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Leading by example

CBS Student Services’ Meaghan Miller Thul embraces opportunities to lead and mentor others in the office and outside of it.

Meaghan Miller Thul was selected to the 2014-15 cohort of the U of M Women’s Leadership Institute, which offers University staff and faculty women an opportunity to grow as leaders as part of a learning community. Members come from supervisory, management and administrative leadership positions throughout the University. In her role as assistant director of CBS Student Services, Thul oversees the college’s student programs, student retention and new student recruitment efforts.

Leadership is a thread that runs through your personal and professional endeavors. Talk about some touchstone leadership experiences.

Teaching leadership classes has been one of the most significant experiences. Our bright and engaged students dig into the curriculum and push their own limits and assumptions. I probably learn more from them than they do from me! I also spend time managing projects and working to develop new initiatives. This aspect of my job has challenged me to always think about what might seem to be impossible and how we can make it happen. Leading a team of staff to create something new is invigorating and, quite honestly, fun.

Outside of work, I volunteer with my national sorority, Sigma Kappa. The hallmarks of this experience include learning from more experienced members as well as mentoring and encouraging newer members. I have coordinated and hosted conferences for 800+ members, created programming and training curriculum for collegiate and adult learners, and engaged in strategic planning initiatives to ensure the long-term success of the organization.

How does your background in leadership inform what you do here at the college?

I supervise a team of four people, serve as the point person for multiple college-wide events (Sneak Preview, Dean’s Reception, Commencement) and work with various campus partners to facilitate the work of the college. But I believe that the leadership role I play informally is at least least as important, if not more so. In my time at the U of M, I have served as a mentor and leader to both undergraduates and new professionals. It has always been a high priority for me to encourage others to learn, explore and push themselves to work toward their full potential.

What do you hope to get out of this experience?

I am looking forward to exploring how to better encourage and support the professional growth of the staff I work with. Our staff is so very talented and the university would benefit by retaining each of them. It’s also a chance connect with other women leaders on campus and to take time for personal reflection. We all have full schedules and many things on our “to do” lists. I welcome the opportunity to take time to reflect in the Women’s Leadership Institute environment.