Leadership Spotlight: Heather Brake

February 19, 2018

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 Heather Brake, the Blog Co-Chair. Heather works full time as the Assistant Director for Residence Education within the Department of Residence Life at Arkansas State University.

Who has been the most influential in the development of your career? Why? (this can be a mentor, colleague or someone in your personal life)

The two most influential individuals in the development of my career have been Dr. Kendra Skinner, Director of Residence Life and Dr. Bruce Skinner, Associate Vice President for Student Life (both at Southeast Missouri State University). They taught me the work ethic and drive that is needed to be successful in our field. Both individuals have supplied me with incredible opportunities that have helped shape me into the professional that I am today. I will forever be grateful to them.

When you wake up in the morning, and you're mentally preparing yourself for another day at work, what excites you the most?

The opportunities I have throughout the day to mentor my staff team. I am fortunate to work with a team that is eager to learn and soaks up knowledge.

What is your long-term career goal? At what point will you feel like you've "made it," so-to-speak?

It is my long-term career goal to be a Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs at a mid-size institution.

How will I know when I have made it? That's a great question, and honestly, I'm not sure of the answer. But, I'm confident it is a feeling I will have one day.

What advice would you give to someone aspiring to move into a position similar to yours?

Do not wait for someone to approach you with an opportunity. It is crucial for you to ask for what you want. This mindset has allowed me to gain great experiences as a professional.

What are your thoughts on work/life balance? Is there such a thing? If so, how do you achieve it?

I believe in work/life integration. As a Student Affairs professional, it can be easy for us to let our jobs take over our lives. However, it is so vital for us to find things to be a part of outside of the workplace. Having a life outside of work will help you keep your sanity.

What experience has made the most significant impact on you as a professional?

As a professional, my experience working with my students at Southern Illinois University Carbondale has made the most significant impact on me. In my time as a Student Affairs professional, I have never experienced students as passionate about the rights of students. I will forever be thankful for the things that they have taught me.

If you were to do something other than work in Student Affairs, what would it be?

I would be an event planner! I love organizing events, especially planning conferences.

We hope you've enjoyed getting to know more about Heather Brake! If you have a question for Heather regarding anything she mentioned above or her role on the WISA Leadership Team, please contact her directly at [email protected]

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