Leadership Pipeline: Where are they now?

Sara GossmanSara Gossman
GetCounseling Project Manager

Why did you join Leadership Pipeline?

I joined Leadership Pipeline to learn and grow in my professional experience. I wanted to learn from seasoned financial aid professionals. I knew that if I wanted to grow my career, I needed to take this next step.

Did you learn anything from your Leadership Pipeline experience that you still apply in your career today?

Through Leadership Pipeline, I learned a lot about leadership. Through my conversations with my mentor and other mentees, I found the qualities of leadership I want to work under, including the qualities that I want to encompass as a leader myself. Today, I would consider this to be inclusive leadership. I believe in creating an inclusive environment that works as a team. A team that can come together with ideas and felt like they have been heard. This team should foster training on all levels from customer service and helping students, to understanding the rules and regulations of financial aid. One cannot be done without the other when working with students.

What has changed in your professional life since you participated in Leadership Pipeline?

Since I participated in the Leadership Pipeline class, I moved up to a counselor role at a 4-year public university and more recently made the transition to the private sector. I am now a Project Manager at Ocelot, a private tech company that supports higher education. I help keep the content of our short financial aid videos up to date and current with regulations while making them appealing to the student demographic. These videos are used to help educate students on financial aid processes, from applying for financial aid, to SAP, to repayment.

Would you recommend this program to other financial aid professionals?  Why or why not?

I would recommend this program to anyone who is wanting to enhance their career. No matter what stage of your career you are in, there is something you can learn from one of the great mentors that you may be partnered with. I found working with my mentor beneficial in discussing current challenges and future goals for my career.

Submitted by Cassie Seamans, Association News member

(Photo by  Patrick Campbell/University of Colorado)

Are you joining us??

Are you joining us for the RMASFAA Conference in October?

October 20-23, 2019 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Billings, MT

Coming into Billings a day or two early?

Billings offers a variety of local restaurants and breweries, walking trails, museums, and a zoo!

Check out the links below for more information



Haven’t registered for the 2019 RMASFAA Conference yet? There’s still time!

Conference registration is still open: https://www.rmasfaa.org/docs/toc_conferences.html

Don’t forget to book your hotel! Make sure to book by October 4th for the special room rate: https://doubletree.hilton.com/en/dt/groups/personalized/B/BILDTDT-AID-20191014/index.jhtml

See you in October!


NASFAA’s Diversity Leadership Program: Applications Due Friday!!

Diversity Leadership Program

NASFAA’s Diversity Leadership Program (DLP) provides selectees from a wide range of diverse backgrounds with a robust portfolio of benefits, mentorship, and guidance on how to develop as a financial aid association leader at the state, regional, and national level. Applications are reviewed annually and six institutional members of NASFAA, one from each region, are selected by a group of their colleagues.DLP

The program, unveiled in 2018, was developed through extensive conversations with NASFAA’s Diversity Officer, the NASFAA Board of Directors, and regional association leaders.

Applications for the 2019-20 Diversity Leadership Program are now open. Applications must be submitted by Friday, September 27, 2019.

Apply Now

Faces of Leadership Pipeline: Class of 2019

Hello, RMASFAA! This is the LAST blog post from the great Leadership Pipeline Class of 2019!! Holy cow, hard to believe another year has come and gone.

September’s post is from Courtney Lockhart, Wichita State University, KS.

Courtney Lockhart Picture

  • Your current position and how long you’ve worked in FA?

I am currently the Assistant Director of Student Services and Outreach at Wichita State University. I started my journey in the field of Financial Aid on November 10, 2014, giving me around 5 years of experience to date.

  • Why did you decide to join Leadership Pipeline?

From the time I first began my journey in Financial Aid at Wichita State University, I’ve had the privilege of attending awesome trainings and conferences. From the very first conference I attended in 2014, I heard about the Leadership Pipeline but didn’t know any specific details about the content of the program. A couple of years later at a conference, 2018-2019 RMASFAA President Myra Pfannenstiel strongly suggested I become a part of the program. If you know Myra, you know how that suggestion was made. After doing some research and deciding to further invest in my future in the profession, I was honored to apply and be selected.

