Leadership Pipeline: Shelby Garner


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!

Shelby

 

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.

 

Leadership Pipeline: Beth Vollan


Continuing the Leadership Pipeline series. The eight participants that make up this year’s class will share their experiences about participating in RMASFAA’s professional development program.

 

beth-vollan

 

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

I am an assistant director of financial aid at South Dakota State University.  I started out 23 years ago at NSLP (now Inceptia) as a claim reviewer.  I held positions as a loan discharge specialist and student loan ombudsman before making the switch to the school-side 7 years ago.

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

My mentor is Joe Donlay. Joe exemplifies great leadership.  He is approachable, self-sacrificing, and a great listener.  Joe and I have monthly phone conversations, and I am always grateful for his perspective and candor.  Having a mentor to go to for guidance and advice is one of the best things about Leadership Pipeline.

Why did you decide to join Leadership Pipeline?

I was asked to take on a leadership role in my state organization, and I didn’t feel prepared for the task.  I thought Leadership Pipeline would provide me with the tools and resources that I needed to be a more effective contributor and help me feel comfortable in a leadership role.

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

In one of our first meetings, we talked about servant leadership.  The conversation really helped me see leadership is less about being assertive, decisive, and a good public speaker and more about listening and giving back.

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

I have met some amazing people through this program, and I hope to have a lasting network of peers and mentors who I can connect with in the future.

Why would you recommend the Leadership Pipeline program to others?

Leadership Pipeline is a great way to learn about our profession, meet people, and develop leadership skills.  It is also a lot of fun!  I think we are really lucky that our regional association provides a leadership/mentoring program.

Our Outstanding Committees – Leadership Pipeline


Amazing!  That is the word that I would use to describe the 2016-2017 RMASFAA Leadership Pipeline mentors, mentees, and committee members.

Leadership Pipeline 2016

Our journey with the current Leadership Pipeline group began in Rapid City, SD with a welcome that ended up being very impromptu but so fun also!  The mentees and mentors attended one session together and had a few meet up times to help get to know one another and to do some networking together.  The full program started off just as the conference ended with great sessions on leadership skills, advocating for students, managing and organizing personal technology and so much more!

After the conference the mentees and mentors had assignments to complete each month.  They could choose to meet once per month or twice per month whichever worked better for them.  Each mentee facilitated a discussion on one of the chapters from the “You’re the Director” NASFAA book with the entire group.  Every mentee was so well prepared and the discussions were so informative!  Along with these assignments, every mentee also contributed to the RMASFAA blog in the “Getting to Know You” series.

It will be a proud moment to honor each of the mentees when they graduate from Leadership Pipeline during the Fall Conference 2017 in Wichita, KS.  The 2016-2017 graduates are:

Shelby Garner, Casper College, WY
Brenda Haseman, Northern Wyoming Community College District, WY
Darcy Johnson, Emporia State University, KS
Katie Nelson, Black Hills State University, SD
Dani Reynolds, Newman University, KS
Hayley Shipton, University of Utah, UT
Beth Vollan, South Dakota State, SD
Kelly Whittekiend, Dixie Applied Technology College

Before we get to honor these graduates, we will be welcoming our new 2017-2018 Leadership Pipeline mentors and mentees.  They are in for an equally exciting ride through the next year when they attend the Fall Conference in Wichita and begin their journey.  The new 2017-2018 RMASFAA Leadership Pipeline mentors and mentees are:

Jessica Francisschetti (MT) – Crystal Roach (KS)
Kent McGowan (MT) – Micah Hansen (SD)
Jenny Lee Adler (CO) – Steve Enriquez (KS)
Rob Drybread (CO) – Ashley Stevenson (UT)
Sara Vancil (KS) – Karina Moulton (MT)
Cindy Hejl (CO) – Justin Beach (MT)
Lois Madsen (KS) – Bailey Jorgensen (NE)
Art Young (UT) – Jana Parks (KS)
Dori Roth (KS) – Sarah Standley (NE)
Sheelu Surender (KS) – Carissa Koerner (SD)

Shauna Savage
Shauna Savage
Assistant Director, Financial Aid
Montana Tech

Leadership Pipeline: Katie Nelson


Continuing the Leadership Pipeline series. The eight participants that make up this year’s class will share their experiences about participating in RMASFAA’s professional development program.

