Learn. Grow. Lead. NAFSA Membership Opens the Door to Leadership Opportunities

October 06, 2017

By Mariama Boney and Salvador Chairez

NAFSA membership and leadershipAs we move forward in the new academic year, one goal many of you may have is to get more involved in the field outside of your day-to-day work. One of the best ways to do that is as a NAFSA member leader.

Volunteer leadership starts with NAFSA membership. All NAFSA members in good standing are eligible to apply for member leader positions. Many short-term to long-term opportunities exist, as well as on the regional and national level. NAFSA relies on its member leaders in all areas and the work of the association could not be accomplished without their time and expertise.

In turn, your involvement will help you meet many new colleagues while building essential skills in project management, strategic planning, presenting, and much more that you can use again and again in your office and throughout your career.

“Make the time to get involved,” Erika Rohrbach, NAFSA member and recent diversity adviser for NAFSA's Membership Engagement Committee, advises those new to the field. “You'll develop your network this way and learn how to do your job better at the same time you can give back to others. What could be better?”

Connecting and communicating with other colleagues in the field, whether on their campus or from around the world, is a core reason member leaders rely on their NAFSA membership. NAFSA members are a community of professionals who truly understand the valuable work international educators do each day. Members can reach out to each other for immediate answers and as a necessary support system for guidance and encouragement.

“We’re all in this together,” Rohrbach adds as she feels the ability to collaborate and help build coalitions is the most important asset she has gained while serving as a NAFSA member leader.

Your path in volunteer leadership begins by determining your availability; defining the skills you have and those you wish to gain; identifying a current opportunity and position; and then applying for it. Current openings, along with the application process, can be found at www.nafsa.org/volunteer.

It’s true becoming a NAFSA member leader is a commitment. But the rewards are numerous, especially seeing how your work connects with others as all of you together share your talents and insights to help grow and shape the entire field.

Take the first step in your path to becoming a leader in international education while taking full advantage of all the benefits and opportunities included with NAFSA membership. We look forward to working together with you!

To join or renew your NAFSA membership, visit www.nafsa.org/membership. To learn more about open leadership opportunities, visit www.nafsa.org/volunteer.

Mariama Boney is the senior director of volunteer leadership development and regional affairs for NAFSA. Salvador Chairez is senior director of membership for NAFSA.