Dalpes: Mentoring has been the single most
important aspect of my personal and career
success. I can identify mentors as far back as
my childhood. When I attended NASPA's
Alice Manicur Symposium for Women
Aspiring to be SSAOs, I found three important
mentors who continue to be valued sources of
wisdom for me today. One of these connections led to my current senior student affairs role.
I have intentionally created multiple circles of mentorship.
In addition to people who are more experienced in student
affairs, I have peer mentors with whom I regularly meet or talk
to on the phone, and I also mentor newer professionals. It is
essential that we intentionally create reflective spaces and circles of mentorship across social identities, such as race, gender
identity and expression, class, nationality, sexual orientation,
ability, and religion. In doing so, we can better understand our
individual social identities and the differences in access and
equity ascribed to our various social groups. These dialogues
can inform the development of critical leadership skills, such
as inclusive decision making, developing high-performing
teams, and managing conflict.
Jones:;If you have an opportunity to serve on a university committee at any level, take it. That opportunity can broaden your perspective and help you learn
to navigate as you move up the ladder.
Lee:;Always say thank you, and always show appreciation for staff and their hard work. Lead by example.
Never expect your staff to do something that you are
not willing to do yourself.
Waits:;Find younger mentors, and demonstrate your
concern about those who support you as well as those who
you support. Make sure you are attuned to all parts of the
organizational structure, including students.
Lee:;I have often been mentored by committee. Mentoring
by committee involves different individuals who serve a different purpose in your career development and journey. Different
mentors have served different purposes in my life. I have had
several male mentors who have shown me a different style
of leadership and how to navigate within a predominately
Waits: From the single conversation after a workshop to long-term mentoring relationships, student affairs colleagues have
sustained me over the years. They have energized me and kept
me sane in this work. NASPA plays a major role in connecting
you to others and has provided great opportunities for learning from colleagues.
Callahan:;There is a greater understanding of student affairs
as a profession, with a number of new focus areas: strategic
planning, student assessment, and learning outcomes. There is
also a greater emphasis on diversity and social justice as well as
heightened management and leadership expectations at all levels.
At the same time, there is still a significant lack of understanding and appreciation for what student affairs accom-plishes. We need to be more accountable regarding our
contributions to student learning, and we must be true
collaborators with academic affairs. We must “walk the talk.” I
am concerned for our future as a profession with the reassignment of functions to some who do not have training in the
area of student development and theory. We can not afford to
lose the student development focus. We want our graduates to
be well rounded, which is a function of our leadership, service,
Callahan:;The vice chancellor who hired me at UNC-Greensboro encouraged me to pursue my PhD to advance in
this profession. Without his advice and my PhD, I don’t know
if I would be in the position I am in today. It’s also important
to get engaged professionally in the field. It is through this
involvement that you will develop a strong network of peers
and colleagues who understand what you do and can serve as a
Dalpes:;The discourse about what it means to be a woman
leader in the workplace has changed. Some generations would
say the environment for women is better, and the numbers
may support it. In my experience, there are still pockets and
mentalities that promote a more male-dominated culture and
definition of leadership, which can appear less inclusive. The
generation of women leaders before me is very different than
my generation or the generation that follows. It would be
valuable to have more conversations between women across
generations in the field. Most of all, it is important to create
a space to ask the questions: What type of leader do I want to
be? How do I want to use my power and authority and influence? How is leadership different today than it was for those
who have gone before me?
Jacks: My best advice came from my parents who had a huge
influence on who I am today. I was always told I could be successful at anything I wanted to do. No matter what the task,
give it your best. You will go far if you remain true to yourself,
and do not get too big for your britches.
Jacks:;Difficulties created by competing family demands, lack
of opportunities for effective mentoring, higher standards of
performance for women, exclusion of women from informal
networks, and lack of opportunity to gain experience and
visibility in types of positions that facilitate advancement still
exist for some women professionals. However, the number of
women in higher education leadership positions has grown,
particularly in student affairs administration.