What is your current position and how long have you worked in financial aid?
Hello from the windiest place in Wyoming, Casper! My name is Anna Miller, some call me Anna Banana around these parts. I am the Hathaway and Scholarship Specialist at Casper College. I have been in the financial aid world since 2011….Doesn’t feel like it has been 9 years. I first started at the counter in our one stop shop called Enrollment Services. I think a year later I moved into processing federal financial aid, with loans being my specialty. Then 7 years later I moved into my current position. I love that I have gotten to experience been part of both worlds (Little Mermaid financial aid pun).
Why did you decide to join Leadership Pipeline?
One of my colleagues was going thru it. She shared a lot of valuable information and experiences from the monthly meetings and the time spent at the RMASFAA meetings. Soon after that I moved into my current position and decided I wanted to grow professionally. With the support of my team, I had the new-found desire to take some leadership roles. But I was uncertain how to go about becoming a leader. That word was never in my vocabulary, for the longest time I was content in being a worker bee. In 2018 I showed interest for the program. I was fearful of stepping out of my comfort zone. The next year I was encouraged by a couple of coworkers to sign up. The seed was planted and slowly my coworkers began to water it thru the year. I applied and was accepted in! I love everything financial aid. It’s really true what they say, you never go to school to become a financial aid guru. You dive right in and never want to leave.
What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned so far?
The most valuable thing I’ve learned so far is that I AM WORTHY. My self confidence has spiked. I really thought I was an introvert until this program. I find myself being more of an extrovert with a “introvert coverup”. Leadership Pipeline is giving me the confidence to break free from this comfort zone and really shine. I am finding that I have valuable experiences and knowledge to share. I feel so much more confident in our industry. I also find very valuable the importance of relationship building. We are luck that we are in an industry that we can lean on one another for guidance.
What is it that you are hoping to gain at the end of the program? Personal goal? Skill set?
I am hoping to maintain those relationships I am building with my peers. I would like to become more involved with my campus community. I’m looking forward to my extrovert self-coming out to shine. Having more confidence will allow me to be a better advocate in our industry and the individuals we serve. This program will allow me to be confident in my decision-making skills. I’ve already completed another goal and became involved at the state level as sectary. I’m starting to ponder volunteering with the next RMASFAA in Omaha, NE. I’m sure by the end I’ll be submitting that volunteer form.
Why would you recommend this program to others?
Why not? What would you lose out on? Absolutely nothing. I walked into this program thinking, well now I have something else to add to my overloaded plate. I felt that pit of your stomach feeling, knowing that I’m going to be interacting with strangers…YIKES. I hope I don’t let my mentor or cohort down. Well let me tell you something. You will be surprised by this program. You walk in thinking it’s something and it’s the opposite. If you lack confidence, you will gain it. If you want to build relationships, you will build them. If you want to be more knowledgeable in our industry and leadership in general, you will learn and grow. As soon as we had our first meeting in Billings, MT at RMASFAA, all those previous negative thoughts got shoved out the door. Meeting my mentor and cohort laid a good foundation of what to expect. It really made me excited for the coming year and what we all would be experiencing. My only advice to you is this, if you have any hint of interest, don’t wait a year later like I did. Grab the bull by the horn and dive right in.