial aid since 2015.

Identify your mentor and describe your relationship with them.

My mentor is Marc Gangwer, Director of Financial Aid at Weber State University. Marc was incredibly welcoming and always ready with a hilarious joke or story to share. Marc’s recent experience moving into a director role has given me a unique perspective on what the transition to a leadership role can entail. His insight provided valuable tips, lessons learned, ways to identify opportunities, and reminders to have some fun along the way. Marc and I meet at least once a month but he is a call a way if ever needed. He is encouraging, helps me to recognize my strengths and areas of growth, and figuring out what type of leader I want to be. I truly value his honesty and his ability to see the positive in any challenge.

Why did you decide to join Leadership Pipeline?

RMASFAA’s Leadership Pipeline teaches leadership techniques, provides mentorship, and assists in the development of future leaders. Having known several administrators who went through the program, I was excited for the opportunity to develop important leadership skills, build confidence, create connections, and pay it forward in the future. The Director of my office, Sheelu Surender, and direct supervisor, Jeff Bever, were immensely supportive and their encouragement led me to apply to this wonderful program. Leadership Pipeline is a great proponent in encouraging others to find their niche and being their genuine selves in the type of leader they want to be, regardless of their role.

What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned so far?

One of the most valuable things I have learned thus far is recognizing how doubt and uncertainty can prevent us from being courageous and second-guess our contributions. Moving past the fear of the unknown can place us in a space where growth, understanding, and opportunity exist. Through group discussions and mentorship, I am able to better recognize those doubts and, in turn, learn to be more effective in my role. I hope to encourage others to do the same.

What is it that you are hoping to come away with at the end of the program? Personal goal? Skill set?

Through this program, it is my hope to create an action plan to identify my leadership style, develop effective leadership skills, recognize the value of my contributions, and empower others to thrive. On a more personal level, I hope to create lasting connections with the great people I have met in my Pipeline class.

Why would you recommend this program to others?

For some who have not served in a leadership role before, it can be intimidating to take on new opportunities that put yourself in that type of position. This program helps you to identify what those concerns are and how to utilize the skills you have to develop into a leader and, more importantly, staying true to yourself in doing so. Leadership Pipeline is an amazing opportunity to develop relationships with individuals serving in so many capacities within financial aid. The ability to collaborate, bounce off ideas, and receive feedback is vital in the type of business we are involved in. Nothing stays the same and having colleagues to talk with can provide valuable insight and create meaningful connections. Financial aid is unique as we all experience the same woes as ever-changing regulations and having the support of others makes a world of difference. No matter what your role is within the financial aid arena, your input, ideas, and skills are of value and if your passion is to grow in your capabilities, then this program is for you!

Christina’s mentor, Marc Gangwer

Nominations for RMASFAA Elected Positions


Have you ever thought about running for a RMASFAA elected position or have a colleague that you think would be great on the board?  Nominations are now being accepted for the following RMASFAA elected positions:

  • President-Elect
  • Vice President-Elect
  • Treasurer-Elect
  • Secretary
  • Associate Member Delegate

For more about information about the duty of these positions and the time commitment, keep reading. 

Nominations Due:  March 15
Submit nominations online at: https://mms.rmasfaa.org/members/form_edit.php?org_id=RMAS&fid=4517413

Before we get into the individual position description here is what some prior elected members have to say about their time on the board and what they gained from their experience.  Also, if you would like more information prior to nominating yourself or a colleague, please reach out to me (dobryrd@unk.edu) or any prior board member.  We would be happy to talk with you about our time on the RMASFAA Board. 

