Leadership Pipeline: Class of 2018

The final leadership legacy statements from Leadership Pipeline, Class of 2018! Congratulations to you all!!

I would like my leadership legacy to be that I lead with my whole heart and my actions always are in the best interest of the students.

Karina Moulton



I would like my leadership legacy to be that I lead with a compassion for the people that I worked with and the students that we served.  That others felt understood and valued, allowing them to find and develop their best selves.

Micah Hansen


Leadership Pipeline: Class of 2018

Here are a few more leadership legacy statements from our newest class of graduates!

I would like my leadership legacy to be that I am a leader who inspires and motivates her colleagues, who is dependable and knowledgeable in whatever role I take on, and that my leadership is one of integrity and inclusiveness.

Carissa Koerner



My leadership legacy is to give optimistic inspiration for others take every challenge as an opportunity.  I lead with my positive attitude by challenging myself every day, so I can become a strong leader.  I want to empower confidence in others so they know their courage, vision and determination will guide them to greater opportunities.

Ashley Stevenson

Ashley Stevenson - DMCI Recipient

2018/2019 RMASFAA President’s Welcome

Myra Pfannenstiel President Elect

What an amazing journey this past year has been and now the fun begins:  I got the gavel.

All kidding aside, it is my honor and privilege to serve as the 2018-2019 RMASFAA president. I was reminded early on this year what a gift life is and that my journey continues with a new appreciation for family, friends, and colleagues who I have met along the way. Having several weeks off gave me the opportunity to reflect on my own journey and where it has led me. I discovered that I was happiest when I focused on what I GET to do and not what I HAVE to do. Therefore, I changed how I started each day. I would no longer focus on that long list of tasks that awaited me but would take a moment to be mindful of all the blessings that were before me and everything I would GET to do that day.

As I prepared for the transitional board meeting, it was exciting to think about everything we will GET to do this next year from creating a budget (okay – I prefer spending plan), goal setting, strategic long-range plans, but most important, meeting new people and embracing new ideas. I knew I wanted to continue with our focus on inclusion. How will the RMASFAA board ensure we are putting our best efforts into helping others find their place within our organization? A place where they feel welcome, can contribute, have their voice heard, and feel accepted.

I want to share with you about a new friend I met recently. His name is Monte. Monte was born and raised in Fargo, ND, the son of a farmer. Coming from a conservative family and community, Monte knew he wouldn’t be able to stay in Fargo. His big dreams and aspirations drove him to leave shortly after graduation and head to New York City. He lived an exciting and extraordinary life in theatre and dance. After a successful 35-year career, he had a strong desire and calling to return home, even though he still felt he would not be accepted. Monte said, “When I was growing up in this area, I had nothing to compare myself to.” He felt alone and fearful. After returning to Fargo in 2003, he opened the infamous Monte’s restaurant in downtown. It was there he met his life partner Jerry. He and Jerry continued to explore career paths and ventured into party planning. In 2014, they threw their biggest party to date – their own wedding with 350 guests at the ceremony and 900 guests at the reception.

When Monte and Jerry decided to get married, they wanted to do it publicly and in a big way. It would be a statement. The evening of their wedding, he again thought, “This is going to be a statement no one can ignore – we are making a difference for those who will follow us.” As both he and Jerry looked out over their guests, they realized that the only people who were making a difference and statement were those 900 people who chose to show up and join them for their celebration. They were the ones that made a difference. Monte said, “It was so amazing to find that kind of acceptance right here in Fargo.” He knew they would continue to throw parties, but they would never again be ‘by exclusive-invite only’ but ‘by inclusive-invite’.  Their last garden party involved everyone who lived on their street, in their neighborhood, and the next neighborhood over.

His message to everyone would be: That if there is even one person  –  even one poor farm kid like he was, who felt left out, alone with no reassurance that they would be accepted – he wanted them to know not to be afraid and to just look at how the Fargo community showed up and embraced him in 2014.

After hearing Monte’s story, my thoughts were: How do we, as RMASFAA, reach out to our own – so they do not feel alone, left out, or afraid they will not be accepted? At the start of our conference, Greg Tehven provided us with insight on how to ‘build the community we want to live in’. Two words stayed with me, “Show Up”. The simplest step in building a community is showing up.

How can we take both these messages and apply them to our own lives, our schools, and our organizations? How do we help others feel welcome and included? We need to do more than talk about it – we need to do something. We need to do what those 900 wedding reception guests did for Monte and Jerry and “Show Up”.

I am going to ask you to show up for your family, your friends, your students, show up for your staff, show up for your colleagues, show up for your state, regional or national associations. Show up as you are. You don’t have to be prepared for every challenge. You don’t have to know how every situation will turn out. You don’t have to know all the answers or be completely ready. You don’t have to be perfect. You just need to show up as you. Don’t let fear and insecurities stop you. You might think hey – I am not ready yet – just say yes – you will not regret it. I know I have not. That first ‘yes’ has taken me on an amazing adventure. Do not worry about what others will think or say. This is about you, your journey, and your adventure. Show up just as you are.

