Never Enough: A Promise

I sit here with a blank page not knowing what to say or where to start. I’d fight for you, I’d take a literal and proverbial bullet for you…but that’s not what you want nor what you need. Rather my fight should be focused on disrupting a system that favors me over you.

The problem is, I don’t know how to fight that fight. But I’ll try. I can’t undo what I’ve already done. I can’t unlearn nearly 40 years of acculturation into a system that favors people who look like me. I can’t teach myself about thoughts, words, phrases, and actions that may be problematic if I don’t know that they are in the moment I display them.

However, I can make a promise.

I promise to unlearn as much as I can in the years I have left. Though, it will never be enough.

I promise to learn the truths and many perspectives of others. Though, it will never be enough.

I promise to read. Though, it will never be enough.

I promise to dedicate my time, talent and re$ource$ in order to try to pay back the harm my people have caused. Though, it will never be enough.

I promise to pay closer attention and call out symptoms and actions of systemic racism when I see, hear, feel, and read them. Though, it will never be enough.

I promise to decrease the time needed in reflection to notice the issues previously stated in order to responded closer to the moment at hand. Though, it will never be enough.

I promise to help educate my people. Though, it will never be enough.

I promise to raise a privileged son whose eyes are as open I can get them so that he may continue along this path of waking and disruption. Though, it will never be enough.

My promise will never be enough. I will get it wrong and mess it up way more than I will get it right. I will find grace and let go of perfection in the journey of becoming better today than I was yesterday.

It’s too late for our wilting friendship to blossom. The damage of my ignorance has been done. Today, I find peace in my heart and an abundance of gratitude for your impact on my journey. I promise to learn from this moment and do better tomorrow; even though it will never be enough.

photo credit: Cymone Wilder On Drible

Is your resume ready for the mid-level search? 

The mid-level job search is hard. And that’s a huge understatement. During the entry level search there many jobs available and it is easy to land multiple interviews – lots of attention for the applicants, especially at placement exchanges. The mid-level search can take a year or more to land a job! There are drastically fewer positions available and the competition is much more fierce. As a result, an entry level pro looking to jump up to the mid-level, needs to showcase how much they are on top of their game and it starts with the resume (and cover letter, but today we are going to focus on the resume).

In the last year I have lead three searches for mid-level positions. Below are a few tips I have noticed that could improve the chances of me calling someone for a first round interview!

Entry level humans, please, utilize the many, many resources out there to help you have a resume that shines. If you don’t want to search for other resources, then please, follow the tips below.

  • No body uses objectives any more – get rid of them!

This includes personal narratives as well. These take up valuable real-estate on your resume and don’t exactly tell the reviewer what you have accomplished, which is most important.

  • Education goes at the top of a resume.

I have seen so many resumes that burry education in the middle or end, stop it! Why? Placing your education anywhere other than the top of your resume makes it hard for the reviewer to know (quickly) if you meet the first level screening criteria. This screening could mean revising hundreds of resumes and simply looking for education and years of experience. Don’t get thrown out because you hide your education.

  • Format your resume!

A resume that is difficult to read is not helpful to the reviewer. Save your resume as a PDF before you upload to a job listing to ensure your formatting remains in tact for the reviewer.

  • Make it easy for the reviewer to find the preferred qualifications in your resume.

If the job asks for crisis management experience, list your related experience near the top. If the job asks for assessment experience, list your assessment experience near the top…and so on.

  • Chronological order is king!
  • If chronological order is king then bulleted lists of accomplishments are queen!

Paragraphs make it hard for a reviewer to efficiently identify your fit for the position. On a related note, do not regurgitate your job description on your resume. Rather, tell the reviewer the scope of your responsibilities(amount of budget, number of direct reports, number of students in area of on-call responsibility and so on)  and the accomplishments you have had during your time in each position.

  • APA formatting.

Presentations and publications are to be listed in APA format.

  • General section headers to be listed on your resume include:
    • Education
    • Professional Experience
    • University Service
    • Professional Development – this section is best if it includes experiences beyond conference attendance, which is quite passive.
    • Awards and Honors
    • Certifications
    • Selected Presentations
    • Publications
  • REVIEW before submitting!

One of the single most important things to do with your resume is to have it reviewed…more than once! It can be scary to put yourself out there like that however the alternative is that you submit a resume with a typo or other errors. I am happy to review your resume! I will make it bleed for you so that you can work toward developing your best resume for this point in your career (

There are many more resources out there. Please use them! Make the reviewer excited to schedule you for an interview after looking at your materials! Look like a badass right out of the gate!

Additional resources:

  1. Dr. Patrick Love offers many great resources on his blog and his book.
  2. HigherEd Jobs provides guidance on resumes and cover letters on their website.
  3. A blog recent blog post from the Student Affairs Collective provides insight: Mid-Level Job Search – When you don’t get the job.


Footprints in the snow

I headed out for a run this morning, knowing it would be a fight between me and mother nature. It was 30 degrees but due to the massive wind guests, it felt like 12 degrees. It was a hard run. Having to pay close attention to my footing. The need for high knees in longer durations than I ever care to due to the depth of snow drifts that blocked the sidewalks. At moments, when the wind was silent, feeling like I was over dressed. The next moment, as the wind reminded me it was still winter, feeling like I was under dressed. Wearing my sun glasses down one street to keep the blowing snow out of my eyes. Having to take my sunglasses off on the next street because the wind was at my back and my glasses fogged up and I couldn’t see. It was quite the battle!