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

In my opinion, networking is one of our most valuable stocks we have in the world of Financial Aid. This pathway has given me the opportunity to partner with a director from an office in another state for a year full of learning and professional stretching. It has allowed me to grow with other future leaders in the profession. It has also given me a better understanding of why people dedicate their lives to this part of education.

  • What is it that you are hoping to gain at the end of the program? Personal goal? Skill set?

I didn’t know what to expect when I began the program. During our first group meeting at RMASFAA 2018, I made the decision that I wanted to be a better leader/mentor by the end of the year. I set a goal to expand my circle of friends and influence within the profession, individuals I can call, text, or email regarding my experiences in the field. I also wanted to give back while being exposed to great ideas during our monthly conference calls; I wanted to be an encouragement to my fellow classmates as well as my mentor.

  • Why would you recommend this program to others?

I have learned a great deal from my year in the pipeline:

  • Mistakes will happen. Learning from them is character-building.
  • An office must have structure to function efficiently and effectively.
  • Friendship and leadership can co-exist, but a leader must distinguish the difference at the appropriate moments.
  • A lack of communication in any area in life can result in devastation.

Leadership Pipeline: Where Are They Now?


Enjoy this follow up on Mac Schwartz


From which Class/Year of Leadership Pipeline did you graduate?

I was in the 2014-2015 Leadership Pipeline class.

Why did you decide to join Leadership Pipeline?

I was encouraged by my Associate Director at the time, Connie Corcoran, after I asked if she felt Leadership Pipeline would be beneficial as I was looking for ways to grow in the profession. At the time I was looking for professional development that wasn’t directly related to financial aid regulations but for training that would help me grow in a leadership position.

What did you learn from your experience in Leadership Pipeline that you still apply in your career?

Step out of your comfort zone and get involved. You will never know what you are capable of until you try.

What changes have occurred in your professional life since you participated in Leadership Pipeline?

I have served as chair for KASFAA’s Electronic Resources & RMASFAA’s Electronic Initiatives and have continued to serve on various committees for both associations since. I was promoted to Associate Director for Processes & Compliance a little over a year ago and I am currently serving as a commissioner on the Unclassified Commission at Emporia State.

Would you recommend this program to other FA professionals?  Why or why not?

Absolutely! The excellent professional training you receive and the network you make with colleagues while being a mentee or mentor are just a couple of reasons why financial aid professionals should consider Leadership Pipeline.


Submitted by Vanessa Flipse Flipse Vanessa 040A7045

Association News Committee Member

Meet the State Delegate: Wyoming

WyASFAA was lead by Shannon Eskam of Casper College for the 18/19 year. Here is a little bit about Shannon!


Where do you work currently?

I am the Director of Student Financial Assistance at Casper College

How long have you worked in financial aid?

Since 2014

How did you get your start in higher education?

At the urging of my husband who was working in higher education, I applied for a job in Continuing Education in 2012 and the rest is history, as they say.

What was your favorite part of 18/19 and serving as WyASFAA President?

There are a lot of things that I thoroughly enjoyed. I think my favorite part was working with such a wonderful group of people in that capacity and getting involved more with RMASFAA.

How do you spend your free time?

My family means the world to me so that is where I spend most my time. We enjoy spending as much time at the lake as the Wyoming weather permits and traveling. I also love to read and you can find me with my nose in a book during any ‘me’ time.


elf fafsa

But before the calendar shows October 1st, register for the RMASFAA Conference 2019 in Billings, MT!!!

RMASFAA Conference 2019 is just over a month away!

If you are booking flights into Billings, MT you may want to also look at flying in on Saturday for a good rate. Staying over Saturday has proven to be a savings of about $300+. While you have an extra night’s hotel stay, you may still save on your overall budget.

Billings Logan International Airport is served by: Alaska, Delta, United, Frontier, and American Airlines.

You can find more information about Billings Logan Airport here: https://www.flybillings.com/

Check out the registration site todayhttps://www.rmasfaa.org/docs/toc_conferences.html

Fun things to keep you busy in Billings if you come in a day early!




See you in October!