Where Mona Pearl is now…

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Since 2004, Mona has been the Executive Vice President and COO for Align.  Align is based in Cheyenne, WY and offers planning, consulting, training and business services to organizations looking to become stronger and more efficient.  Mona focuses on developing and implementing business plans, directing activities of the staff and providing consulting services for Align’s clients.

Mona has been actively involved in a variety of business and community boards and organizations.  She credits some of those early leadership activities with RMASFAA as giving her the confidence to “try her wings” among friends before taking on community leadership.  Mona has served as a board member or chair for Cheyenne Regional Medical Center Foundation, the Better Business Bureau of Wyoming and Northern Colorado, the Cheyenne Animal Shelter, and the Cheyenne/Laramie County Economic Development Joint Powers board, among others.

When asked what has been the most rewarding part of being a part of RMASFAA over the years, Mona noted that helping students navigate the financing of post-secondary education has certainly been satisfying as has learning how to advocate and lobby at the state and national level.  However, she believes the most rewarding part has been the amazing friendships she has created.  She’s had so much fun getting to know her RMASFAA colleagues, relying on them, and becoming lifelong friends with them.

Mona has continued to be recognized for her excellence.  She was honored with a Distinguished Service Award by WYASFAA and RMASFAA.  She received a National Distinguished Leadership Award from the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce.  She has also received the ATHENA Leadership Award® which recognizes professional excellence, community service and activity assisting women in their attainment of professional excellence and leadership skills.

As an inaugural winner of the Oscar R. ‘Jack’ Hendrix Award, Mona has some advice for those new to RMASFAA and the profession.  She stresses that it is okay to ask more seasoned members what ideas they have for how to approach things.  No one expects rookies to walk in the door knowing everything.  On the flip side, Mona wants to encourage the veterans with a piece of advice too.  She encourages them to “continue to encourage the next generation of financial aid leaders and let them try things their way because they’re at least as smart as we were 35 years ago.”

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