Every so often though, I would see the foot prints of a runner who had already run this path on this day. Those footprints reminded me that while I might feel alone, fighting a battle against nature, I am not really alone. Others have done this before. My footprints will be there for those who would run after me. We are in good company!

There is a saying, that as a leader, it’s lonely at the top. Having spent the last 18 months adjusting to a new role of leadership, I have often felt this “lonely”. I am confident this “lonely” is more pronounced and prevalent the higher one climbs up the organizational lader. I am equally confident there are many battles against nature one faces the closer they get to the top. However, for all of us, there are footprints in the snow to remind us we are not alone. All we have to do is reach out and connect with those who came before, having left the footprints for us to find. To pay it forward, we’ll need to look back, see who is following our footprints and help them to realize they, too, are not alone.

The next time you feel alone, look for footprints and know you are in good company!

Until next time, keep it real and keep showing up!

Leadership lessons from 3 consecutive snow days with my toddler

The weather channel is calling the recent deep freeze and snow a “snow-pocalypse”. As a result of this sever weather, the city where I live (the whole state really) shut down for three days. No work! Woot! I can catch up on writing, reading and social media. I can take time for me and maybe enjoy a long hot bath. Nope. Daycare was closed, too. There is no such thing as quality down time with an active 2.5 yr old at home who can’t go outside due to the -40 degree weather. 

All in all, it was great three days. I have an outstanding kid! He reminded me of a few leadership lessons while we were stuck inside:

1. Patience – you can’t be part of or fuel the drama (ie temper tantrums). As a leader, you need keep calm, attempt to communicate in different ways to have your message heard, even try a distraction tactic or two until the storm passes. Once the drama calms down, productive developmental conversations are able to occur with success. 

2. Creativity is a must! Using what’s around you to create a new and challenging environment. A metaphorical cave built with quilts over and around the dining room table ignite creativity in those around you. This leads to hours of fun and new ways of interacting in an environment that had become stale and boring. 

3. Well-timed discipline can clear the air. Sometimes a time out is just what the doctor ordered. Clears the air, allows clear communication to occur about desired behavior, reinforcement of value (via a hug with toddlers) and the day continues with everyone in a better place. 

4. Alone time is essential. Time to think, zone out, relax…whatever, can add a good deal of value the remaining interactions of the day. My son will sometimes get really cranky outside of nap time. We set him up with a snack and a movie in the basement (finished, great play place for a child). About 30-45 minutes later, he comes up stairs and is happy and ready to play. We all need down time away from another to revitalize. 

5. Routine makes everyone happy. Knowing what to expect next creates a sense of safety thus allowing for greater risk taking. My caution here is to keep to a high-level routine that keeps the general overall flow of the days the same. Stay away from routines that schedule every single minute. These are stifling routines that can drastically reduce energy, engagement, creative and risk taking. 

6. Listen, hear and respond. My kiddo is determined and stubborn. He will repeat the same thing over and over and over and over and over again until you acknowledge what he is saying by showing that you heard what said, understand it, and are contributing to the progression of the conversation. We all want to be heard. We know we are heard when others respond to us. We know we are heard and valued when others authentically engage in the conversation with us. 

Life lessons come from the strangest of places if you pay attention and listen! I look forward to future lessons from my son!

What lessons have learned in unexpected circumstances? 

Until next time, keep it real and keep showing up! 

2013 ACUI Women’s Leadership Institute Reflection and Impact

Last week I attended ACUI’s Women’s Leadership Institute. The event was held at the Ritz Carlton on Amelia Island in Florida. You cannot beat the beauty and comfort of the location! The content was wonderful, the people were amazing, the food was to die for and the views were breathtaking.

I attended with expectations of having my mind blown by the content of the experience and the opportunity to meet new people. What happened instead, has had my head spinning for the last few days.

My group arrived at the hotel five minutes before I was scheduled to meet up with a few others who were also attending the conference. I rushed to my room, literally threw on appropriate attire and raced to the meeting location nearly out of breath. From there, dinner were served and the networking with new people began. As an introvert who rushed into the event, it took me a few minutes of observing others before I caught on to how I should behave in this environment. I began to slowly make connections while internally editing my behavior in relation to others. The night ended much later than my usual bedtime – it had been a busy but good time to this point.

The following day, a more typical conference style structure provided me with a bit of comfort. I took in what was being shared. Shared my thoughts and dreams with small groups and took time for an afternoon run to reflect. Again, the night ended much later than my usual bedtime – the good time continued.

I found my grove the next day. I branched out and interacted with many more people as well as shared more and more of my thoughts during the small group time. The content was seamlessly orchestrated and I was finally riding the high I had expected. Another afternoon run provided more endorphins to fuel my conference high. That night, however, was brutal.

My roommate was a woman I had never met in person. As it turns out, we were a perfect match and hit it off from the beginning. Candace Denning is an amazing woman! We had been engaging in great conversation each night thus far. This night was not any different; until she unintentionally and unknowingly shoved me off the proverbial cliff with one short sentence: “You will find your voice.”

Hearing that sentence was like my mind running full speed into a closed glass door. I asked for clarification and she explained. Her feedback was legit and continues to haunt my thoughts. To steal an out of context quote from the movie Juno, “What does that even mean? I continue to reflect and journal on this one sentence and what it means for me.

I am grateful for my roommate and that sentence for creating the most meaningful experience of the institute for me. My reflection on that little sentence is far from complete but, thanks to my roomie, it has at least begun!

#WLI13 wasn’t what I expected. It was so much more!

Have you ever had someone make one small statement to you that quickly altered your thinking?

Until next time, keep it real and keep showing up!