Take a Chance on YOU

by Michele Kersten-Hart
Oakland Community College
Bloomfield Hills, MI

I’ve been working in marketing for more than 27 years, and I’m still learning new things. Heck, I still enjoy taking on new challenges, even when I’m in unfamiliar territory.

NCMPR often presents me with new challenges, allowing me the opportunity to grow in directions I never expected. I find myself taking on tasks I never thought I could, with constant encouragement from my peers.

As an example, I always wanted to be a writer, but I never actually pursued the dream. Early in my NCMPR “career” as a member of the board of directors, I found myself quickly raising my hand in the air and saying “I’ll do it” when asked to volunteer to write a post for the NCMPR blog and an article for AACC’s CC Daily. I agonized over it a little but enjoyed the process. This was my start.

This year, I’m serving as NCMPR president. It’s a real professional stretch for me, and I’m admittedly a bit scared and unsure of myself. But if I want to grow, I have to put myself out there; I have to put myself in uncomfortable positions.

In my new role as president, for example, I represented NCMPR in April at the annual convention of the American Association of Community Colleges. With my colleague and fellow board member Dane Dewbre from South Plains College, I spoke about “Word of Mouth Marketing.” (I chose this subject because I believe it’s the most powerful marketing tool around.) Needless to say, my nerves were frayed. The room was packed, and my chancellor was in the audience (both good things, of course), which made me even more uneasy.

In the end, we had positive interaction among the attendees during the session, good feedback at the end, and my chancellor told me, “You did OCC proud.” Talk about a moment of growth!

This fall, I’ll be traveling on behalf of NCMPR to each of the district conferences. My travels will take me further along on my professional journey, and I’m looking forward to more opportunities to try something a little uncomfortable.

I’d be remiss if I stopped before encouraging YOU to get more involved in NCMPR. Take advantage of the many opportunities NCMPR has to offer. Consider writing a blog, presenting a webinar or conference breakout, becoming a state representative, or stepping up to district director. You CAN do it! I recently heard this statement: “You don’t make mistakes, mistakes make you.” I hope you’re willing to take a chance on YOU!

Michele Kersten-Hart is the NCMPR president and the manager of multimedia and web services at Oakland Community College in Michigan.

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