Articles

Superheroes Move from Circumstances to Hope

Spring is the season of “pomp and circumstance,” but perhaps this spring we had more “circumstances” than “pomp.” Graduations were done virtually or diplomas were simply mailed.  Events were cancelled or postponed, and even family gatherings went by the wayside. We stumbled through a difficult spring learning to work from home and watching loved ones who are essential workers head out the door into unknown circumstances (wearing their face coverings). And, more recently, our country has woken again to the reality that life is not fair or equal for all and some groups of people have it rougher than the general public knows. Our circumstances are calling us to do life differently.

We have adjusted to new ways of life and expanded our ideas of normal. We have gone above and beyond anything we could have dreamed or imagined at this time last year.  Some of the superhero tasks we have tackled included the following:

  • Planting a garden for the first time ever or in a long time.
  • Scheduling professional development time and following through.
  • Taking classes in order to start or finish a degree.
  • Sewing face coverings in your spare time to donate to those in need.
  • Checking on at-risk neighbors and picking up their groceries while you were out.
  • Cleaning your house and organizing in new ways with unused items going to charity.
  • Volunteering in ways to support your community and those who are struggling.
  • Using your porch to read a book for pleasure or picking up a craft again.
  • Connecting with people to let them know how much you appreciate them.

 

Superheroes refuse to stay put and let circumstances parade by. They must come to the rescue and help out. Superheroes disguised in the everyday clothes of educational office professionals have a calling on their lives to jump in and make life better for students, colleagues, schools, and society. I challenge you to take this calling seriously and make plans for a hope filled future by starting to look down the road to see what might be ahead. Take the things you have learned the last few months and act on them as you prepare to go back to school.

One of the things for me is to stop for lunch and get away from my computer and office. Another thing is professional development is time well spent for me and my employer. A job-related one-hour webinar or 30 minutes spent reading a professional book or article makes you a better employee. This kind of work can be done on work time so schedule it and share what you learn with others as a way to encourage them to keep growing. In the last few weeks, I did a voiceover PowerPoint video and started using Adobe Sign. I am sure this will not be the last time I do these things, and my colleagues now want to learn how to use document signing.

Circumstances have left many people feeling fearful, angry, and uncertain. And, in all honestly, I have had those feelings on several occasions. But, I can’t let myself stay in that spot. I need to be hopeful that I can grow and learn through challenges, hopeful my school can be a safe place for everyone, and hopeful society can recalibrate, so every person feels included. When you are asked to contribute to the return to work decisions, participate thoughtfully and with others in mind. When you get invited to attend a seminar on ways to address systemic racism, volunteer enthusiastically and ask colleagues to come along. When you find someone having a bad day, smile and encourage them.

Being a superhero is about leaving situations better than when you found them. Being a superhero is about knowing you can make a difference. Being a superhero is about bringing hope to yourself and others. As your EOPO President, I have faith in each of you to reach beyond the circumstances and widely distribute hope this year. We can do this together.

2019-20 President's Theme Logo

Sincerely,

Katherine G. H. Reichley, CEOE
President
Educational Office Professionals of Ohio
Academic Assessment and Accreditation Specialist
Office of Academic Affairs
c/o Otterbein University
1 S. Grove St.
Westerville, OH  43081
USA
Phone: (614) 823-1173  Fax: (614) 823-1335 

 

Superhero: How Did I Get Here?

After she led a meeting a few months ago, I spoke with my colleague.  She was so worried about how nervous she had been during the meeting and what had made her think she could fill this leadership position. During the meeting which included over 30 people, I had been proud of her willingness to be our leader including the progressive positions she held prior to her current role. I remember when she would barely speak in a meeting of six to eight people as a participant. She has come a long way over the years because of her willingness to help and serve even when she did not feel adequate and comfortable. Although she may wonder how she got here, we are grateful she was willing to take the journey.

Last spring our interim Provost applied for and eventually accepted the Provost and Senior Vice President position at the university. She was originally hired as a faculty member starting fall 2007 and because of her skills and willingness to grow and learn, she is now the Provost. She planned to teach and prepare new teachers for their roles. As opportunities became available and new challenges arose, she branched out giving each situation careful consideration before forging ahead. When she gets down time in her life, I think she probably wonders how she got here. Recognition of her talents and encouragement from others surely played a role in her journey.

So how did you get where you are today as one of the superheroes in your office? Was it because of classes, trainings, and other educational opportunities that helped hone your skills? Was it your ability to listen, ask the right questions, or problem solve that got you noticed in your school? Was it a person who encouraged you to try something new or an individual who gave you a chance that motivated you to branch out? My guess is all of these and more could apply to your situation.

Part of why I originally got hired at Otterbein was because I had a degree in mathematics. They needed someone who could work with numbers. Despite never having a statistics class I was willing to try, and I had a great mentor who taught me about assessment and accreditation as we trudged through reports, site visits, and a lot more reports. Are you willing to learn while you are in the trenches? When you encounter a computer problem, does all activity cease or do you ask someone or look up options online? Even Wonder Woman would get into some situations and not know the way out, but she used the knowledge on hand and eventually saved the day. Keep growing and learning this spring. Continue being a superhero!

2019-20 President's Theme Logo

Sincerely,

Katherine G. H. Reichley, CEOE
President
Educational Office Professionals of Ohio
Academic Assessment and Accreditation Specialist
Office of Academic Affairs
c/o Otterbein University
1 S. Grove St.
Westerville, OH  43081
USA
Phone: (614) 823-1173  Fax: (614) 823-1335