Our first blog entry is about student leader Jenae Kimberly Howard. Currently she is a second year student at Sacramento State majoring in Speech Pathology and Audiology with a minor in American Sign Language and Deaf Studies. Jenae serves as a member of Cru, the American Sign Language Club, and a team manager for the Women’s Golf Team.
(Jenae Howard at Sac State’s campus; October 2016)
Three words that describe you: Compassionate, Energetic, and Composed
Tell us about your leadership journey: My journey has been an assortment of experiences and lessons; for the most part growing up independently expedited my ability to be a leader, my maturity, and overall strengthened me prior to stepping into a college campus. Coming to Sac State I was eager to get involved and see what opportunities were available. I moved into Sac States Residence Halls to enhance my first year experience while surrounding myself with diverse staff and peers. This is also where I began building my network and my understanding of my college agenda. I was not employed my first year, however, I knew I wanted to be the following years to come. I asked questions, searched the campus website, collected flyers, and attended multiple on-campus events. This alone helped me connect to different resources on campus. I also spent a lot of my time at the Career Center accessing mock interviews, resume revisions, and advice on how manage my schedule as a full-time student while also being as involved as I wanted to be. Through this process of putting myself out there, events and activities became more comforting because faces became familiar. Looking back, this helped build my confidence and motivated me to attend more events and meet more people. My next step was to find an opportunity where I could potentially inspire others and make a difference. This is when I was introduced to the Leadership Initiative program through my roommate, who at the time did not want to attend a workshop alone. The program was quite inspirational and exactly what I was looking for. I enrolled into the program and started working on my Green Certificate. I was not in a rush, but I ended up finishing all four of the certificates during my first year; which I later found out was a rarity. I was motivated by how the program used interactive workshops, taught useful professional and social skills, and how it exposed me to a range of different activities as well as clubs and organizations on campus. I was also excited about the opportunities within the program, to be exposed to the introduction to leadership and student development, as well as developing reflective skills essential for continuous personal and professional transformation.
What motivates and/or inspires you? My motivation comes from my drive to be a well-rounded and successful career women. I aspire to be a role model to my peers through my leadership and accomplishments inside and outside the classroom. I know that in order to make my college experience what I want it to be, I need to immerse myself in the community and get involved. In terms of inspiration, the Leadership Initiative has truly encouraged me to be more self-aware, to collaborate effectively, to understand what conflict resolution and congruence means to me, as well as how I can be an active member of my community.
What does leadership mean to you? A leader is someone who leads by example and has the integrity to do the right thing even when it is not popular. Beyond that, a leader should have a positive influence over others, while inspiring them to become a better person.
Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Why and how did this person impact your life? Kelly Haidlen is a person that has had a tremendous impact on me. Her hard work ethic and persistence influences me greatly. She uses her life experiences as an example and as a way to guide, encourage, and motivate me. Kelly is constantly teaching and developing herself through books, classes, podcasts, you name it. She isn’t ashamed of being who she is even if it sets her apart. I admire the way she is constantly reflecting about life and the way she loves the people around her.
How do you think your various life experiences have influenced your leadership journey? First and foremost, having to pay for college on my own has a huge impact on how I view my academic success as well as my surroundings and overall involvement. Due to this responsibility, it influences me to ensure I make the most of it and am able to get the full college experience. I hope to use my involvement as an opportunity to reach out to other students who are facing the same or their own unique challenges.
If you could give one piece of advice to new Hornets, what would it be? Definitely to get involved! I also recommend living in the Residence Halls on campus. If that isn’t an option, gathering resources constantly helps a lot; where ever you are on campus, whoever you meet, and attend as many activities and events. Exposing yourself to different clubs and organizations and make it a priority to get involved in community. Start right now and don’t wait. I know there is a lot to balance in college, jobs, friends, classes… so your involvement doesn’t have to be grand, maybe the goal could be one event per month. What this really does, or what it did for me is give me a community. Having a community to look forward to makes such a difference. It truly changed my life and has made me more successful as a student.
(Cru Club of Sac State; 2015)