Mary Giselle Herran | Outreaching Past My Comfort Zone: A MAFA 1819 Board Reflection
If you went back in time to one year ago and told me that I was going to run for MAFA board, I wouldn't have believed you. Me? Mary Herran, for Co-Outreach on MAFA board? I was in disbelief when Maddie, Raphie and Sammy from MAFA board 1718 reached out to me last year during election season. Last year, I served as External Chair on UMich FASA's executive board, and was also the MAFA representative. I also served as a co head for my MAFAmily, PUNcit fam. I was heavily involved in the MAFA community and I loved every moment of it, but running for MAFA board never crossed my mind. It was overwhelming for me to think about being a part of an executive board for such a big organization like MAFA. But something that drove me to apply and run for Co-Outreach was my love for connecting with others in MAFA and my desire to give back and make a difference in this community. Honestly, looking back at it, I'm still surprised that I went out of my comfort zone and ran. But I wouldn't trade this experience for anything.
If you run for MAFA board and get elected, you may not know everyone on your board, and that's okay! We all come from different schools and stretch from one side of the Midwest to the other. Even though we first met as a board through our computer screens, we immediately became so close. What I loved about being on MAFA board is that even though we don’t see each other in person on a regular basis, our friendship grows stronger every time we are all together for an event. The times I had the opportunity to bond with board are some of my happiest memories this year and I’ll always cherish those memories. I LOVE YOU, BOARD ❤️
For me, the most memorable accomplishment as Co-Outreach chair would have to be seeing all of the new MAFAmily members participate in MAFAmily Spirit Weeks. Sorting new members into families was so stressful, Jessica and I would spend 1-2 hours everyday leading up to spirit week. I remember being especially nervous during the first round of MAFAmilies because it had been my first time having to sort so many people I didn’t know into 20 different families. However, seeing all the enthusiasm and hard work put by all the MAFAmilies during spirit week felt so rewarding and heartwarming. Like, we sorted 100+ applications into 20 families AND organized spirit week. We did THAT.
A big thing that I learned was that being on MAFA board isn't at all similar to working on UMich FASA's board. It's obvious every board has their own dynamic in terms of how they work, however, it's even more of a challenge when you don't see your board members face-to-face regularly. While we all worked hard at what we did, we’re all so remote and don’t meet in person on a regular basis, so it’s hard to stay on task with our duties on MAFA board all the time. Because of that, I learned to be more accountable for myself and the rest of board when we had delegated tasks to do.
A lot of people know me for my bubbly personality, but what I would really love to be remembered by is the hard work and dedication that I have put forth into the MAFA community. One of my main goals on board was to make the community more open to discuss about topics such as mental health, because it is a common thing we as college students struggle with as we navigate through our Filipinx American identities. I hope I was able to make an impact in that way during my term on board.
Some advice for anyone running for Co-Outreach would be to be prepared to communicate A LOT, with your Co, board, your MAFA reps, and MAFAmily heads! Also remember that you will be working with a Co so not all of the work will be put on just you. I was so fortunate to have Jessica as an amazing and supportive Co. Co-Outreach seems like a lot of work, but as long as you approach this position (and any position, for that matter) with enthusiasm, it won’t be too stressful and you will have a lot of fun! You’re running for this position for a reason. Do what you love to do, and do it with passion!
To Jessica, thank you for being my partner in crime this past year. We've been there for each other throughout everything, whether it be watching me bawl my eyes out in the car, making jokes that we're gonna quit MAFA board (wow we made it this far!), and ALL the tsismis #wheresjess 😂 I love you so much, Co ❤️
Thanks for an amazing year,
xoxo Mother Mary