A Word from our Outgoing Chair,
Dr. Allyson Straker Banks
As summer sets in and we put another academic year behind us, I hope that you make time to rest, reflect and most of all, breathe.
During the pandemic, we all faced challenges that strengthened us and changed us. That goes for the ACE Women’s Network-New Jersey, too. For nearly a year, the executive board has worked behind the scenes to sharpen our vision and shape future leadership. My term as Chair of our state network ends this month and I am proud to announce that Dr. Felicia McGinty and Dr. Antoinette Clay will be our new co-chairs, beginning Thursday, July 1, 2021.
Dr. Clay and Dr. McGinty each bring a broad and diverse range of experiences to the network at a time when it is most needed. With the many changes underway in higher education today, their strong skills in leading transformation and adapting higher education practices to the needs of our current student populations will enable the network to offer you strong support and meaningful professional development programs.
They, along with 13 other excellent new board members who represent colleges and universities across the State of New Jersey, are eager to work with you and for you, as they build upon the strong foundation that ACE Women’s Network-New Jersey has maintained for over 43 years.
Since I arrived in 2007, I have learned many lasting lessons that will stay with me as I move into some new and exciting ventures. Through ACE Women’s Network-New Jersey, I was fortunate to have opportunities to expand my leadership, negotiation, and communication skills. I have benefited immensely from the many occasions of networking, connecting with new people, and helping other women along their career paths. Most significantly, I have been able to build long-lasting professional and personal relationships, ones that have guided me on my own career path and will extend well beyond my tenure on the board.
Over the years, I, myself, have been a student in learning and observing the tremendous value of following one’s conviction in voicing a differing opinion with the goal of advocacy for those whose voices too often go unheard. Refining the skill of speaking up and speaking out requires tenacity, self-assurance, and a strong desire to effect change even if it means sacrificing popularity.
ACE Women’s Network-New Jersey also allowed me to exercise many other muscles—budgeting, negotiating, strategic planning, designing and enforcing organizational by-laws and more. For this and so many other teachable moments, I am truly grateful for the efforts of all of the board members who preceded me and those with whom I worked.
|More work to do
As we learned in both of the conferences we held during this academic year, our work is not done. We need to encourage women in furthering their professional development and finding ways to have it all. Yes, in my mind, you can have it all. We can each develop career strategies and personal paths in which we organize our goals and bring our own support systems into the mix. Prioritizing our aspirations allows us to determine areas on which we wish to place our focus at different times in our lives, as we explore the diversity of possibilities that exist in our professional and personal lives.
Our future is bright and YOU are an important part of the future success of ACE Women’s Network-New Jersey! The organization continues to flourish with your input, opinions, and participation.
I am leaving this particular leadership role, but I am not leaving my ongoing support for the ACE Network IDEALS (programs that Identify, Develop, Encourage, Advance, Link, and Support women in higher education careers). I look forward to cheering on our new co-chairs as they continuing the work of our network. On behalf of ACE Women’s Network-New Jersey, we wish you the best and look forward to offering you exciting and energizing programming in the upcoming fall!
Allyson Straker-Banks, Ph.D.