Leadership Pipeline: Bailey Jorgensen


Please welcome the 2017-2018 Leadership Pipeline class. The nine participants that make up this year’s class will share their experiences about participating in RMASFAA’s renowned professional development program.  It’s time to meet Bailey Jorgensen.

Bailey Jorgensen 1

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

I am a Financial Aid Counselor at Clarkson College. I provide services to half of our student population from prospective student through graduation and beyond. I started my financial career as a work study student in 2001.

Why did you decide to join the Leadership Pipeline?

I had been interested in the program for a while and my institution encouraged me to engage in professional development activities, and I figured Leadership Pipeline was the perfect opportunity! The program compliments my master’s program very well as I get to see leadership styles from multiple perspectives.

Describe the qualities of an ideal mentor?

I think a mentor is someone who sees your potential and helps you grow that potential. An ideal mentor will be honest, transparent, ethical, and professional. Being in a management position does not make you a leader; anyone can be a leader. You have to set the example and develop a sense of responsibility for yourself and others.

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

Time management and efficiency is key. I’ve learned tips for organizing my day, how to have a zero inbox, and using my student information system effectively and efficiently. When I use my time effectively, I have more time for student interaction and I don’t have to feel so rushed.

I’ve also learned a lot about myself. I think it’s important for all of us to take care of ourselves; if we can’t take care of ourselves, how can we expect to take care of others. We should also have regular check-ins and provide time for self-reflection.

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

I am hoping to build my leadership and professional skills so that someday, when the opportunity arises, I will have the qualities needed for a director position. I know at the end of the program I will have a network of individuals and valuable relationships.

Why would you recommend the Leadership Pipeline program to others?

I would recommend the program because of the quality of information you get out of it. The sessions at the conference and the monthly calls have been invaluable. The resources that I have taken away will be something I will appreciate for a long time to come.

Leadership Pipeline: Jana Parks


Please welcome the 2017-2018 Leadership Pipeline class. The nine participants that make up this year’s class will share their experiences about participating in RMASFAA’s renowned professional development program.  It’s time to meet Jana Parks.

Jana Parks 2

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

I am the Financial Aid Director at Baker University.  I have had the opportunity to work at Baker for 15 years.  I am in my first year as the Director.

Who is your Leadership Pipeline mentor and describe your relationship with them?

I have had the privilege to be mentored by Art Young from Utah State University.  I could not have asked for a better mentor.  Art has spent many years in the financial aid office and has experience within the private and public sector.  We have a standing monthly meeting to discuss specific questions, but Art is always willing to answer all my other “first year” director questions.  I truly appreciate that as he advises he does not tell me what to do but helps me think through what is best for my school and students, and what regulations I need to be basing my decisions on.

Why did you decide to join the Leadership Pipeline?

Most of my understanding of the Leadership Pipeline came through the regular RMASFAA emails that are sent out.  I typically scan through the emails for any helpful information or training opportunities.  The day the Leadership Pipeline email came out I was drawn in by the opportunity for additional mentorship.  At that time, I had a hugely influential mentor Jeanne Mott that was retiring from our school.  I knew in order to be successful I needed to be connected to other mentors.  The Leadership Pipeline provided the mentor I needed, but it has also provided a bigger network of support and opportunities to hone my leadership skills.

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

You are not alone in this profession.  I have heard others say it is a profession different from many others, but it is so true.  Especially in the aspect of comradery among the financial aid professionals. Being in my first year, I have realized there are many directors, even directors from competitor schools that are cheering me on and willing to help answer any question that I may have.

I have also learned that if you are willing to take advantage of the amazing training opportunities available through our Regional and State associations, you can develop and refine your professional skills which will help you continue to grow in this wonderful profession.

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

I am hoping that through this program I will be able to build a network of individuals that will help me through my first few years as a Director.  I also look forward to acquiring resources that will help me be a great Director.

Why would you recommend the Leadership Pipeline program to others?

I would recommend the program to anyone within the financial aid profession.  The program is not only how to be a leader once you have a leadership title, but how to utilize opportunities to be seen as a leader, no matter your title.  If you are looking for an opportunity to challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone, but also be provided with resources that will help you each step of the way, then this program is for you!

