Administrative Assistant – CWLI
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
What is your favorite aspect of being a leader?
My favorite aspect of being a leader is seeing people grow underneath my leadership. Being able to learn from them and have them learn from you is invaluable. The lessons you learn from leading people from various backgrounds helps you be a better person in all aspects of life.
What advice do you have for women aspiring to be leaders in their field?
While I am just beginning my time in the workforce, the advice I have for women aspiring to be leaders in their field is to take chances. Often times as women, we limit ourselves to what we feel we are qualified for versus challenging ourselves in new positions and taking risks. It is much easier to stick with the status quo than it is to do something new. My advice is to be open to change which in turn will help you grow.
Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Maybe someone who has been a mentor to you? Why and how did this person impact your life?
One person who has had a tremendous impact on me as a leader was my high school Youth United Way Advisor. From ninth grade, he pushed me out of my comfort zone and saw strength in me where others saw weakness. He encouraged me to be confident in my abilities and speak up when I felt things were wrong. While I am still working on using my voice, I was able to go on to UTC and speak up for injustices facing students and staff. I will always hear him saying “You only get out as much as you put in” and use that as motivation to work hard in any organization I am a part of.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing female leaders today?
The biggest challenge facing female leaders today is fear. Because of the marginalization women have dealt with in the work force and beyond, we are hesitant to put ourselves out there and allow men to take positions we deserve. We are also silenced in many conversations in which our voices are needed because of male domination. Eventually, I hope we will get to a point where we speak up and out about the challenges we face and the solutions we have.
Approximately how many years have you been involved with CWLI and in what committees do you participate?
I have been involved with CWLI for approximately 2 months. As the Administrative Assistant, I dabble in multiple committees.
What initiatives are you excited to tackle with CWLI?
I am excited to tackle the Diversity & Inclusion initiatives, as well as the push for student memberships. CWLI offers amazing programming and tools that are beneficial to women of all races, ethnicities, ages and cultural backgrounds, and I want to work to ensure that all women have access to the information CWLI has to offer.
What changes do you hope to see in the organization as it grows?
I hope to see members in the organization become more open to change. Holly and Marlena have amazing ideas on how to move the organization forward and as long as the membership is open to new things, the organization will continue to prosper.
What strides do you think members can take to make more of a difference in women’s leadership issues in the local community?
I think members can take strides to become more active in CWLI and the larger community. As women, we lead busy lives and it is difficult for us to balance work and family with civic engagement and volunteerism. However, I encourage CWLI members to make an effort to attend CWLI events and meet other women and community leaders who will connect you with ways to become more involved. Creating change may be as simple as taking time to advocate for an issue on Facebook or LinkedIn. Attend CWLI events and community meetings so that you are informed and knowledgeable on how to best tackle the issues at hand.
How would you best describe the benefit found in joining this organization?
The benefit I found in joining this organization is learning from the experiences of women in all backgrounds and fields. CWLI is a network to connect women, so that they are able to share their experiences and inspire other women to be the best they can be. Learning from others and applying those skills to my personal life is an awesome way for me help others.
Want to get to know Alese? Read her feature here.