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MAFA Board Reflections '18: Emily B

By Emily Balentine

Hi everyone, here is my reflection. Heads up: it was written with the intention of while possibly convincing you to run, to also give you my honest experience of the past year. Please enjoy!

This is difficult to write because I’m somewhat in denial that this year on MAFA Board is coming to an end. It feels as though just last week, I was frantically running around town looking for an outlet to save my poorly charged electronic devices before it was my turn in the second round of elections. Lesson #1: MAFA E-Board should always have a phone charger, laptop charger, and headphones. After having an amazing experience co-coordinating MFAS 2017, I became interested in running for MAFA Board. It may sound selfish, but I wanted to be like the amazing leaders I had met throughout the MAFA community and MAFA Board looked like that opportunity. As round one was approaching, I convinced myself with only one year of leadership under my belt, being non-Filipino, and not wanting to overload my schedule I should wait or maybe reconsider running. However thankfully, after having fellow leaders reach out to me about running, I reconsidered my decision. In the end, it came down to I would 100% regret not taking the opportunity to challenge and encourage my abilities by running more than I would ever fear being busy or not qualified.

The summer was exciting. I felt so much anticipation of what would become a year of highs, lows, and somewhere in between. At transitions, I met PAFASWANIHANSOC, aka Emily Liebau from PASS, Marlo Delatorre from PFA, Raphie Torralba from FASO, Maddie Ronquillo, Kala Mangune, Nicole Calaustro from Kapwa, my fellow BSO girl Sammy Dayon, and Nina Cedro from FilSoc. Two things were clear after a weekend of bonding, goal setting, and good food. The first, I could tell the 1718 Board was made up of dedicated and compassionate leaders. This proved true as throughout the year we were there for each other whether it was listening when a board member wanted to cry or celebrating the success a board member felt. The second realization was, I was feeling inadequate among such amazing leaders. However, that is the funny thing about Marlo’s Angels, we are not perfect. To those worried they’re not good enough, I bet you are. In the end, I’ve learned it is about always trying and being genuine about the work you do that makes a leader. Under the guidance of the board and with the opportunities MAFA provides, I am beyond grateful for the 1718 Board and for all those who have taught me something this year. Lesson #2: MAFA E-Board can only become what you put in the time creating so create something amazing.

So exactly what does MAFA E-Board do and what have I enjoyed...besides all our boba runs. Being on board can be different for every year and every position, but for me, this is a summarized list of what I’ve been involved in (and not necessarily what I am required to do).

  • meetings with MAFA schools

  • cover photos

  • all SLR/WLR/MFAS planning and preparation

  • CWAC workshop for FACT/MFAS

  • MAFA Board statements

  • roundtables

  • intern program

  • selling merchandise/MAFAgrams

  • representing MAFA when meeting professional groups

There is probably more I’m forgetting, but I think it is safe to say that being part of MAFA Board means volunteering when help is needed. There are many tasks that aren’t assigned to a position but need to get done. Lesson #3: MAFA E-Board while friends, should keep each other accountable in serving the MAFA community. Hard work cannot be done unless everyone is working together. I owe a lot of my work and organization to Sammy. Not only was she my go-to girl throughout the year, she has continued to be, and I hope always will be, a huge role model. If it wasn’t us on the road for six hours listening to a mix of K-Pop, throwback 2000s, and Les Misérables music while I poured sauce on Sammy’s Taco Bell then it wasn’t Samily from MAFA Board. She has seen me cry, laugh, snore, attempt to Milly Rock, etc. and yet, she never stops believing in me. I’ll save the rest of our memories for another time because frankly I have so much to thank her for, but I hope everyone at one point in your life meets an amazing friend like Sammy.

This all being said, even though this year I have not had a life outside of executive boards, I cannot deny that I have had the time of my life this year.

My name is Emily Balentine. I go to Marquette University and am a junior studying Social Welfare and Justice with double minors. I have been proud to be the 2017 – 2018 Events Coordinator for the Midwest Association of Filipino Americans and I wish everyone running luck. To those still unsure, feel free to message me!

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