October 31, 2017
Each month WISA will showcase individuals on the WISA Leadership Team to allow members to get to know the women in executive positions in both a personal and professional capacity.
This spotlight will focus on Ana Rossetti, Co-Chair of the Women in Student Affairs Knowledge Community. Ana works full time as the Assistant Dean for Academic Administration and Student Affairs, Stuart School of Business at Illinois Institute of Technology.
Why did you choose to enter the world of Student Affairs?
A lot of things about my career path can be considered non-traditional, starting with how I developed a calling for Student Affairs. As I explained in my SA Speaks presentation at the 2017 NASPA Annual Conference, in college I was a disengaged college student that was disconnected from campus life. I wasn't a student leader, not an RA, not involved in SGA or any other student organizations. It was my experience as a non-traditional student who did not find a sense of connection on campus that led me to Student Affairs. My college experience sensitized me to that of students who don't fit the normative, dominant identity narrative most institutions think of as a "traditional college student." I saw an opportunity to bring a non-traditional perspective to my work in Student Affairs being that US census data show that in the coming years, the majority of students on our campuses will be those that are currently minoritized. I am endlessly energized by the challenges and growth opportunities presented by working with and for students. At its core, higher education affirms the notion of lifelong learning, continuous development, and pushing against our growing edges. I relish working in a field where continually learning and growing are core premises, and where I can serve and advocate for students and colleagues in an endlessly evolving landscape of knowledge, policy, challenges, and opportunities.
What are your thoughts on work/life balance? Is there such a thing? If so, how do you achieve it?
For me, it's about an integrated life with many facets, all of which interact with each other, influence each other, and cause me to shift my energy and focus on a continual basis -- for me that is energizing. I don't compartmentalize what I do at my workplace from the time I spend with my family, from my volunteer service to NASPA and other organizations - they're all part of a fluid continuum. That doesn't mean I don't set boundaries to create focus and prioritize my time and energy accordingly, but all of the facets of my life inform one another. I am fortunate to get to do work that fuels me, keeps me learning, and pushes me to grow as a person. I feel the same way about my children, my marriage, my friendships, etc. I try to be as intentional as possible about how I expend my physical, intellectual, emotional, and other energies, knowing that each of them is finite and must be replenished. For me, thinking of life in these fluid terms liberates me from creating rigid and arbitrary boundaries that cause stress, anxiety, or guilt, and instead challenges me to make thoughtful, intentional choices that reflect my priorities at any given moment. This process isn't always easy of course, but I have found it helps to make me feel agentic, helping me direct my energies more productively, be accountable for my choices, and get more enjoyment out of each facet of my life.
How has your experience in your role been impacted by identifying as a woman?
My identity as a heterosexual cisgender female is one of the many intersecting identities that form my social location. I am also multiethnic, multiracial, an immigrant, a non-native English language speaker, and someone with White passing privilege, among other things. Everything I do, say, think, and feel is a function of these facets and I can't really disaggregate my experience through the lens of any single one of them. However, the opportunity to serve as Co-Chair of the NASPA Women in Student Affairs Knowledge Community has been a much deeper and more meaningful experience than I could have imagined. It is a solemn responsibility to help lead this organization and to contribute to the opportunities, resources, and dialogue surrounding issues of those who identify as women in our field. I am privileged to have the chance to make an impact and to work with so many committed, talented, and intentional individuals in that process. There is much we still need to do to ensure that we approach our work with inclusion as our driving principle and to respect and affirm the intersectional nature of the membership we represent and serve. I am learning and growing in this role every day, ever grateful for the partnership of my Co-Chair and the leadership team who devote so much of their volunteer time and energy to WISA KC.
We hope you've enjoyed getting to know more about Ana Rossetti! If you have a question for Ana regarding anything she mentioned above or her role on the WISA Leadership Team, please contact her directly at [email protected]
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