School and Year: FRCC ’13
Major: Art History & Magazine Journalism
Leadership position: VP of Public Relations for Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, Press Secretary of Art Club, staff writer for Front Page newspaper, co-founder of GSA
How do you define leadership?
My definition of a leader is someone who inspires innovation, motivates others, asks questions, and always acknowledges the help he or she receives. As someone who has a very deep connection with the arts and creativity, I’ve noticed that the most effective way to be a good leader is to get people to use their imaginations. It seems like a simple task but, especially in a learning environment, people become stuck their ways very quickly. A leader is the person encouraging new ways of thinking and new ways of considering solutions. Potential is everywhere, the leader cultivates it.
What first inspired you to become a student leader/get your current position?
It actually wasn’t so much “inspiration” as it was: “Sure, why not?”
Two people in my art history class were forming the Art Club and asked for my help to promote it. Since promoting artists is primarily what I am getting my degrees for, I saw it as a great opportunity to get started. Right after that, I was encouraged to join the school newspaper as a writer and another opportunity was taken.
My last two positions were actually pursued but had basically the same story: Me finding out about the opportunities and taking advantage of them. I found out about the Vice President of Public Relations positions with Phi Theta Kappa at my orientation and instantly wanted it on my résumé, so I ran for the position uncontested and was magically elected.
I had heard that there was interest in starting the Genders & Sexualities Alliance at the campus but no one wanted to lead it, so I made my managing editor for the paper lead the way and we did what we could.
I was initially weary of pursuing any leadership roles at the school because of some bad experiences in the past, but I am so grateful that I did and I couldn’t imagine my last semester being any better.
What is one experience (any kind) you think everyone should have?
It probably isn’t for everyone, but I highly encourage changing your career path at least once. Let me explain:
I was a hair stylist for 4 years at a very prestigious salon in Denver. I was having a blast doing photo shoots, fashion shows, and living a fabulous (albeit broke) lifestyle. However, I also came to a realization: I don’t like having clients. I’m great with doing assignments or projects for people, but I detest small talk. I’d rather have meaningful conversations with people and it’s difficult to do that while talking through a mirror. Slowly, my passion for hair died and so did my time with the salon.
But that’s where my story really began. Instead of continuing on a career path that I didn’t have any passion for, I took some time to find myself. I spent a year and a half reading books I’d been wanting to read. That seems crazy in hindsight but that’s what I did. I don’t even know how many books I read, I just read one after another and would probably still be reading if I hadn’t been encouraged to return to school.
I’m not going to lie, it sucked being even more broke for so long but it made my mind start working again. It woke me up and forced me to start thinking critically and paying attention to my thoughts. It also widened my range of interests and probably inspired my change in degree path last year also.
What was your number one take-away from DFT?
My number one take away from DFT was to get out of the way. It was so easy to become frantically concerned about the success of events that I found myself not enjoying them. After DFT, I said, “Screw it,” and decided to have fun with the events instead. It really helped during the PTK completion commitment drive. While everyone else was worrying about getting hundreds of signatures, I concentrated on encouraging the culture of completion and having conversations with my peers. We did get hundreds of signatures but I found that a positive attitude drove the success a lot further than perfect planning. Of course, my happy playlist probably didn’t hurt
What is your go-to happy song?
Tricky, tricky… I have go-to happy playlists but I guess I’ll whittle it down to just one song.
After considerable consideration, I believe my happiest song of the moment is Janelle Monáe’s “Dance Apocalyptic”. Not only is Janelle Monáe incredibly talented, it is such a fun song to nerd-out to and dance like a fool even if everyone’s watching. Plus, it’s something I would do: thanking people for dancing until the end.