NACAC sat down with CEO Angel B. Pérez to get his insight on his work style, his goals, and how he plans to move NACAC forward. The transcript excerpts below capture some highlights from the interview. View the the video.
…I always try to look for the light, even in the darkness, and we are facing a lot of darkness right now! Most of you know, I just left a college campus. Anyone who spends time on a college campus with young people has to be hopeful. I am so inspired by them. Think about the movements we’ve had this past year, …the way young people have risen to the occasion—it gives me an incredible amount of hope.
…We need to think about putting more resources in training the next generation of people in this profession. It’s an area I’m very worried about. If you are a young admission counselor on a college campus right now, your job is not easy. Also, I’ve been thinking—how do we inspire the next generation? How do we make sure we have good, motivated young people who want to stay in these roles? That’s the role NACAC can play. We can provide the training, the inspiration, the platforms, the connections, the networks….
Our No. 1 asset is our members. I mean, there are nearly 14,000 all over the world with an incredible amount of talent…! We call upon them for expertise, for our conferences, and our trainings. …They are the ones on the ground, often leading the national conversation.
Asset No. 2 is what NACAC provides—connections, resources, and platforms.
“…THE MAJORITY OF OUR MEMBERS HAVE JOINED THIS PROFESSION BECAUSE THEY CARE DEEPLY ABOUT STUDENTS BECAUSE THEY WANT TO DO WELL BY THEIR INSTITUTIONS, AND ALSO BECAUSE THEY CARE DEEPLY ABOUT THE COUNTRY AND THE WORLD….”
—Angel B. Pérez
I hope to move the association toward offering more training and professional development, and maybe even continuing education online. We need to make sure we have strong platforms for that.
On a related note, I would say technology and communications go hand-in-hand. Many of our members are on social media and many get their information this way. We should be using our social media and technology platforms to get word out about what NACAC is doing and remind members of ways we are supporting them. …An investment in technology infrastructure is going to make us stronger in the future.
It has been a summer of reckoning and a tremendous opportunity. I can’t imagine that any organization isn’t stopping to think about how it may be participating, however unintentionally, in systemic racism. I have said to our members and to our board that NACAC should start doing the work from the inside out. …I plan to bring in professionals to guide this very difficult and soul-searching conversation with staff and leadership.
I’ve also been thinking about ways we might be able to provide this training and professional development for our members. …This is not a one-and-done! This is the beginning of a lifelong commitment for NACAC.
Our membership has had a rough year because of the Department of Justice investigation. We had to remove certain provisions from our ethical code.
But the reality of the matter is you don’t need a code to do what’s right! I believe, having sat in an enrollment officer chair for over 20 years …the majority of our members joined this profession because they care deeply about students, because they want to do well by their institutions, and because they care deeply about the country and the world….
I’ve always loved that phrase…it’s hopeful and forward-thinking. …If you’re a leader at an institution or in this country, you deliver a lot of bad news and you grapple with a lot of difficult issues. Ending my emails or my letters with “onward” signals that we must go on—we must continue the fight. We must continue moving forward, despite all the challenges.
I have a strict rule. I don’t debate on social media. I think social media is a wonderful place to inform, engage, and share. But I have seen over the last several years the way debate can really go south on social media. The problems we are dealing with today, particularly in our profession and in our membership, are much too nuanced and much too complex to be solved in 280 characters on Twitter.
…I’m still old school. If I’ve got a problem with you, I’m going to pick up the phone. (We’re not doing this on email either.) I’m going to pick up the phone and I’m going to say, “Hey, let’s have a chat. Let’s work through this.” I have always found the minute I pick up the phone, the conversation is entirely different and we end up in a good place.
…If you see something you’re not happy about or something you think NACAC needs to address—I want to hear about it. Feel free to pick up the phone and have that conversation, or send me a line and say, “I’d love to have a conversation with you about this.” The things our members want us to deal with are usually spot-on. It’s how we respond that makes all the difference.
Video shot and edited by DCPV360.
Read more about and from Angel:
Follow Angel on Instagram angel.b.perez
Follow Angel on Twitter @AngelBPerez
Connect with Angel on LinkedIn
Angel’s website: angelbperez.comAngel’s email: CEO@nacacnet.org