Leadership Pipeline

When I was looking through my folder of assorted notes, instructions, and schedules from Leadership Pipeline, I found the handout I received on my first day at the RMASFAA Conference in 2016, with my mentor’s picture, biography, and quote. The quote that Brenda Hicks had chosen: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts” by Winston Churchill. That quote really resonated with me this morning, as I drink my coffee and attempt to complete some work before the students wake up, start calling, and try pushing down the door to get into the office. It is the courage to continue that counts. We come in to work every day, not only because we love our jobs, but because we have the courage to continue. We all know that our jobs can be challenge at times. The most valuable thing Leadership Pipeline has given me is a network of colleagues, who have become friends, who can relate to the busy times with students and can provide support. Ironically, most of these people also drink coffee.

I am starting my 5th academic year as a financial aid counselor at Black Hills State University. My path to Leadership Pipeline started at the 2016 SDASFAA Spring Conference. Our Executive Board was really advocating volunteerism. They put these colorful little papers on all the tables, so you could sign up for what committees you wanted to be on. Then they spoke again about what Board positions would be opening up that fall. Up until that point, I had been involved with the regional association, but hadn’t done much at the state level. As the conference went on, I observed that the Treasurer seems to have to speak in front of everyone the least. I thought, I could probably do that job, since it was one of the open positions. I spoke with a couple people about it, and they were incredibly supportive, so I thought I’d send the email after the conference. At the Business Meeting portion of the conference, I actually paid attention, and discovered that SDASFAA offers a scholarship for Leadership Pipeline participants, and mentioned that South Dakota hadn’t had any participants in some time. After listening to Joe Donlay speak about the program during the RMASFAA update, I thought it might be a good learning opportunity, with a potentially new treasurer position. To conclude my already long story, I was offered the Treasurer position on interim in July, and started my official term and my year in Leadership Pipeline in October.  It has been an exciting ride of volunteerism. (I also learned that the Treasurer position is quite a bit of work, along with minimal public speaking J )

Brenda Hicks has been a wonderful mentor throughout this process. I give huge kudos to the Leadership Pipeline committee for their ability to match up mentors and mentees. Brenda and I first met in January 2013 at the Summer Institute planning session. We were paired together as roommates, and she helped me create my financial aid super hero name, which sadly, I cannot remember. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her and utilizing her expertise. We have many things in common, we are both efficient, sarcastic, and enjoy red wine. I was also fortunate enough to have Brenda as the thought leader for the Association Management Pathway of the NASFAA Leadership & Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. this past March. We were able to meet before the conference, and enjoy an evening tour of the monuments, and discuss the upcoming sessions. Even though she had a lot going on with her role in the conference, she was always sure to touch base with me about previous sessions, and to see what I had learned.

I would highly recommend this program to anyone who is newly getting involved in their state or regional association, or to anyone who has no idea what to do to get involved. Leadership Pipeline is the platform to see what kind of involvement opportunities are out there. You can hear from mentors who have held every leadership position ever created. Even if you don’t see yourself as the next president-elect, Leadership Pipeline can help you to get more involved on your campus, or even within your own office, heading a financial literacy movement. There is something for everyone, and you will only find yourself wanting to do more. I think that was the biggest thing I was looking to come away with at the end of Leadership Pipeline. I wanted to learn from the best, how to do it all, their full-time jobs, their volunteerism, and their families. The Leadership Pipeline class of 2016-17 did not disappoint.

Leadership Pipeline: Kelly Whittekiend


Continuing the Leadership Pipeline series. The eight participants that make up this year’s class will share their experiences about participating in RMASFAA’s professional development program.

KellyPic.jpg

 

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

I am the Financial Aid Manager at Dixie Technical College (DX Tech) in St. George, UT. I have worked in financial aid since March 2014.

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

My mentor is Julie Wilson, previous Financial Aid Director of LCCC.

The committee couldn’t have picked a better mentor for me. I am a very direct person and some individuals aren’t sure how to handle me. Julie has the amazing ability to handle all my questions and craziness. I am so glad that I have had the opportunity to work with her.

