The following paragraphs are testimonials from ELSA members on what being a member has meant to them.
ELSA provided me with a really distinct professional development opportunity – not only was I able to learn about leadership, but I was able to actually practice and develop those skills in ways I never would have just based on my job description. Through ELSA, I met peers from across the university who taught me how they navigated the UC landscape; we coordinated panels from senior leadership who gave practical insight into how to best advance our careers; we invited offices from across the university to present on their work so we could learn from experts right here at home. But it was through doing the work of running this group, and coordinating these initiatives, that I practiced and learned invaluable skills about how to collaborate, communicate, plan, and execute work at a higher level.
Being a member of ELSA empowered me to step into a university-wide leadership role and launch an initiative that tied my professional expertise with the mission of the university while meeting a need of our staff and faculty. In the Center for Community Engagement, we focus on connecting students to the community through service. By helping to lead the UC Serves initiative I am able to share the skills I've developed in my professional role working with students with a wider audience by involving staff and faculty in a day of community service. Through ELSA and UC Serves, I've gotten to know folks across the university, strengthened relationships within my Division, and built new connections with the community that enhance my professional work.
My participation in ELSA coincided with the start of my career on campus, which was a transition from being a self-employed practitioner to being a member of Student Affairs at a large, research-focused institution. ELSA provided me with an opportunity to see beyond my past experiences and to shift my focus into becoming a leader in my position. Through my new-found working relationships with colleagues in ELSA, who came from a variety of office across Uptown and the regional campuses, I acquired leadership skills, experienced peer-to-peer mentoring, was able to ask questions and gain support about how to grow the capacity of my own team, and I was afforded with leadership opportunities external to my day-to-day role. Furthermore, ELSA allowed me to interact with members of upper administration in a way they had not yet seen and allowed me to flex into roles and situations otherwise not afforded to me. I am so grateful to the experiences I had with ELSA and the supportive friendships I gained along the way.
I joined ELSA shortly after an initial kick-off event. I was drawn to the grassroots effort and looking for ways to connect with other staff around campus. Being a part of ELSA gave me great opportunities and led me to meet fantastic people. Through this group, I was able to contribute to an idea that became UC Serves. It has been a joy to watch this day grow and to see our campus serve the greater community of Cincinnati. This was an amazing professional development opportunity to help create this day, guide the committees, and learn how to scale a project from approximately 100 people to close to 500. Co-chairing UC Serves and later serving as Convener have been some of the highlights to my time at UC. I am thankful for this group, the friendships I have formed, and the experiences and knowledge that I have gained.
My relationship with ELSA began when I was recruited to attend the summer ELSA Retreat in 2017. It was a great opportunity for me to network with UC staff from other departments. I joined the engagement committee during the retreat, and never looked back. My time with the Engagement committee was great, and we were able to plan some great events, as well as our new employee recognition program. After 1 year on the engagement committee, I was recruited to become convener of ELSA. I shadowed the convener for a year and then took over the role.
Being Convener of ELSA enabled me to grow rapidly, not only professionally but also personally. I created friendships with colleagues from offices that I would not have otherwise contacted. It taught me how to manage across multiple committees and their budgets. It also created a path to academic and professional conference proposals and campus wide events.
Joining ELSA was one of the best decisions I’ve made so far in my professional career.
I joined the ELSA Professional Development Committee during my first year at UC. With it being my first year, I had no idea what to expect, but I know that I was passionate about professional development and was told by my colleague that this would be a great opportunity to meet others outside of my department. I have truly enjoyed being able to meet staff from across campus throughout my time in ELSA and am thankful to have had the chance to be the chair of the committee. Seeing the professional development passions’ the committee members had and utilized to brainstorm, organize, and implement professional development opportunities for staff across campus is something I will always be thankful for. The relationships I have gained and the professional development opportunities I have had the opportunity to plan and attend will stay with me throughout the rest of my career in student affairs.
ELSA has provided a number of opportunities for me to grow and develop professionally. During my time on the Engagement committee, I was able to connect with others across campus and build meaningful relationships in my first year at UC. For the last two years, I was able to take on a leadership role and run UC Serves. This has provided an amazing opportunity that I otherwise would not have to manage a large budget, an amazing team of professional staff, and put on a 350+ person day of service to the greater Cincinnati community!