This post concludes the Leadership Pipeline series. The eight participants that made up this year’s class, including Shelby, graduated from the Leadership Pipeline program during the annual conference in Wichita, Kansas. Congratulations!
What is your current position and how long have you’ve worked in financial aid?
I am an Enrollment Services Specialist at Casper College in Casper, Wyoming. I started working in the financial aid office in 2011 as a work study student after the customer service center that I worked in for 6 years closed. I officially became a full-time financial aid processor 3 years ago in 2014.
Who is your mentor and describe your relationship with them.
My mentor is Pat McTee, the director of student success services at American Indian College Fund. Pat has been a great person to bounce questions off of and just learn from. We have talked many times about customer service experiences and different ways of handling student situations that may arise in our office. One of the first times we spoke, he recommended that I watch “Who Moved My Cheese?” I had seen the book in the past and always wondered what it was about so I went home and watched it. What a great example of how your attitude and the way you look at things can make a huge difference! It’s hard to believe that we are at the end of our year-long journey with Leadership Pipeline, I am glad that I have had the chance to get to know Pat!
Why did you decide to join Leadership Pipeline?
I had first heard about Leadership Pipeline through the RMASFAA Exchange Blog, and then again at the RMASFAA conference in Colorado. I am an extreme introvert and was looking for ways to challenge myself to step outside of my comfort zone and have the courage to take on roles first at the state level and eventually the regional level. This is the first job I’ve ever had that has allowed me so many opportunities for professional development and with the encouragement of my boss at the time (thank you Darry!) I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of it.
What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned so far?
There are so many takeaways that I have from being involved in this program, it’s hard to pick just one. I think that the most valuable thing I’ve learned is that there is a wealth of knowledge in our region, and it’s so easy to reach out to others to gain insight and different perspectives on issues that we may encounter in our day to day lives. (And my experience so far is, no one bites when you ask!)
What is it that you are hoping to come away with at the end of the program?
I am hoping to graduate the program with a greater level of self-confidence to take on projects or leadership roles that mean something to me, rather than just saying yes to say yes.
When I applied for the Leadership Pipeline program, I had listed that one of my goals was to grow and finesse our current work-study program on our campus; I have been working closely with my director at Casper College and feel that we are starting to take steps toward making this goal a reality. I’m not sure I would’ve had the confidence to pursue this as vigorously were it not for my involvement in Leadership Pipeline.
Why would you recommend this program to others?
I would recommend this program to others as a way to get familiar with RMASFAA on a smaller level. I will admit that I was a bit overwhelmed attending my first conference and felt a little out of place because everyone seemed to know everyone else. This program helps to plant the seeds of networking and makes it less scary to reach out to others in the region with questions. Plus, I’ve met some amazing people that I otherwise may not have met without being part of the program.