Some days we hear, what does the Student’s Association do? With the whisperings of making student association fees optional, we have decided to give those of you who are unaware a little more insight of our services and how we add value to students with weekly blogs from the Students’ Association team. Starting with President of three years, Beth Lewis’ gives insights on what her job looks like.
As I begin to wrap up my three years in office, I have been spending more and more time reflecting on what I’ve accomplished, what I haven’t accomplished and what my legacy will be. When I won my first election in March of 2016, the main goal I set out for myself was to leave the organization better off than it was when I took office in May.
Like many new student leaders, I had big ideas with a very limited understanding of why things were the way they were. I quickly learned that I would need to put my priorities to the side for a while to deal with bigger issues that I was walking in to. Within my first week as President, our General Manager left the organization. The learning curve was extremely steep for me. How do I regain staff morale, keep the organization moving forward and move on from this? At the time I only had one year of studies under my belt so to say I had no idea what I was doing was fair. I leaned on my Executive team at the time and worked to rebuild the culture to one that focused on hard work with a focus on students.
The job description for the President position is relatively vague and talks about major roles rather than day-to-day responsibilities. While I may have been arrogant and thought I knew exactly what to expect and what type of leader I needed to be, I soon figured out that what the organization truly needed was different than what I thought it needed. I spent the first few months working with the team of staff that we had and trying to find my way around my new role. I quickly gained a strong appreciation for each of our staff members and the unique skill set that they each contribute to the organization. I eventually got to make positive changes that I had campaigned on and all was good. But to say that along the way I had no curveballs, would be a lie.
Over the past three years my leadership style has changed dramatically, and I think the biggest change is that it developed further. I came into this position as a bright-eyed and bushy tailed, naïve and excited student leader, and I think I will be leaving as a more thoughtful leader with a renewed appreciation for team work, that isn’t as afraid of change… and has the odd grey hair. I am looking forward to reflecting on my three years as President in my upcoming blog posts. Stay tuned as I am sure to discuss my fight to be taken seriously, how politics make me want to poke my eyes out, how I learned that being a leader isn’t about yourself and much more.