I just returned from my first Mountain States Association of Community Colleges (MSACC) Conference and it was a truly fantastic experience. In January 2020, I began my first presidency. What a wild ride it has been. Even though I have a wonderfully talented Executive Team and incredibly supportive Board of Trustees, it still was a very challenging year full of ups, downs, unknowns, and educated guesses. While I was lucky enough to have a few friends and mentors that I could lean on for advice when I needed them, there were still times of self-doubt and countless moments of stress and indigestion.
When I first accepted the presidency at Miles Community College, my former boss and mentor immediately told me, “you have to attend the MSACC Conference!” I just laughed and said I definitely would. Well let me tell you that this might have been the best advice she has ever given me! The conference far exceeded my expectations. Typically, when you attend a conference, there are good session and not so good sessions. If I walk away feeling that half of the sessions were valuable, I check it off as a “successful conference”.
At MSACC, every session was terrific! The topics were timely, pointed, and enriching. I can honestly say that I enjoyed each one of them. Perhaps even more valuable was the meeting, interacting, sharing, and learning that occurred from my colleagues. A president’s position can be lonely. While the work is extremely rewarding it is equally challenging. Having the opportunity to meet and talk with my peers, ask questions, share thoughts, brainstorm ideas, and just listen to them was some of the best time I have every professionally spent. I left the conference with renewed energy and excitement for the upcoming academic year. The other thing I left with was a new group of colleagues that I look forward to learning from, leaning on, and helping in the coming days, months, and years. I am already looking forward to next year’s conference and hope to renew these friendships and build new ones. If you couldn’t make this year’s conference, please make it a priority to attend next years. I promise that it will be decision you will not regret.
Miles Community College