Emily Lee Reflection

Emily LeeDear UMBrella Group,

I want to start by thanking you for the scholarship and the opportunity to attend the Women’s Leadership Institute. The experience was life transformational for me.  This was my first experience with any type of professional development event like this and it was wonderful to make connections and network with so many different women leaders in academia.  All of the workshops, speakers, and networking events were so good. 

I feel as if there is so much I gained and could share with the group, one of the main workshops was one done in a Ted Talk format where four different women from different universities shared their stories and nuggets of advice/strategies for advancing your career. One of the strategies that really resonated with me was “be the architect of your own life, you decide what it is that you want to do.”  Presently I am at a crossroads in my life personally and professionally.  For the majority of my career, I have made career decisions based on circumstances and for other people.  Being the architect of my own life spoke to me in a way that I can clearly see that it is really my time to make decisions for my career, no longer just waiting for things to happen, I get to decide my next steps. Therefore, I am going to be the architect of my life.

I have made a definitive concrete decision to pursue a Ph.D. in Higher Education.  In the next year, I will prepare myself, take the GRE and apply to at least three programs I am interested in for fall 2019.  In one of the workshops, we were encouraged to dream bigger than our biggest dream for ourselves professionally.  At the time, my biggest dream was to one day be Dean of a School/University, I have expanded this – first Dean, then Provost, then President.  I know that I will need my Ph.D. in order for this dream to become reality.

Along with receiving so much personally, I also want to give back because I received so much. I want to be an ambassador for the UmBrella group, putting the word out about UmBrella, I would love to share more with others ways they can be involved or activities on campus they can join in. I have already started to share with colleagues how amazing my experience was and have encouraged them to apply for the scholarship next year.  Additionally, I plan to start a book club for women staff and faculty.  I still need to flesh out the details but I wanted to ask for any reflections/advice on that idea, and how I might be able to collaborate/dovetail with others across campus who might be interested.

Thank you again for this life-changing opportunity.