What is your current position and how long have you worked in financial aid?
Hello! My name is Whitney Asher and I am the Assistant Director of Financial Aid at Barton Community College in Great Bend, KS. I’ve worked at Barton for 12+ years now and have actually worked in Higher Education for the past 17 years spending my first 5 years at Sterling College as an admissions representative and a small part in financial aid.
Why did you decide to join Leadership Pipeline?
The past 5 years I have been given a lot of opportunities for professional growth and development revolving around leadership. I was a member of the inaugural leadership institute class here at Barton in 2016-17 and had the opportunity to then attend a state-wide leadership institute in 2017-18. In May of 2018 I graduated with my Masters in Higher Education and Student Affairs and also began coordinating/facilitating Barton’s leadership institute. These opportunities have been amazing! However, I really wanted the opportunity to bring some of that training home with a more focused look at leadership in the world of financial aid. So, I decided to pursue a place in this year’s Leadership Pipeline.
What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned so far?
Connectedness is key in leadership. You need to be in tune with those around you and you’ve got to be able to look at things with a broad view. Getting to know our class so far and understanding the differences in our institutions – everything from differences in mission, culture, size and leadership – is eye opening and really helps you consider your own approach within your own office/institution.
By far the best thing is getting to know a group of people who are facing similar challenges and who are willing to share their experiences. I’m certain the connection with this group will not end when our year in Pipeline concludes.
What is it that you are hoping to gain at the end of the program? Personal goal? Skill set?
My personal goal by participating in this program is really to get more connected and involved at the state and regional levels of our organizations. I love knowing more people in the FA world that I can reach out to and lean on for guidance. I have an amazing mentor in my position here at Barton, however I loved the idea of being paired with a mentor from a different state and institution. Once again, it really comes back to relationships and connectedness for me.
Why would you recommend this program to others?
I feel like we are still early in our Leadership Pipeline journey, but I can already say that I would recommend this for anyone looking to take that next step in their own professional development. Taking a step outside of your comfort zone to do some self-reflection and participating in the group discussions is a great way to both learn about yourself and expand your knowledge of financial aid.