In addition to helping students learn and grow, Rogue Community College is committed to growing and nurturing leaders within our staff. Each year RCC selects staff members to participate in the Oregon Institute for Leadership Development (OILD). This year, RCC employees Rose Passione and Alena Siddon were nominated and attended the conference in June in majestic Silver Falls State Park.
“Community college leaders are retiring at unprecedented rates,” says Cathy Kemper-Pelle, Ed.D., president of RCC. “It is imperative that we develop a pipeline of new leaders to fill these positions.”
Sponsored by the American Association of Women in Community Colleges-Oregon chapter (AAWCC-OR), the OILD, now in its 26th year, has earned national recognition and provides a forum for women to explore and develop their leadership skills, learn from current leaders, and connect with mentors.
“Mentorship is especially important because it helps aspiring leaders to identify their strengths and create stretch goals for professional growth. Every successful leader has relied on mentors during their career,” says Kemper-Pelle.
Modeled after the National Institute for Leadership Development over 20 years ago, the OILD is acknowledged by colleges throughout the state for producing leaders who effectively challenge assumptions, eliminate barriers, and create new pathways to successful solutions.
This year’s session topics at the four-day conference included leadership, team building, communication styles, balancing priorities, personal power mentoring, institutional politics, problem-solving, organizational change, and stress reduction.
For Alena Siddon, the conference “was unlike any I have ever attended.” The women who organized and facilitated the event were “strong, independent, and intelligent, while, at the same time, down-to-earth, and accepting.” A highlight for Siddon was learning that it is not necessarily the person or people at the top of the organizational chart who lead success. “Lead from where you are,” was a recurring theme of the institute, she said. “Leaders at all levels are fundamental to the success of the team or organization.”
Rose Passione agreed, adding that they gained important perspective by spending time with a “fantastic group of women,” each with her own experiences, stories, and point of view about what it is like to work at an Oregon community college. “Hearing their stories, struggles and innovative ideas helped me to see my job in a different light, as part of not only RCC but as part of an entire team of employees state-wide helping Oregon community college students overcome obstacles and make their lives better through education.” Passione noted that the setting was also inspiring. “The air was crisp and clean, the views of the trees, mountains, and waterfalls were stunning. It was a time to learn, to share, to glean helpful information, and to relax.”
The selection process for OILD began in the spring when potential participants were nominated by their supervisors. After reviewing the nomination materials, an internal college subcommittee made recommendations to the college president, who made the final decision based on their professional abilities, their potential, and their interest in advancement.
Siddon and Passione will present their experience to the AAWCC-RCC’s Winter Retreat participants on December 18, 2017, at Taprock Northwest Grill in Grants Pass.
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