As a TWU SLIS student, I juggled two courses, two jobs, and volunteering for seven semesters. When I received the email notifying me of my nomination to serve as a GLISA officer in April 2015, I was shocked. What had I done that demonstrated any sort of leadership potential in my distance education courses? Turns out, joining the Texas Library Association and attending my first annual conference was my first step.
Raquel Williams, the fall 2015 Web Administrator, was in one of my courses in spring 2015 and remembered that I had posted in the class discussion board about attending TLA. For whatever reason, we didn't connect at conference, but she threw my name in the GLISA officer pool and the rest is history.
The email I received offered me the positions of Treasurer or Vice President. After skimming the descriptions of both roles I realized as VP I would be the editor of the online newsletter, charged with not only writing articles (which I have done before on various platforms) but also designing the entire layout of the publication (which I had never done before), so I hopped on-board figuring the summer break would give me time to brainstorm article topics and play around with Microsoft Publisher (not at all, but that's a different blog post).
With no previous experience in layout design, but an eagerness to produce a vibrant digital publication with a balance between stimulating visuals and text, I produced the Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 GLISA newsletters. I interviewed SLIS professors, delegated and edited the work of my peers, and gained new skills in layout design -- all of which have been transformative for me. And, once I completed the semester newsletter, I assisted fellow officers in completing their duties by contributing ideas for social media posts, strategies for member recruitment, and assisting with the spring and fall service projects.
Meeting Christine, Raquel, Nekeeta, Tracy, Allison, and Brea has had a huge impact on my confidence as both an individual and a library professional. Being able to connect with this group both virtually and in person has been a huge learning opportunity. I admire the work ethic of each officer, current and past, and have adopted some of their practices in order to boost my own potential. As a result of my involvement with GLISA, I am motivated to participate in TLA and am now the Secretary of the Latino Caucus (the hardest part is showing up to your first business meeting). It took one fateful email to push me beyond my comfort zone and connect with some strong, forward-thinking women.
Coming into the SLIS program, I didn't expect to meet anyone from any of my classes for more than a group assignment. But, joining GLISA and answering the call for officers as GLISA VP enabled me to walk away with not only my intended MLS degree, but also great friends. Additionally, the newsletters and service projects completed during my time as VP have made for great work products to present during interviews.
Do you have a writing/online publishing background, or are you interested in building experience in editing/writing? If so, this position is perfect for you. If you want to introduce new and emerging topics in the field of library and information science, interview literally WHOEVER you want (because you're the editor), and procrastinate on course assignments by spending time searching for the perfect (copyright-free) image to enhance your Q&A, then sign-up for GLISA (if you're not already a member) and shoot an email to email@example.com with your resume and an elevator speech about why you would make a great VP. And, remember, if you still have two years ahead of you, being VP this year means you can be President next year!
Paloma Lenz served as the GLISA Vice President for the 2015-2016 academic year. She graduated last week on May 11, 2016. You can follow her on Twitter at @pl0la.