Monday, May 4, 2015

MASFAA Leader Spotlight: Thomas Ratliff

Welcome to our second in a series of MASFAA Leader Spotlight posts (see our first post here). Throughout the year, we'll try to interview some of the leaders on the MASFAA Executive Council. Next up is MASFAA Delegate at Large, Thomas Ratliff. It's also important to note that Thomas was recently elected as President-Elect for the 2015-2016 MASFAA Executive Council. Thomas is Associate Vice President at Indiana Wesleyan University.

Could you briefly describe the route you took to becoming active in a MASFAA leadership role?

My activities in MASFAA actually started over 20 years ago in SASFAA. Early in my Financial Aid career a mentor encouraged me to invest in my profession to help my peers just as they (and he) had helped me. I agreed and was able to serve SWASFAA as a Conference Daily Newsletter Editor before I moved into the SWASFAA region. There I again engaged as a committee member, chair and eventually served as SWASFAA President. Contributing to MASFAA is very natural for me. I have been allowed to serve MASFAA’s Federal Issues Committee, Conference Program Committee and Professional Development Committee.

Why were you interested in a MASFAA leadership role?

I enjoy helping others succeed.  Helping lead MASFAA is a fulfilling way to make a difference.  In return, I always feel like I receive back as much as I give. 

What recommendations do you have for someone who is interested in holding a MASFAA elected position? Where should they get started? 

Considering the Delegate at Large role is a great beginning.  It offers you a chance to see the internal workings of the association, plus as a coordinator for multiple committees you become much more familiar with the specifics of committee work.

What advice do you have for someone who was just elected to a MASFAA leadership role? 

Read everything you receive from association members right away.  Jump into the conversations giving the best ideas and opinions you have to offer.  Remember you were entrusted to serve by your peers who elected you.  Serve them well with confidence.

What have you learned from your leadership role that you were not expecting? 

I didn’t realize going in that Delegates at Large help to coordinate the activities of multiple committees.  That was a welcomed surprise that has allowed me to become more engaged with MASFAA.  I really appreciate having that opportunity as part of my MASFAA Board experience.

What tips do you have for being an effective leader? 

Listen and care about your people.  Do whatever you can to help ensure their success and personal feelings of accomplishment. 

Any final thoughts? 

It is really great to get to know peers from around our region.  I sincerely recommend getting more involved with your regional association to contribute and grow personally.  MASFAA is worth your energy and time.

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