Can you share how and why did you become a member of ACHE?
In my various roles throughout my career, it has always been very important to me to be engaged in the field through professional associations. Learning, the networking, the opportunities just sort of came to me because of my engagement. In my role as Director of Programs at Continuing Education at Concordia University in Montreal Quebec, I was looking for a new association that would support my professional goals with a strong community of practice. After attending three days in New Orleans, I knew I found my people.
Tell us the story. What got you engaged with ACHE? Why do you stay engaged with ACHE?
I am a newcomer to ACHE; I was inspired by the energy at the conference. Everyone was so welcoming and inclusive. They were there because they believe in the importance of this professional community of practice. The organizers were very intentional to make the first-timers welcome and as a result, I made meaningful connections with professionals from a different higher-ed institutions across the US. As a Canadian, I have always looked south of the border for professional development due to the number of institutions across the US – bringing different perspectives and insights. I have a strong American identity growing up on the Canada-US border, so I always feel very much at home.
What is the greatest leadership lesson you’ve learned from your experience with ACHE?
It can be intimidating for anyone new joining a new association. Even with my long professional history, stepping into a room with a new group of people can be scary for this shy extrovert. ACHE members were so friendly and welcoming - it set the right tone for me to just jump in and get my feet wet. As leaders, we must remind ourselves that many people approach new experiences with apprehension and when leading we need to create an environment where people feel important, valued and part of the greater collective. By doing so, we will encourage participation and engagement.
How has being a part of ACHE enhanced your professional competencies and/or your career progression?
I attended the DEIB track at the conference. In fact, this workshop was one of my goals for attending the conference. The facilitator put us on a reflective journey to explore our attitudes and behaviors which was the right approach when learning about DEIB. It is not textbook stuff – if you truly want to influence change, you must live it. Since the conference, I have been working with my team on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI – that is what we call it at Concordia). Very applicable to our Strategic Goals at Concordia.
What is something unique or special about your ACHE Region that you would like to share with others?
Do I have a region? I would love to float – possibly to the southern region in winter!
Is there anything else you would like to share with readers about your experience with ACHE?
The people are wonderful, and I feel like I’ve made friends for life. I look forward to bringing my professional experience forward to contribute to the growth and development of the association.