(by Heidi Carl, Professional Development Chair)
We all know what being a leader means. Or at least we think we do. Maybe you think of a leader as someone who guides or directs a group? Maybe you think of a leader as somebody who people follow? Maybe you think of a leader as someone with power or influence over others? Maybe you think of a leader as not just having power or influence but also having vision, values, intelligence, and personality?
We all have different ideas of what being a leader really means and I’m sure some of our ideas have come from people we admire for their leadership abilities. Their abilities to inspire us to do more, to do better, to inspire others, to believe in ourselves are what make us think about these leaders with admiration and respect. Our leadership mentors are the people in our lives who challenge us to stretch ourselves to reach our full potential as a financial aid professional and as a productive member of our community.
Some of those great leaders are the people serving our Midwest association as our executive council, delegates at large, state presidents and committee chairs. On top of the daily financial aid jobs they do, they have chosen to guide our membership toward a common mission. It isn’t a glamorous leadership position and it doesn’t come with much pay either. In all actuality the pay is really like the Mastercard commercial—PRICELESS. The leadership examples these individuals provide for the entire membership are just that—PRICELESS.
These leaders are doing more by giving beyond their daily job. They are doing better by helping us all to learn and communicate about the latest trends and information regarding financial aid. They are inspiring all of us to see our work as valuable to the students and families we serve. They are helping us believe in ourselves by offering workshops and training to build our confidence in our financial aid knowledge and skills. They are all truly mentoring the entire membership through their leadership examples.
If you want to be a MASFAA leader, then you need to attend the MASFAA Leadership Symposium. Every year MASFAA offers a Leadership Symposium, in the summer, to encourage individuals who are leaders or are aspiring leaders to develop or continue on their leadership development path. The Leadership Symposium is open to two individuals from each of the nine states in the MASFAA region. Participants are chosen by their state leaders as great representatives of that state, as well as individuals looking to do more by serving MASFAA in the future. The Leadership Symposium this year will be held on the campus of IUPUI in Indianapolis on June 2-5, 2015. If you are interested in growing more as a leader and serving MASFAA in the future please contact your state president for more information on the opportunity to attend the MASFAA Leadership Symposium 2015. The experience will challenge you and help you increase your leadership knowledge and it might even indeed be PRICELESS!