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Voices of the Global Community


Cecilia Olivares, NACADA Emerging Leader and Emerging Leaders Program Advisory Board Member
Sandy Waters, NACADA Mentor and Emerging Leaders Program Advisory Board Member

Sandy Waters.jpg

Cecilia Olivares.jpg

During the 2011 NACADA Annual Conference in Denver, CO in October, the third cohort of Emerging Leaders and Mentors “graduated” from NACADA’s Emerging Leaders Program (ELP).  Ten Emerging Leaders and ten Mentors received Certificates of Achievement for their participation in the program during the Awards Ceremony to recognize the accomplishments of the professional goals set forth two years ago in San Antonio, TX when the partnerships were launched.

As one of the pairs in the 2009-2011 cohort, we may have officially finished our commitment to the ELP, but in many ways, we realize this is just the beginning.  The ELP was developed to encourage members from diverse groups to get involved in leadership opportunities within the organization and to outfit participants with the skills and tools necessary to pursue elected and appointed leadership positions in the association.

In San Antonio, we set goals together, brainstorming the idea to offer fellow NACADA members a session on how to find work/life balance.  At the 2010 Annual Conference in Orlando, we hosted the first “Women Thriving: Not Just Surviving a Career in Higher Education/Advising” panel.  The session was so empowering to us and those in the audience that we were able to put together a second panel for this year’s conference in Denver.  We hope to continue this series at the Annual Conference and to debut it at some regional conferences in the future.

Others in our cohort have supported each other through first-time regional and annual conference presentations, nominations and elections, and publications.  In Denver, we cheered on NACADA Award winners, grant recipients, and newly elected and appointed leaders from our “ELPer” crew. The ELP was designed to increase the number of leaders from diverse groups within NACADA, and a review of the accomplishments of the three completed classes and the class halfway through the program is impressive.  The momentum continues as the 2011-2013 cohort began their leadership development journey during this year’s Annual Conference in Denver.

The leadership development of the program may be focused on the Emerging Leaders, but the program benefits Mentors as well.  There are opportunities to collaborate with a wide range of NACADA members, to give back to the association, to enrich mentoring skills, to assist colleagues in meeting their professional goals, and to set the stage for the next generation of leaders in the association.  All of these things have enriched the work lives of the mentors involved in the program.  So, if you have held ANY type of leadership position in NACADA and are interested in getting involved in a different way, please apply to be a Mentor.

Being an Emerging Leader obviously has many benefits.  If you are wanting to move your advising career forward, but don’t know where to start; need assistance and guidance in shaping your professional goals; and are ready to take on challenges that you might not think that you’re ready for, the time is now to have a network of NACADA colleagues available to support you.  Diversity in NACADA is defined in a very broad sense, so consider applying as an Emerging Leader if you answered “yes” to these statements.  It will be well worth your time and effort.

As we move forward into 2012, please take the time to consider joining this exciting diversity initiative as an Emerging Leader or as a Mentor.  Information about program benefits and application requirements is available on the Emerging Leader Program website. The Selection Committee for the 2012-2014 Class will begin accepting applications on January 1, 2012.

Olivares and Waters.jpgIf you have any questions about the program or the application process, please contact either of us.  We will be very happy to help!

Cecilia Olivares
Heartland Community College
[email protected]

Sandy Waters
Old Dominion University
[email protected]


Cite this article using APA style as: Olivares, C. & Waters, S. (2011, December). NACADA emerging leaders program: This is just the beginning. Academic Advising Today, 34(4). Retrieved from [insert url here] 


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Academic Advising Today, a NACADA member benefit, is published four times annually by NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising. NACADA holds exclusive copyright for all Academic Advising Today articles and features. For complete copyright and fair use information, including terms for reproducing material and permissions requests, see Publication Guidelines.