Saying “Yes” to Active Participation: Lessons from a an NCMPR Summer Board Meeting

by Andrea Rohlena
Western Iowa Tech Community College
Sioux City, Iowa


Last month I had a wonderful experience attending the NCMPR Summer Board meeting in Seattle. Our fearless and wonderful district director was not able to attend and asked me to go as her proxy. I was honored to be asked, and admittedly, a little apprehensive. Several thoughts of doubt went through my head. Was I qualified enough to represent my district? Would I have anything to offer? Would I be able to follow the conversation not having had previous knowledge of the NCMPR board? Despite my doubts, I said “Yes”. I wanted to help my district director and I recognized this was a great opportunity.


Any nerves I had flew out the window the moment I walked into the conference room. I was warmly welcomed by each board member as well as the NCMPR staff and was encouraged to ask questions and chime in at any point. We spent the next three days discussing strategic planning, bylaws and the handbook, budgeting, programming, membership, conferences, and more.  As I soaked in the information and listened to the discussions, three themes clearly emerged.


First, NCMPR is firmly committed to diversity equity, and inclusion. Creating an environment where people of color feel heard, safe, respected and valued was a thread of continuity in each and every discussion at the board level. Second, NCMPR exists to help us be better at our jobs. In a profession that can feel like a whirlwind of activity yet also feel isolating at times, this group is waiting to shower us with advocacy, support and resources needed to be successful. Finally, the more proactive and engaged you are in NCMPR, the more you will benefit. My early involvement with NCMPR started simply as a silent observer at regional conferences. As my participation increased, so did the rewards. I have personally experienced the benefits of putting yourself out there. NCMPR inherently rewards you with connections to amazing people, new experiences, a deeper knowledge base, and professional fulfillment.


It doesn’t take much to get started. The next time someone asks you to volunteer as a Medallion Award judge, conference coordinator, or committee member, say “Yes!” You will soon feel the rewards of active participation.


I look forward to seeing you at the National Conference in Seattle!


Andrea Rohlena is the director of marketing at Western Iowa Tech Community College in Sioux City, Iowa. She has been in higher education marketing for five years.

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