“Having the honor and privilege of serving as President of RMASFAA was not only an extremely enriching experience professionally, but personally, it was invaluable.  The RMASFAA Board and membership look to the President for guidance and leadership, not to micromanage all details.  The committees and officers were so willing to go above and beyond to help, not only performing tasks, but also outperforming expectations to achieve goals.  As president of RMASFAA I felt the immediate sense of teamwork and support from all those around me.  The friendships and relationships I made while serving this extraordinary association are truly wonderful gifts.  I especially enjoyed going to state conferences and getting to know individuals whom I never had the chance to meet before. I would not change a thing regarding my experience as RMASFAA President.  It went by so fast.  I can honestly say I would do it again in a heartbeat and I never regret for a second serving as President of RMASFAA.” – Ken Kocer, Past President

“I was a little hesitant when asked to run for a RMASFAA office. I had served in multiple positions at the state level, but it seemed daunting to think about being in a leadership position for an organization serving eight states, and I was worried about the time commitment. However, it was truly one the highlights of my professional career, allowing me to make an impact on the organization while also forming friendships with a great group of people.” – Stephanie Covington – Past Vice-President

“Over my tenure with RMASFAA I have had the privilege of being elected to the Treasurer position and now the President-Elect position.  Being part of the RMASFAA Board has given me opportunities and lifelong connections and I know that I am not the only one that feels this way.   The Treasurer/Treasurer-Elect position can often seem daunting because who wants to oversee finances.  But in reality, it was an amazing experience.  I had the opportunity to learn more about how RMASFAA works and be a part of the discussions and decisions that help shape where we are going.  However, the best thing I gained from this position is connection with colleagues that I may have not had the opportunity to get to know otherwise.  These are individuals I am able to reach out to now and they are always willing to lend a hand or ear.”  Becca Dobry – Past-Treasurer

“If you are looking to create connections at the regional-level and you feel confident capturing lively conversations – this position is for you!

This was my first time serving on the RMASFAA Board.  Though most of our meetings happened over Zoom, I’m so grateful for the experience!  And I was very happy to end my term in person, at our 2021 Conference!

Believe me, you’ll be so glad you took the chance, especially when these connections become friendships.”  Ashley Jost, Past-Secretary

“I’ve had the honor of serving on many RMASFAA committees and on the Board of Directors.  I recommend it to any Associate Member.  Volunteering not only allows you to get to know many colleagues throughout the region, but it also puts you “in the know” about what is happening in your industry.  I feel like I’ve always gotten more out of it than I put into it.  The relationships forged doing this type of volunteer work are invaluable.” – Robb Cummings (Sallie Mae)

President Position

Presidency Term Length: 3 years, runs October to October (1st year serve as President-Elect, 2nd year as President, 3rd year as Immediate Past President

Monthly Time Commitment: 2-4 hours per week (will change as you move through the 3 year term) 

President-Elect Duties & Responsibilities

  • Perform duties of President in a temporary absence of the President
  • Identify and select new Vice Chairs for committees.  These vice-chairs will then serve as chairs during this individual’s presidency year.
  • Attend and participate in Association’s Annual Business Meetings and Board Meetings
  • Attend the NASFAA Leadership Conference (typically held in Washington DC each year).
  • Chair the Nominations and Elections Committee and conduct the election of new officers for the upcoming year.
  •  Serve as an ex-officio member of all RMASFAA committees.
  •  Establish goals for incoming Board and each committee through a planning meeting or other means that are consistent with the Strategic Long-Range Plan.  This would happen during the transitional board meeting.
  • Schedule and represent RMASFAA on interregional visits.
  • Solicit nominations for the Oscar R. ‘Jack’ Hendrix award.
  • Serve as a member of the RMASFAA Association Governance Committee.
  • Arrange for the President’s plaque, which is presented at the RMASFAA Annual Conference.
  • Provide assistance to the President as requested.