I promise you, I will show up – just as I am, not knowing all the answers, not being completely ready and definitely not perfect, but I will still show up. I will show up to do the work, enjoy the journey, be excited about what we GET to do, and hopefully get to know more of you.

All my best,


Leadership Pipeline: Class of 2018

Here are a few more leadership legacy statements from our newest graduates!

I want my leadership legacy to be one of values and relationship.  I want to help my co-workers see their value and worth, but also challenge them to grow professionally.  I want to help students and families as they navigate student aid and be a piece that helps the student achieve their educational dream.  Above all else I want to be a leader that glorifies and honors God in all that I do.

Jana Parks

Jana Parks 2

In my role as a leader, I will strive to make connections with those who I lead.  I will serve as a support system to provide anything my staff members need in order to be successful.  I will try to build upon each individual’s strengths, and I will encourage them to feel energized by their personal successes.  I will strive to celebrate individual accomplishments and to be a beacon of positivity even in grim situations.  In turn, watching my staff grow and develop will be a constant source of my own personal joy and fulfillment.

Sarah Standley

Sarah Standley

Leadership Pipeline: Class of 2018

Check out some of the Leadership Legacy statements from our newest class of graduates! A couple statements will be posted throughout the next few weeks. Enjoy!

I want my leadership to reflect that I work to make compassionate, ethical decisions, and communicate a guiding vision that promotes cooperation and provides growth opportunities for others to reach our shared mission and their personal goals.

Justin Beach

my pic

I would like my leadership legacy to be that I empower others and see the potential they might not see in themselves.  I will lead by example and leave others inspired to push themselves and persevere when any opportunity arises.

Bailey Jorgensen

Bailey Jorgensen 1

Happy Financial Aid Day!

If you read today’s edition of NASFAA’s Today’s News you saw that today is Financial Aid Day (FAD)! This day is celebrated every year on the 3rd Wednesday in October. Take time today to thank that special financial aid professional in your life. Thank you for all you do for our students!




Monday, October 24, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the objectives of Financial Aid Day (FAD). FAD reserves the third Wednesday in October to honor the role financial aid professionals across the United States play in helping students realize their dream of attaining a college education.

Today, student aid is under attack, despite that the fact that millions of students rely on and benefit from federal student aid each year. In fact, the number of students applying for federal financial assistance increased to approximately 19.5 million in 2010-2011, up by nearly seven million students since 2006-2007. From school years 1999-2000 to 2009-2010, the total amount of Title IV federal financial aid awarded to students jumped from $62.1 billion to an estimated $146.5 billion, an increase of 136 percent.

FAD recognizes that assisting

citizens of all ages to attain a higher education puts aid administrators among the forefront of this nation’s efforts to compete in the global economy and contribute to the common good. Without such dedicated administrators, an untold number of students from diverse financial backgrounds would not be able to continue their pursuit of higher education due to a lack of necessary information and counseling.

Mr. Speaker, a post-secondary education would be unachievable for many of our nation’s students without federal student aid. As such, I welcome the opportunity to honor those who serve these students on a daily basis. I support the goals of Financial Aid Day and I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to recognize the important role played by financial aid professionals in helping students realize their college dreams.

Final 2017-18 President Update

It was so great to see many of you at the 2018 RMASFAA Annual Conference in Fargo.   We had a terrific conference from start to finish with an excellent program and a very special 50th Anniversary celebration.   My very favorite part of serving you this past year has been the opportunity to visit and meet with RMASFAA members.   Here is an update from the final 2018 RMASFAA Board Meeting:

Thanks to wonderful input from our membership, Association Governance and your RMASFAA Board, the Board voted on and approved our new strategic loan range plan for 2019-2021.  Our new strategic long range plan concentrates our efforts in three major areas:

  1. Strengthening the Annual Conference Experience
  2. State and Regional Collaboration and Support
  3. Fiscal Stability and Transparency

This year we implemented a new orientation program for our incoming state delegates to the board, which was in conjunction with the transitional board meeting.  This orientation assists them in preparing for their duties and responsibilities on the RMASFAA Board.

The Board implemented more controls for additional oversight of the Treasurer’s duties.  Consistently our auditors have asked us to put in more controls and security measures for the Treasurer.   With input from our Treasurer and Finance and Audit, we have put in additional safeguards regarding credit card usage for the treasurer with oversight from the Vice Chair of Finance and Audit.  The Board also approved adding the Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee as an approved individual on the investment accounts for greater oversight of financial transactions.

The Board approved granting the Treasurer and Treasurer Elect permission to utilize online banking.  This move streamlines the payment procedure, increases oversight over reimbursement and billing, provides faster turnaround in sending out payments and uploads checks directly into QuickBooks.  There were no additional fees moving to online banking.

It has been an honor, privilege and pleasure serving you this past year.  As I stated in my farewell remarks:

“I’ve been trying to come up with something profound to tell you about the experience I’ve had this past year as your president, but only two words keep coming to mind – “THANK YOU”.  I hope I have given back to you a fraction over this past year of what you have given to me.  This past year you have welcomed me, included me, challenged me and taken me out of my comfort zone.   Most of all you have provided me friendship and support and I will value the time I’ve spent with you always.”

All my best,

Ken Kocer