Why did you decide to join Leadership Pipeline?

I learned about Leadership Pipeline from the RMASFAA newsletter.  I wanted to join Leadership Pipeline to know more about financial aid and feel more comfortable in my role at DX Tech. After speaking with the Student Services Director and explaining to him what the program was all about, he wanted me to apply so I grow in my position.

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

The most valuable thing that I have learned so far is that we all struggle with similar issues like communication, gainful employment, what department is in charge of specific tasks, programs making changes without letting the appropriate people know. By having our monthly meetings I have learned how other schools deal with these issues. I have also learned that if I ever need any information, the mentees and mentors will always be there for me.

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

I know this program will help me become more comfortable in my position and grow as person. I have learned to delegate and say no to projects that don’t really belong to me, organize my day, have a Zero Inbox philosophy and how to communicate with difficult people.

Why would you recommend the Leadership Pipeline program to others?

I would recommend the program to anyone that is new to financial aid and wants to grow in their position. This program has tons of valuable information and will introduce you to great contacts. Because of the monthly meetings with my mentor Julie, the monthly conference calls and the discussions that come from reading “You’re The Director” I have been able to grow in my position.

Leadership Pipeline: Dani Reynolds


Continuing the Leadership Pipeline series. The eight participants that make up this year’s class will share their experiences about participating in RMASFAA’s professional development program.

Susan and I at 2016 RMASFAA
Susan and I at the 2016 RMASFAA Conference

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

I am a Financial Aid Counselor at Newman University.  I have worked in financial aid since October 2015.

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

My mentor is Susan Stephenson of Eastern Wyoming College.  

Despite her being a cat person to my dog person, we have built a wonderful friendship!  She greeted me at the 2016 RMASFAA Conference with the cutest outfit for my son who was born a few months later. Her generosity doesn’t just extend to gifts for cute babies. She’s always willing to offer support and I always look forward to our monthly check-ins.  

Why did you decide to join Leadership Pipeline?

I learned about Leadership Pipeline at Summer Institute and thought it sounded like fun. I was still pumped up from SI and wanted to get involved. At the time, Leadership Pipeline was happening every other year and I didn’t want to miss my opportunity. I’m so thrilled that they’re starting a new class at the upcoming RMASFAA Conference.

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

I love hearing what other challenges people are facing to see what we have in common. The longer I work in financial aid, the easier it is to find solutions or point at a resource that could help. Having a good network of people is wonderful for when I get stumped and they are able to do the same for me.

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

I have loved Leadership Pipeline and I’m definitely coming away with everything I hoped for.  The call with all of the mentors and mentees is a highlight of my month. I’ve had several light-bulb moments during calls where I need to implement something immediately.  

Why would you recommend the Leadership Pipeline program to others?

I would recommend Leadership Pipeline to anyone wants to stay in financial aid for the long term and get involved. I would especially like to recommend Leadership Pipeline if you are on the fence because you feel like you’re really busy but you want to participate anyway. I almost didn’t apply because I was having a baby a few months after our Leadership Pipeline year together began and didn’t know just how busy I would be after he was born. I am SO glad that I did. I even hope to be on the other side as a mentor someday.

Join Leadership Pipeline!


Have you ever thought about…

  • Presenting at your State, Regional or National Conference?
  • Becoming a Board or Committee member on your Financial Aid Association Boards?
  • Approaching your Vice President with an idea to increase productivity?
  • Applying for the supervisor position in your department?
  • How your mood sets the tone for the day?
  • Achieving your goals one step at a time?
  • Making a commitment to be a part of a team?
  • How great it would be to have a professional mentor one phone call away when you need them?

mentor

If you have pondered these thoughts, check out what RMASFAA’s Leadership Pipeline can help you achieve.  Leadership training and mentoring is available for RMASFAA members.

Applications are available NOW for October of 2017: http://www.rmasfaa.org/docs/forms/LeadershipPipeline_Application2017-18.pdf  .

Apply TODAY and meet a new mentor!

If you have questions, please contact Janet Riis (jriis@carroll.edu or 406-447-5423).