President Duties & Responsibilities

  • Provide leadership and direction to all activities of the Association, the Board of Directors, and all standing and ad hoc committees.
  • Serve as the official representative of the Association and the Board of Directors, or delegate the responsibility to another Board member.
  • Serve as an ex-officio member of all Association committees.
  • Serve on the NASFAA Board of Directors as an observer beginning July 1 of the year the individual begins serving as RMASFAA President and ending the following June 30.
  • Represent or designate President-Elect/ Past-President to represent RMASFAA at member state conferences.
  • Develop a budget to support presidential activities.
  • Compile a calendar and biographical listing of the officers, Board of Directors, and Committee Chairs for distribution to NASFAA and publication on the Association website.
  • Outline the procedures for conference selection and direct the state rotation for hosting the conferences with the Board of Directors.
  • Provide regular reports and submit a formal annual report to the Association members.
  • Select the Distinguished Service Award recipient(s), President’s Special Award, and lead the Board in selecting the Hall of Fame and other special awards for recognition and presentation at the Annual Conference.
  • Appoint a Parliamentarian, usually the Vice President.

Immediate Past President

  • Attend and participate in all Board meetings and the Association’s Annual Business Meeting.
  • Serve as Chair of the Association Governance Committee.
  • Serve as a member of the Conference Planning and Evaluation Committee, acting as a liaison between the committee and the Board of Directors and providing Board support/Association resources as needed.
  • Determine eligible new members of the Quarter Century Club and update the list in the RMASFAA Policies and Procedures Manual.
  • Oversee updates to the RMASFAA Policies and Procedures Manual and RMASFAA Bylaws.
  • Serve on the NASFAA Board of Directors as a voting representative beginning July 1 of the year the individual begins serving as RMASFAA Past President and ending the following June 30.
  • Perform the duties of the President in the permanent absence of the President for the balance of the term.

Q: Why RMASFAA President

A: Initially, my reasons for being willing to run for RMASFAA President was rooted in my previous experience on the board. The representation of doing something outside of the 8-5 job responsibilities that support the profession I have embraced as career are personally and professionally rewarding. My growth has been enhanced in participation. Reflectively, in the clouds of the pandemic, it highlighted the added factor of sharing challenges of the workplace in a community where we can collectively exchange ideas, reach common ground in approaching guidance and job pressures. Even if we don’t always agree, we are in the same boat with a peaceful, supporting and caring group of colleagues.  – James Broscheit Past President

Vice-President Position

Vice President Term Length: 2 years, runs October to October (1st year serve as Vice President-Elect, 2nd year as Vice President)

Monthly Time Commitment: 1-2 hours per week 

Vice-President Duties & Responsibilities

  • Attend and participate in all Board meetings and the Association’s Annual Business Meeting.
  • Serve as Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee.
  • Develop, review, and present the annual budget of the Association to the Board of Directors.
  • Serve as a member of the Association Governance Committee.
  • Serve as the Parliamentarian when appointed by the President.
  • Serve as the Archivist (see General Policies – Archives).
  • Report to the Board of Directors during the fall Board meeting what was placed in the Archives during the year.
  • Reconcile funds on a timely basis
  • At least quarterly, provide to the President and Treasurer a copy of the bank statement and the monthly reconciliation of all accounts.

Vice President-Elect Duties & Responsibilities

  • Serve as Vice Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee.
  • At the direction of the Vice President, assist in the development of the annual budget of the Association.
  • Confer with Vice President regarding officer and FAC responsibilities and goals, accepting and fulfilling assignments as needed.

“Serving as Vice-President for RMASFAA gave me an opportunity to learn more about our organization’s finances and made me proud of the fiscally responsible group that we really are.  It gave me an opportunity to learn about both the details of RMASFAA’s finances and our overall budget.  Along the way, I had a chance to work with some of RMASFAA’s best and brightest board members and committee chairs.  It was an honor to serve the organization and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to learn and work with awesome RMASFAA members throughout my time on the board.” – Laurie Weber – Past Vice-President

Secretary Position

Secretary Term Length: 1 year, rung October to October

Monthly Time Commitment: less than 1 hour per week

Secretary Duties & Responsibilities

  • Attend and participate in all Board meetings and the Association’s Annual Business Meeting.
  • Record and distribute Board meeting minutes to the Board of Directors, Committee Chairs, and other designated Association members within an eight (8)-week time period following any meeting of the Board or Association
  • Collect and maintain Conflict of Interest statements from all Board of Directors
  • Collect and forward all correspondence of the Board of Directors to the Association Archivist.
  • Perform other functions as assigned by the President or prescribed by the Board of Directors.

