Non-Classroom Team Experience Reflections

Informatics Club - Treasurer

          Informatics really appeals to me because it's the crossroads between programming, art, psychology, and sociology. I have been involve in it in varied capacities since my freshman year. My first year, things were going very well with quite a few consistent members and growth in the organization. Then in my sophomore year, some key leaders had graduated and interest in the club dwindled. Now I am serving as the treasurer for the club and working towards reviving past interest as well as ensuring growth as we move forward.

          The previous treasurer was promoted to president this year and she asked if I wanted to work in her position as the new treasurer. Before, I would've been hesitant, but now I'm invigorated by the prospect of leadership opportunities so I gladly accepted.

          It has been a challenge to increase interest and establish committed members, but I believe there are definitely people who enjoy both art and technology so we just have to reach out to them.

          This position has a lot of managing obligations such as planning meetings, marketing and advertising, but there are also instances to demonstrate leadership. One of the key traits I have to utilize is taking initiative. During planning meetings, we come up with many ideas and reach a halting point. At times like these, we just have to push forward with an idea and make it a reality. Without taking initiative and picking an idea, we would be at a stand-still.

          My work as the treasurer is ongoing, and the current president said she'd want for me to take her place after she graduates.

SCNO Tech - Project Manager

          Students Consulting Non-Profit Organizations started here at University of Illinois with the mission to help local nonprofits with any consulting needs. This year, a tech division was started that emphasized website development, databases, and other technological needs for these organizations. I joined the team thinking it was a neat collaboration of technology, people, and consulting. This semester, the founder asked if I wanted to be a project manager for the web development team. Being open and wanting to practice my leadership skills, I agreed and since then have helped the team throughout the planning and design phases of the website.

          At our first meeting, I opened the floor for ideas of what the website could be. Everyone was either shy or couldn't come up with any ideas on the spot. To help people generate ideas, I passed out paper and set a timer for five minutes. For five minutes, we would silently write down any ideas we could come up with. After the time was up, we would share and discuss whatever we wrote down. After this exercise, everyone was more relaxed and open to share. This experience demonstrated to me the dynamic nature of leadership and having to think on your feet depending on the people and atmosphere.

          One of my core values and strengths is inclusivity, so I try to ensure everyone's on the same page and is comfortable with sharing their thoughts and ideas. When I notice someone might be quiet or holding back, I ask for their thoughts of the topic at hand. During our brainstorming phase, I encourage a collaborative effort and promote others ideas instead of my own. This aligns with Greenleaf's idea of servant leadership. Even though I have the formal title as project manager, I try to push others up and fully realize their skills and talents.

          Leading is an ongoing process, but utilizing my knowledge and experience from the certificate program, I'm able to bring out the best in people in developing this and future website for non-profit organizations.