“In the Center for Leadership and Service we often talk about what leadership is and isn’t. It isn’t about a title or position. It is about serving others. It has nothing to do with national recognition, winning awards, or getting promotions. It has a lot to do with humility, integrity, authenticity and courage. In reflecting on what it means to truly be a leader, I would argue that Kaitlyn Shepard is a person who both lives these values and demonstrates them effectively in her work. Therefore, it is with great enthusiasm that I nominate Kaitlyn Shepard for the Emerging Leader Award. While leadership isn’t about position, one’s professional journey is often built upon demonstrated leadership ability. Kaitlyn began her work at UGA as a Senior Coordinator, overseeing our Dawg Camp Extended Orientation program. She jumped into her work enthusiastically and very quickly learned the necessary parts of her role as well as developed important relationships with key partners. Kaitlyn was very quickly becoming a leader in the area of extended orientation on campus as she considered how to make our Dawg Camp programs more effective. In fact, Kaitlyn’s work was so impressive, that it wasn’t long before she was promoted to the Assistant Director when the position came available. In this role Kaitlyn continues to do great work for the Dawg Camp program, but she also began to expand her leadership and expertise to other areas of first year engagement by co-chairing the First Year Experience committee and consulting with partners outside of the division of Student Affairs in the area of first year engagement.
Another way to measure Kaitlyn’s success as a leader in the division is to take a close look at the relationships she has invested in during her time at UGA. Kaitlyn is an outstanding supervisor of GAs and student staff. She always carves out time to meet with our GAs and has supported them as they have applied, interviewed, and selected summer internships. Kaitlyn has also invested greatly in our student leaders through advising and training, and has built the most effective Dawg Camp staff we’ve ever had in the CLS. What’s more is that Kaitlyn has made an effort to form a connection with each and every member of her student staff. She takes the time to get to know them, learn about their goals and aspirations, and works hard to help them reach their full potential.
Most impressive, however, are the ways in which Kaitlyn has become a leader of first-year programming for the division. You may recall from the most recent State of the [University] address given by President Morehead the mention of a new Dawg Camp program designed especially for student entrepreneurs. This new program was made possible because of the outstanding reputation of our Dawg Camp Extended Orientation programs and the relationships that Kaitlyn has built with other offices across campus. Its creation is a testament to the good work done by Kaitlyn and her team and the trust that institutional leaders place in her ability to create an effective niche program.
More than the decisions she has made and the programs she has coordinated, Kaitlyn’s true gift is her ability to connect with students and campus partners to advance student engagement. From the first day she began working at UGA, Kaitlyn took the time necessary to understand the needs of UGA students and the ways in which the programs she coordinates could meet them. Kaitlyn met with students and staff, reviewed past strategic plans, and considered the current goals of the department and the division.
I wholeheartedly believe that Kaitlyn is truly worthy of being bestowed this tremendous honor and would do so with grace, dignity, and respect. I can see so clearly how her work and heart connects to what this award is trying to recognize and after reading this nomination, I hope that you are able to make those connections as well.“
Do you have a staff member with enormous potential? Are you someone that isn’t “new” but feel that you continually exceed expectations?
This award recognizes a UGA Student Affairs staff member who has at least 3 years of professional experience, not all of which have to be in UGA Student Affairs. This staff member, regardless of position or title, exceeds the responsibilities of their position in a manner that demonstrates a commitment to student success.
Nominations will be evaluated according to one or more of the following criteria:
The Student Affairs Staff Awards, given to deserving staff across the division and the University, recognize outstanding accomplishments and leadership in student affairs at the University of Georgia.