“I’ve done it, and you can do it too.” Maya Love Talks Empowerment, Leading with Love, and Taking Risks
Summer is ending, and that means the 2018-2019 academic year is well underway. This also signals the entry of new leadership within ASCMC, specifically in the role of president. I sat down with the new Executive President of ASCMC, Maya Love ‘20, during Collins Snack for a riveting conversation about how to empower others in their leaderships roles and respecting people’s ability to grow into their empowerment.
How does it feel to be the first female African American ASCMC President?
It feels like an honor. Often times, we view moments like these as only happening in the past or not being able to happen to us. I am ecstatic to be the first, and I recognize that other people who stood on this campus before me have allowed me to stand in this position now and given me the necessary support, including DOS and my fellow classmates from 2020. So yeah, it’s a great feeling!
Could you explain the underlying events that led to your transition from ASCMC Vice President to ASCMC President?
The underlying events that passed this summer provided us with a great opportunity to re-evaluate some of our systems in place. DOS presented us with the issues pertaining to the reimbursement process of FluidReview due to how it limited the number of checks on receipts, which then led to a situation where if students were delayed in receipts, then mixups with accountability could be prone. There was also information that DOS could not reveal to us due to privacy policies in order to protect and respect the students involved.
I think the greatest accomplishment from this summer was learning to appreciate the systems that we had in place and discovering the need for certain improvements. It goes without saying that the best laid systems and policies within any organization are not perfect, but evolving as both a community and corporation is our primary focus moving forward. And I’m happy to say that we’ve already made productive strides in achieving that goal.
We have implemented additional checks and balances in our system, including two from the College. For example, direct deposit is new, and the distribution method for petty cash is much improved. Other equitable and accountable changes have been made as well. This summer’s agenda focused on brainstorming ways to better support the growing demands of our growing campus, the students who populate it, and of course, clubs and organizations. None of these change would have been possible without our collaboration with the Deans.
Why did DOS not discuss certain information with you and the rest of ASCMC, and do you think them not disclosing certain facts is in direct correlation with the outcome of recent events?
I don’t think it was necessarily about DOS not sharing information, but I do think that when students get involved with matters such as this one, there are certain levels of privacy that must be maintained, for everyone involved. We approached the situation by remaining respectful and ensuring that everyone’s feelings were heard and validated. Thankfully, I think this happened while working with the Deans.
Like I said earlier, ASCMC is comprised of students too, so I don’t think it would have been appropriate for them to have shared sensitive information with us that does not benefit our efforts in moving forward. My job as ASCMC President is to focus on advocating for the student body and identifying ways we can improve our community.
What prompted you to run for ASCMC Vice President in the first place?
I observed student leaders— including myself— putting in so much work, and it’s difficult because there is so much happening behind the scenes that is not recognized or appreciated by the student body. I wanted to promote the slogan: Lead with Love. Often times, we get wrapped up in internships, applications, and good grades that we forget how we are people and have a support system here on campus. Sometimes, all it takes is a “hello,” or a “how can we better support you?” that can make all the difference. I wanted students to know that when I step into an environment, it’s one of inclusivity, acceptance, and diversity.
I also wanted to encourage students to take risks because if we aren’t challenging ourselves to step outside of our comfort zones, then we are not trying hard enough. I wanted to encourage members of our community to better advocate for themselves, but most importantly, I wanted to accept the risk associated with being vulnerable.
I am excited to see what Max Knowles, our new Executive Vice President has in store for the student body!
It seems like you’re dead set on making the CMC community a place where everyone feels welcomed and respected.
Yes, absolutely! I want to lead by example and bring this energy on campus along with my other colleagues on ASCMC.
How will your experience as the former Diversity & Inclusion Chair assist you in your new role?
It definitely gives me insight on how ASCMC can incorporate more inclusivity. As the former Diversity & Inclusion Chair, I really emphasized the idea of empowerment. I firmly believe it’s important to understand that by finding our own empowerment, we also empower those around us. However, this only comes about through talking and dialogue. And hopefully these future leadership development trainings will allow us to find a way to empower others while simultaneously respecting their growth in that empowerment. If anything, being D&I Chair has shown the community that I care about what I do, and I think it will lead the community to embrace me with open arms.
You mentioned something about respecting people’s ability to grow into their empowerment. Could you elaborate on this?
I think that’s the thing about being vulnerable. A lot of times, even myself as a student, it’s hard to say that I feel uncomfortable being myself or that I’m unsure on something because we haven’t approached it yet.
I talk about this leadership development idea, and I realize that our students deserve a program that shows them that it’s okay to be new in a leadership role but still feel empowered. Those two ideas don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Just because you are new does not mean you’ve lost that sense of empowerment. If anything, it’s more emboldening because it makes you more hungry to grow into your new position. I hope to show the student body that even though I’m a little new (not too new, though), I still feel empowered in my position as ASCMC president, and that only comes from the community supporting my empowerment.
Describe your mission as ASCMC President.
My mission consists of two parts: the first is to show students what it means to lead with love, and the second is to leave a legacy defined by the importance of community. Often times, we only look at college as a four year experience, and that’s great! However, it’s important to reflect on how you will be remembered, which we can all agree might be through your relationships with others. On a big or small scale, these relationships will stick with you and define your legacy and how you are remembered. Maybe you were a club leader, or research assistant, or you fill in the blank. Whatever your position, it can and will influence those coming behind you.
This leads to my biggest message, which is how we “pass the torch” honorably, respectfully, and with the message of ‘I believe in you. I’ve done it, and you can do it too.’ The only way we’ll make our community great is if we believe in and support each other.
What are you most excited for about your presidency? Any plans we (the general public) should know about?
I was really excited for the Transition-to-Work Day. Max Dawson, our acting CFO, put in a lot of work this summer, along with Connor Bloom working on Workday. The whole ASCMC team really stepped up, so I’m just really excited to see what my board accomplishes this year because it’s one thing to discuss goals but another to see results.
Like I said earlier, we are already seeing progress, and the year just started. Look at what we’ve accomplished already: Ajlina Bašić, Clubs and Organization Chair, planned a fantastic club fair; Transition to Work Day was a hit! I also really like the energy from our seniors. Edgar, Senior Class President, is working extremely hard to inspire the seniors to lead and serve the campus, and both Andrea Amaya and Johnson Lin have been nothing short of the same energy. The Senate Chairs have some great projects lined up for the year with heavy representation from the first year class. The list goes on and on. If anything, it will be how our board grows that determines our success, and right now, the momentum we have is unstoppable.
In terms of large projects, I am grateful that we already completed the financial model. I also want to show our students more support on campus. We will be rolling out Stag and Athena of the month just as a way to highlight our community members who are doing great work. Obviously, working on the longevity of ASCMC is also a focus of mine. It’s important to remember that you can never get too comfortable. There’s always room for improvement, and this year, ASCMC is really about letting people grow into their positions. It’s so much easier to show grace towards people by extending a helping hand— which we all can do— rather than chastising people for making a mistake. I’m super excited for this year because both Executive and Senate are all on board.
What legacy do you want to leave on CMC and ASCMC?
I want the community to feel a little more comfortable with trying something new, and with this comes the challenge of also accepting the small wins in being vulnerable. I think a good place to start is to lead by example. For myself, it’s going to be about starting new initiatives and discovering how they work within our community. More precisely, starting a collaboration of community. I want that to be my legacy: leading with love, but also leading with empowerment, leading with community, and leading with risk. At the end of the day, we are only here for four years, but I want that feeling to stay here forever. I thank the student body for this opportunity.