Meet student leader Kristina Reynolds approaching her last semester this spring! She is currently earning a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Entrepreneurship and a minor in Communications. Kristina previously served as Vice President of Marketing and Administration for Women in Business and was recently elected as President. She is also an active member of the Business Club Union Committee and a planning committee member for the upcoming Spring Diversity Leadership Conference.
In this post, her leadership journey will be shared as well as her insights on the upcoming Spring 2017 Diversity Leadership Conference to be held next week on January 18th, 9:00am-4:00pm in the Union Redwood Room.
(Kristina Reynolds at Sac State’s campus; December 2016)
Three words that describe you: Ambitious, Diligent, and Kind-hearted
Tell us about your leadership journey: My leadership journey began before my teens when I traveled to four countries for a student ambassador program. Apart from fueling my interest for travel, it helped me develop a sense of independence. When I was 18 years old, I moved out of my parents’ house to further experience a sense of independence. This decision was scary; however, it prompted me to get my first job and manage time proactively. With fifteen hour days and late night study sessions, I pushed myself harder than I ever had before. This determination continued to grow and develop as I took on different positions and professional opportunities. During sophomore year my partner became ill. He had an emergency heart valve transplant and suffered multiple small strokes. Through his rehabilitation, I went from life partner to full time care giver, in addition to work and school. This experience alone gave me an abundance of strength and growth.
Upon transferring to Sacramento State, I craved more growth and involvement despite the challenges . During the first two weeks of the semester, I explored booths at the library quad. This is known as Clubs Days or Rush Week where student clubs recruit for more members. I found an interest with Women in Business (WIB). WIB is a student organization dedicated to providing a platform for undergraduates to make connections in the business world and promote personal and professional development. Being involved helped me get out of my shell, ultimately giving me the college experience I always desired: meeting new people, making new friends, networking with professionals, and serving on a board to help plan activities and events. Continuing my involvement with WIB, I became Vice President of Marketing and Administration, and will be serving as President for the upcoming semester. My involvement with WIB also led me to my current role as a planning committee member for the Spring Diversity Leadership Conference. Considering all of these past and present pieces of my life, I am truly thankful for my journey and how it has set the foundation of my leadership.
(Kristina with Women in Business at Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk; October, 2015)
What does leadership mean to you? Leadership means commitment to take every day as a new opportunity to learn and grow. Integrity, approachability, and being able to create an environment of engagement and expression of new ideas; to me these are important variables leadership should be measured by. And when I think of effective leadership, my former manager comes to mind. I watched her constantly managing different levels of operation and running daily meetings to keep everyone on the same page. She had an impressive ability to delegate work while being an active part of the process. She taught me to lead by listening, inspiring, and empowering others.
(Kristina with Sac State Business Club Union Committee; December 2016)
How do you define the upcoming theme of the spring conference #NoFilter? My interpretation of the theme is about the overuse of filters. When I think of filters, social media stands out; it’s packed with filters intended to “enhance” our appearance, shadow our beliefs, and reframe our thinking. I too am guilty of utilizing filters to make my skin appear flawless. Why? Because society and main stream media creates these standards of beauty. To me, our differences are what make us beautiful. Beyond beauty, offline we put filters on what we say in fear of how we will be perceived, uneducated, confrontational, or even racist. However, I think what we often strive for is to be understood. The theme #NoFilter means to remove those filters so students can engage in dialogue with more conversation and less confrontation.
What would you want your peers to take away from this conference? After the conference, I want my peers to have a deeper understanding and ability to empathize. As a community, there is no better time for us to come together than now. It’s easy to avoid difficult conversations, especially if you have yet to experience injustice. On the other side, I sense it may not be easy for people who experience harsh realities to understand those who have not. I myself have felt reluctant to have conversations centered on diversity, especially as someone who identifies as white. However, I have become more sensitive to and aware of social injustice after witnessing my partner, who identifies as African American, experience it in his life. Through my partnership with him, I have also learned to talk about racial issues and be honest about the ways in which race is experienced. This has led me to understand that ignoring our own biases only further contributes to its actuality and our inability to empathize. If my peers take anything away from this conference, I hope it is this self-awareness.
What are you looking forward to about the conference? The conference is designed to be student centered and to create space for students to hear one another and be heard. Considering this, I am really looking forward to engaging in dialogue and listening to my peers. I believe we all have something important to contribute to the conversation and this conference will give us a chance to hear diverse point of views; more importantly build on relationships despite disagreements. I also look forward to gaining knowledge on more advanced topics of diversity such as cultural appropriation, shaming, and ally-ship. It is my hope that during this conference, students can begin to remove their biases in an effort to understand one another.