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Day in the Life of a Leader with Rhonda Mercadal Evans, Associate Director for Advising, Career & Student Success at CSU Monterey Bay

Updated: Mar 12

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In this week's article:

Meet Rhonda Mercadal Evans of CSUMB! Learn about Rhonda's:

✅ Strategies for problem-solving

🔥 How she motivates her team of young professionals, and

📣 Her advice to leaders about welcoming new generations and providing opportunities for professional development

First, a few metrics:

Time as Assistant Director of Advising at CSUMB: 13 years

Total management experience: 10 years

Currently managing: 7 employees

Rhonda's leadership style:

How do you get ready for the day?

Pray and thank God for waking up to be a better person than I was yesterday. Afterward 15 minutes of stretching.

How do you approach problem-solving?

My approach to problem-solving involves looking beyond the obvious answers and finding the best possible solution to the problem. When dealing with a student, my first thought is to consider if there are any underlying health or personal issues, academic issues, or policy barriers that might be causing obstacles. If it's an issue with a staff member or campus partner, I make sure to gather as much information as possible before addressing the problem. Sometimes, I'll meet with my superior to discuss and problem-solve together to ensure that I'm being fair and acting in the best interest of the student, staff, and institution.

What's an example of a challenge you're facing right now?

The value of education and cost.

How do you motivate your team to perform well?

My Career Development team is composed of young professionals, and it is essential to foster a sense of purpose and growth within them. We hold weekly meetings as a group to discuss self-care challenges and successes. I encourage my staff to manage their careers by providing them with steps and projects to help them achieve their goals. Additionally, I offer professional development opportunities such as conferences, networking events, and webinars. Whenever possible, I publicly praise each member of my team for their fantastic work and acknowledge their talent, strengths, and contributions. To ensure that our department fosters a sense of belonging, I meet with each staff member bi-weekly to ensure they feel fulfilled in their role.

Who are your leadership role models?

I have several mentors who are leaders. When I have a challenge or question, I can reach out to them for good advice, which is reassuring.

What advice would you give someone new to leadership?

It is important to be open to welcoming a new generation or a new professional entering the workplace. As a new leader, it is necessary to be well-versed in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and open to different perspectives and cultures regarding workplace loyalty. Being a good listener and having a well-structured onboarding plan are essential. Professionals entering the workplace expect their employers to have a growth plan, be flexible with work arrangements, and provide opportunities for professional development.

Is there someone you'd like us to feature in an upcoming edition of Day in the Life of a Leader? Contact us below and let us know!

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