Leadership Pipeline: Ashley Stevenson


Please welcome the 2017-2018 Leadership Pipeline class. The nine participants that make up this year’s class will share their experiences about participating in RMASFAA’s renowned professional development program.  It’s time to meet Ashley Stevenson.

Ashley Stevenson - DMCI Recipient

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

Hi! My name is Ashley Stevenson and I am the Federal Work Study Program Coordinator at Utah Valley University. I have worked in Financial Aid professionally for 4 years. I started at Southern Utah University as a work study student for four years at their front desk. Then came to Utah Valley University where I started out as a Financial Aid Counselor and was in that position for three years, then came into my current position and have been here for over a year.

Who is your Leadership Pipeline mentor, and describe your relationship with them?

My mentor is Rob Drybread and he is the Assistant Director of Client Services at University of Colorado – Boulder. Once I met Rob we instantly clicked and got along so well. I knew this was going to be a fun year of having him as my mentor! We both have the same background in Hospitality/Customer Service and Financial aid, so we are able to connect on a lot of different professional levels.  We both are a part of larger institutions (37,000 + students) and it’s nice to bounce ideas off of him on how he resolves problems, as we both usually run into the same issues being at bigger schools.  Anytime I have a question he is always willing to listen and help walk me through to find the best answer.  Rob has seriously been such a great mentor, I feel like when they matched the mentors and mentees they really paired me up with someone who fits my personality. He is very thorough and really has my best intentions in mind and wants me to exceed in the Leadership Pipeline Program. I really look forward to working with him the rest of this year!

Why did you decide to join Leadership Pipeline?

I found out about Leadership Pipeline through my Director John Curl. He encouraged me to apply and I had his full support during the application process. Once I read through the application and looked at past blog pots RMASFAA I got really excited and felt like this was the perfect program for me.  During the application process, I was one of the winners of the Diversity and Multicultural Initiatives Committee (DCMI) scholarship through RMASFAA as well as Utah Association of Financial Aid Administrators (UASFAA) Scholarship. Which was really beneficial to my department to help send me to RMASFAA in Wichita this past year.  During my time in Financial aid I have learned so much from my current supervisor as well as my past supervisors at my other University and I know this would help give me the knowledge and skill set to be in a leadership position in the future. Already this program has helped build up my career and I am able to network with many people in the region. Also, I am more involved in the financial aid community then I have been before. Since starting Leadership Pipeline I have decided to join the DCMI RMASFAA committee, as well as UASFAA committee for our state conference. Being involved helps me progress in my position as well as giving me a bigger picture for our office. I believe this program will help bring me to the next level of my professional career prepare me to get into an Assistant or Director positions in the future.

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

The most valuable thing I’ve learned so far is learning to set my priorities and managing my time. Being in Leadership Pipeline it has helped give me the opportunity to manage my time better and become a ‘well-oiled wheel’ in that aspect. I love getting feedback from my fellow mentees on tips and get new ideas that can help me in my day-to-day job.

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

I am  hoping to become more involved on a state and regional level in the Financial Aid community. So far I have loved being involved in the little part I am at and just want to get more involved from that point. Also I am hoping to grain a deeper knowledge of how to be a great leader in Financial aid.

Why would you recommend the Leadership Pipeline Program to others?

Yes! Definitely!  This has been such a great experience so far and I know how much you can get out of being in this program. Not only are you given a mentor but a whole team of mentees where we help each during our conference calls. I can tell we have already grown together as a group and it’s nice to have a group of people in your corner to cheer you on!

Leadership Pipeline: Karina Moulton


Please welcome the 2017-2018 Leadership Pipeline class. The nine participants that make up this year’s class will share their experiences about participating in RMASFAA’s renowned professional development program.  It’s time to meet Karina Moulton.

Karina_Moulton

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

I am the Scholarship & Work Study Officer at Helena College University of Montana. This is my 4th year as a professional in the industry, and I have 4 ½ years as a Financial Aid Work Study.

Who is your Leadership Pipeline mentor, and describe your relationship with them?

My mentor is Sara Vancil. She works in Lawrence, Kansas at the University of Kansas. We are freakishly similar in that we are always taking notes, making lists and are very meticulous in everything we do. I don’t know how they match mentors and mentees, but they really hit the nail on the head! Sara has been so wonderful to work with, and I look forward to working with her the rest of the year.

Why did you decide to join Leadership Pipeline?