“My experience as RMASFAA Secretary was very rewarding. I learned so much about RMASFAA as an association and what it means to be part of a board. I also got to work with some great colleagues and built lifelong relationships.” Bailey Jorgensen Past-Secretary

Treasurer Position

Treasurer Term Length: 2 years, runs on calendar year* (1st year serve as Treasurer-Elect, 2nd year as Treasurer

Monthly Time Commitment: 2-4 hours per week (will change as you move through 2 year term) 

Treasurer-Elect Duties & Responsibilities

  • The Treasurer-Elect is in training to become an officer of the Association. Unlike the President-Elect, the Treasurer-Elect shall not be a member of the Board of Directors nor Executive Council.
  • Confer with Treasurer regarding responsibilities and goals, accepting and fulfilling assignments as needed.
  • Responsible for Accounts Receivable
  • Attend the NASFAA Leadership Conference (typically held in Washington each year).
  • Receive ongoing training from Treasurer in order to provide as much continuity as possible

Treasurer Duties & Responsibilities

  • Attend and participate in all Board meetings and the Association’s Annual Business Meeting and present a fiscal report at each.
  • Receive and disburse funds of the Association in accordance with the authority provided by the Board of Directors.
  • Maintain adequate and appropriate records of all transactions.
  • Ensure that all reports are filed in a proper and timely manner, including all necessary tax returns and audits, and payment of licensing fees.
  • Assist appropriate activity chair or officer in the collection of all outstanding amounts owed the Association.
  • Serve as an ex-officio member of the Summer Institute and Conference Planning and Evaluation Committees, providing Board involvement and support for committee meeting, contract negotiations, and financial needs.
  • Arrange for Association credit cards for RMASFAA officials designated by the Board of Directors, coordinate all agreements and communications with the card provider, and assure all outstanding balances are paid in full each month.
  • Forward all retired financial records of the Association to the Association’s Vice President to be placed in the Archives.
  • Begin training with the newly-elected Treasurer as soon as possible to ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible.
  • Perform other functions as assigned by the President or the Board of Directors.

*Unlike the other elected positions the Treasurer transitions at the end of a calendar year, this is to keep all fiscal transactions in a calendar year under one person. 

Associate Member Delegate Position

Associate Member Delegate Term Length: 1 year, runs October to October

Monthly Time Commitment: less than 1 hour per week

Associate Member Delegate Duties & Responsibilities

  • Attend and participate in all Board meetings and the Association’s Annual Business Meeting.
  • Represent the interests and perspective of the associate membership to the Board.
  • Communicate Association plans and activities to the associate members.
  • Serve as a contact person for associate member issues
  • Inform the President of associate membership actions or decisions that may impact the Association.

“It was my honor to be elected as the RMASFAA Associate Member Delegate.  I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the RMASFAA Board and got to meet so many wonderful people.  The RMASFAA Board works so very hard for the members of the organization in providing professional development, leadership training, and many other opportunities to help financial aid professionals in their dedication to helping students attain their higher education goals. It was such a fulfilling opportunity and I would encourage everyone to put yourself out there to be part of such a great organization.  You will not be disappointed!” – Sara Edwards (Citizens Bank)

If you have gotten all the way to the end of this long blog, thank you for taking the time to consider running or nominating someone to run.  As I mentioned I would be happy to discuss these positions with anyone or put you in touch with someone who has held the position previously. 

Best Wishes,

Becca Dobry
RMASFAA President-Elect