On Which Candidate to Consider for Leadership, or How to Earn My Vote

By Niki Lanter

Thoughts about the kind of leader I want to represent our student body

I have spent most of the day reading statements and watching video posts by candidates who are running for the 2017-2018 HESA Executive Board. Common themes and concerns were brought up—things that are significant to many non-traditional and distance students. I appreciate that they recognize objectives worth pursuing, as well as battles that might just be too unrealistic—and in the grand scheme of things, really, unimportant—to fight. But, of the latter, the fact that they are willing to at least have the conversation, and to give the students a voice to reach the school administration, is crucial and commendable.

Leadership Vision Reality

Logical people in pursuit of power, who are pragmatic in the way that they approach challenges and opportunities, have a better chance of achieving and staying in power. Decision makers who are prone to emotionality, volatility, or vindictiveness have no place in leadership. Don't get me wrong; empathy is necessary. How else could one advocate for the issues most paramount to the constituency? That is not to say that you must either be a robot or pure Vulcan to get my vote; but, at the very least, exercise some control and diplomacy.

Not looking for perfect, just pragmatic and progressive

You are here to represent us. Just as we are not perfect, we know that you are not perfect. I can admire those who acknowledge their mistakes or shortcomings, and are not too proud to make things right nor are too stubborn to change. I prefer leaders who can think clearly on their feet, despite being under pressure. I respect those who are capable of pausing for a moment to act more deliberately and thoughtfully; and those who can communicate with clarity, purpose, and integrity. Moreover, of utmost value to the student body is a leader who can empower others and inspire those around them into accomplishing goals for the greater good.

I do believe that someone might have just what it takes to spark into action the embers that have been flickering unsteadily under the proverbial butt of the student association. I am about to vote to get this person into office because I believe that they can actually make a positive difference. I thank all of the candidates for taking a stand and being a voice for the students. I have very high hopes for HESA this coming year. I don't need you to make it great, I just need you to make it better.