I am early in my career as a Financial Aid Specialist and am still learning the ropes. I have learned so much from my Director and co-workers but needed something more. During the state and regional conferences, I find myself meeting new people who I can turn to with questions in the future. Everyone is always so helpful, and I thought this program would really give me an advantage. I have never held any type of office and have been curious about getting involved at the state or regional levels. I believe this program can bring me to a more professional level of my career and help me build the confidence to take on a leadership position.

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

My mentor, Sara, had me complete a personality test. After reading the results, I realized they were so accurate it was a little scary! I have learned it takes all kinds, and you have to know who you are and how you communicate, in order to work with other types of people in your area. Knowing yourself is the best way to take inventory of what you need to work on to become a leader.

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

I want to build my confidence level, volunteer at a state or regional level and meet new people. I feel like this will give me more direction in where I want to go in my career as a Financial Aid Specialist.

Why would you recommend the Leadership Pipeline Program to others?

I would recommend this to anyone, at any level. Having a mentor to talk with and discuss not only what is going on in the class but also what may be going on at your institution or in your department, is a great way to learn. Not just working with the mentors, but the other mentees in your class is so valuable. During the conference call discussions, sometimes you have those, “oh good, I’m not alone” moments.

Apply NOW for Leadership Pipeline 2018


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Photo Source

The application for the 2018 Leadership Pipeline class is available now on the RMASFAA website:  http://www.rmasfaa.org/docs/forms/LeadershipPipeline_Application2018-19.pdf

 Apply today to be connected with one of 10 mentors in the RMASFAA region for advice, coaching and leadership training.

 You get:

  • Kickoff training at the 2018 RMASFAA Conference in Fargo, ND (RMASFAA’s 50th!)
  • Monthly 1:1 calls with a seasoned financial aid professional.
  • Monthly calls with like-minded peers to discuss topics on leadership.
  • Access to a selective group of individuals for questions, advice and general support.
  • Special recognition as a LP Graduate during the 2019 RMASFAA Conference in Montana.

 If you have questions, please contact Brenda Hicks (brenda.hicks@sckans.edu or 620-229-6387)

Leadership Pipeline: Carissa Koerner


Please welcome the 2017-2018 Leadership Pipeline class. The nine participants that make up this year’s class will share their experiences about participating in RMASFAA’s renowned professional development program.  It’s time to meet Carissa Koerner.

Ckoerner

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

I am the Associate Director of Financial Aid at the University of Sioux Falls in Sioux Falls, SD. I am just completing my fifth year at USF, with about two and half years in the Associate’s position.

Who is your Leadership Pipeline mentor and describe your relationship with them?

Sheelu Surender from Wichita State is my mentor. She has been a wonderful mentor to work with, always encouraging and supportive. Though we come from very different types of schools, small private vs. large public, she has already given me so much helpful advice. Our monthly conversations always leave me feeling inspired and ready to tackle new projects.

Why did you decide to join the Leadership Pipeline?

I heard about the Leadership Pipeline after a colleague in SDASFAA recommended it to me. Since I had no idea what it all entailed, I decided to do some research and started reading older blog posts from previous participants. Every single one talked about the wonderful experience they were having, the relationships they were building, and the confidence they were acquiring to be more involved and to take on more leadership roles. The reviews they were giving and the experience they described really encouraged me to pursue the application process for the program. Though I am perfectly content in my current position of Associate Director, and don’t see myself changing that anytime soon, I quickly realized that this program would be a wonderful opportunity for me to meet more people within the state and regional associations, to become more involved, and to hopefully lead to more opportunities to attend conferences and to someday ‘pay it forward’ by sharing my own knowledge and experience.

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

I don’t think anyone could attend a RMASFAA conference without immediately realizing that the people in this crazy world of financial aid are utterly amazing. The same thing was true from the moment I entered the first classroom for the Leadership Pipeline. Everyone was welcoming and excited, and I knew that this core group of people that I was meeting were going to become my new support network, my place to turn when I needed advice, and my friends. I think that is the most valuable thing that I’ve gotten from the Leadership Pipeline so far – that no one in this profession is alone. There are others who are in the same position you are, others who have gone through whatever situation you are going through, and all of them are there to advise, encourage, and support.

