Happy Friday everyone! It’s hard to believe that I started this spotlight four months ago, but it has truly been a humbling experience to share the amazing accomplishments of my peers.
Today’s “Millennial on a Mission” is a young lady that I’ve grown to admire over the last few months since becoming president of the 57th session of Syracuse University’s Student Association. Her campaign for presidency was extremely compelling, and it was admirable to see a young woman run (and win) a position that has been typically held by male students. Although we didn’t have the pleasure of knowing one another during my time at Syracuse, her poise, grace and talent have truly impressed and inspired me.
Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to introduce you to Alexandra Curtis.
A junior at Syracuse University, Alexandra currently lives in East Greenwich, Rhode Island but has spent most of her life in the San Francisco Bay Area and Washington D.C. “D.C. is where I really got into politics and media at a young age, which definitely led me to Syracuse because of the strength of Newhouse and Maxwell,” Alexandra says. She credits her time in SA, combined with her interests in politics and media to have led me to pursue a career in campaign management. “Political strategy has always been an area of interest of mine. The electoral process is so fascinating to me and exhilarating.”
On balancing her campaign, classes, and setting goals to accomplish during her administration:
Balancing my campaign and classes was challenging at times, however, I had many talented people on my campaign team. They are the ones who made it possible for me to campaign and be a student!
While I am in office I hope to see a bill passed that makes it possible for future SA presidents and vice presidents to run together as a team. I see that being a great way to provide stronger leadership in SA. We are also working to expand Impact Week, which provides support to the many campus organizations working to make Syracuse a better campus and community. And, of course, an ongoing goal is to keep 100 percent of our seats filled so that all students have representation in SA.
As for the critical issues facing college students today, there are many. Student hunger, financial aid and creating more internship and networking opportunities for undergrads are a few that SA is addressing. Segregation on campus has really come to the forefront of our work and attention as well. I was a panelist for Healing the Scars in February and that was an unforgettable and powerful experience. I am excited to see the outcomes of our efforts in the future as we try to alleviate such critical issues at SU!
As in any political environment, leaders are sometimes faced with adverse challenges that test their strength. Recently, Alexandra experienced a unique situation in which members of her administration felt she had misled them about the enrollment status of one of the PR co-chairs and they asked for her resignation. Facing such harsh and public criticism was tough, but she knew she had to stand strong not just for herself, but for everyone who support her.
On what she learned from the situation what it meant for women in leadership positions:
I did take away several lessons from the situation. I learned just how important it is to have the loyalty of those you work closest with, and I learned that when possible, you need to make as much information available to the public as possible. People love being kept in the know, and it really is important to keep all team members on the same page.
I also saw first hand the importance of standing up for yourself and sticking by your decisions. It would have been easy to bow out and resign so I wouldn’t have to have “impeachment” associated with my name and presidency. Fortunately, I stuck by my presidency and our Assembly showed overwhelming favor to keep me in office. I realized that a charge of impeachment doesn’t define me, but how I rise up and overcome the challenges that face me does. This isn’t my whole story – it’s just merely a chapter in my life. I am so relieved to see not only me, but also SA moving past this and doing great things for SU. I believe this will be one of the most influential sessions of SA to date!
As for what it meant for women in leadership positions, I feel that it was another example of women in leadership being judged by a different standard than men. As women we need to understand that we will likely be judged by a double standard when we take on leadership positions.
To Alexandra, a “millennial on a mission” means that millennials are the ones who will set the pace, tone, and bar for the next era. “Our dreams are our mission, and we need to keep them at the forefront of all that we do on a daily basis.” She loves the quote, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough!” and believe it has gotten her to where she is today.