By Jill Diaz
University of Colorado Boulder
Before I answer that let me confess, I am probably not your typical IACAC member. You won’t see me at many social events, I don’t go out much after college fairs or stay out very late at conference, and don’t even really have a circle that I belong to. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t see the value in socializing. I often times kick myself for not going out more. I love this field because I love people, but I am very much a homebody. I need alone time to find balance, especially during the busy season. But none of that changes the fact that I find incredible value in this organization and its members.
I have served and chaired multiple committees and currently serve on the Executive Board. The truth is, you don’t have to be extra social to reap the benefits of this amazing village. I have so many great relationships and have had hundreds of incredibly meaningful conversations with my colleagues. Some of that might be over a beer, sure. Sometimes it’s on a run at conference, and sometimes it’s grabbing a cup of coffee before a college fair. However, this past year is when I reaped the true benefit of what it means to be a member of IACAC.
This year I became a first-time mom and I also decided to look for a different job at another school. Not only was the journey of being a working mom really hard for me to start off, but the process of looking for a new job was terrifying. I had been at the same institution for eight years; a school I loved with a staff whom I adored. But for many reasons I needed a change, and decided to take a leap of faith and pursue it. When I voiced this in private to some admission professional friends of mine, they jumped at the opportunity to help me with my search, they put in good words for me, wrote references, forwarded me open positions, and gave me the inside scoop. I received help and support from people I didn’t even know. I was blown away!
So many times I asked myself what I did to deserve this support. Why are they helping me? Because we are a village, that’s why. I know I would do the same for anyone because I believe in this profession with my whole heart.
Within my first few weeks of landing my new job, I was met with some challenges during the transition. Yet again, people came rushing to my side to help me work through it. I can honestly tell you that I have never felt more supported in my entire life. I would likely have crumbled on my own during this process. And that, to me, is the true value of an IACAC Membership. The social events, professional development opportunities, and amazing resources are all just icing on the cake, but the true value is in the people who are here to support you. Why? Because at the end of the day, we all believe in serving students and families. If you share that same passion, then we believe in you and want to support you along your way, maybe over a beer, or maybe from the quiet comfort of our offices.