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

I hope when this program is done, I am more confident about being a leader in my own office and in my state and regional associations, that I am renewed and excited about my profession, and encouraged so that I can encourage and support others. I hope to continue to become more involved with leadership and volunteer positions.

Why would you recommend the Leadership Pipeline program to others?

I would recommend the Leadership Pipeline to anyone who is hesitant to get involved in their state and regional associations. This program is an excellent way to “get your feet wet”. You will meet wonderful people who will encourage and mentor you and you will feel supported and encouraged in the work that you do.

Leadership Pipeline: Sarah Standley


Please welcome the 2017-2018 Leadership Pipeline class. The nine participants that make up this year’s class will share their experiences about participating in RMASFAA’s renowned professional development program.  It’s time to meet Sarah Standley.

Sarah Standley

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

Hi! My name is Sarah Standley, and I am a Senior Financial Aid Advisor at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. I have worked in the Financial Aid office at UNL for four years. I am responsible for supervising the work study employees who work in our financial aid office. I do the hiring, training, and scheduling for these young professionals. I currently have 13 work study students, and they are responsible for answering student and parent questions on phones, at the front counter, and through email. We also do calling campaigns throughout the year to remind students about important deadlines.

Who is your Leadership Pipeline mentor and describe your relationship with them?

My mentor is Dori Roth. Dori is the Associate Director of Financial Aid at Hesston College in Hesston, KS. When I met Dori, I knew right away that we would get along very well! She is easy going, sharp, direct, and hilarious. Dori’s financial aid office consists of herself and one other person. In contrast, my office has 30 staff members. One of my professional goals is to learn about other areas of financial aid administration. Although my role is important to the functioning in my office, I’m also limited as to what I do every day since it’s primarily customer service based. Since Dori’s office is so small, she is responsible for a lot of different areas of financial aid processing. I’m grateful that she has all of this knowledge that she is willing to share with me, and I’m looking forward to learning from her. Dori also gives great advice, and she has helped me through a few tough situations already. I’m hopeful that we will be able to continue our relationship even after the program ends.

Why did you decide to join Leadership Pipeline?

I was fortunate enough to attend the RMASFAA Conference in October 2016, and that was the first time I heard about the Leadership Pipeline program. During the conference, I started asking questions about the program and what kind of things the mentees were learning. I heard nothing but good things about the program from the participants. After I got home from the conference, I also had some strong encouragement and support from staff members in my own office. I look up to the leaders in the financial aid office on my campus, and I admire the way they are continuously trying to improve processing and our service to students. They have implemented a lot of innovative ideas, and I hope that I can someday do that same thing and bring ideas that will help our office serve students better.

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

One of the most insightful things I have taken away so far has been the difference between leading a team vs managing a team. I am new to leading a team, so this is something I’m still learning. My goal as a leader is to lead by building relationships with my team members. I want to help each of them grow personally through coaching and help them build skills that will be useful to them in their career someday. If I can help them develop these skills, it will not only help our office functioning, but it will also help them for their future.

Also, I sometimes tend to get overwhelmed with the day-to-day duties in the office, and I forget to take a step back to remember why I first started in this industry. Student service is important to me, and it helps me to remember that my primary responsibility is to make college financing possible for all students. When I think about that, it helps me to feel refreshed so I can dive back into my work with a renewed sense of purpose.

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

I am relatively new to my position supervising the work study students in our office. I have never supervised anyone before this, so I know there are a lot of areas in which I can improve. Specifically, I am hoping to learn how to train my staff more efficiently and effectively and how to coach employees to have better performance. I would also like to get more ideas on how to train my staff to work more independently so they can feel more empowered in their positions and develop their own professional skills. I want to become a better leader myself, but I also want to help my own staff to be the best they can be.

Why would you recommend the Leadership Pipeline program to others?

Although I’ve only been in this program for a few months, I have already learned so many things that I feel I can implement. One of the most exciting things I’ve learned is the importance of setting strategic goals. I’ve been in my “new” position for about a year now, but I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never really thought about how I can make changes to improve the way my team functions. I’m realizing that there are so many simple things I can do with my team to improve customer service as a whole.

I would recommend this program because I know there are going to be so many other things like this that I will be learning how to implement. I really believe that I will be able to make many other positive changes to the office as a result of what I’m learning here. I would also recommend Leadership Pipeline because of all the awesome people I have had the opportunity to meet!