Get To Know AHEPPP’s Heart: Executive Director, Lindsay McKinney

We’re excited, for the first time in the blog’s history, to learn more about the individual behind AHEPPP’s day-to-day operations, from the “Big Email” communications to managing AHEPPP’s digital presence to welcoming and supporting each one of our members along their journey. Lindsay McKinney currently serves as AHEPPP’s Executive Director and does her job so well that sometimes we forget she is the only full-time staff member of this organization.

What led you to your role with AHEPPP?

Like many of our members, my introduction into higher education/student affairs as a career was through my undergraduate experience as an Orientation Leader. I distinctly remember the moment when the light bulb turned on that working on-campus supporting college students could be an actual career. After a stint at The Chronicle of Higher Education and graduate school, most of my campus-based work was with student organizations, sororities and fraternities, and leadership programs where I balanced administration, recruitment, advising, and event planning. These roles allowed me to partner with amazing colleagues in a variety of offices like health services, conduct, admissions, and parent/family relations to name a few. Ten years ago, while at UCSD I met Laci Weeden - a long-time AHEPPP advocate - and learned about this new and growing professional association! Eventually, my journey led me away from being a campus-based practitioner to working for the association full-time. My professional background is heavy in both membership recruitment and marketing as well as student affairs administration so serving as the Executive Director of AHEPPP allows me to combine my skill sets very seamlessly.

How long have you been with AHEPPP?

I’ve proudly worked for AHEPPP for over seven years. I was hired as membership Coordinator in 2014 and have been fortunate enough to grow with the association to the Director of Membership & Operations, and eventually become Executive Director.

What is your favorite thing about serving as AHEPPP’s Executive Director?

Working with our AHEPPP volunteer leadership is the best part of the job! AHEPPP is chock-full of incredible humans who give to our organization their very precious few extra hours! Our members and volunteers are some of the most passionate, caring, authentic, and intelligent people on the planet. In addition, serving as Executive Director for AHEPPP allows me to impact student success by supporting all of you! I believe so deeply in the work our members do with families - it makes my job both rewarding and fun. No day is ever the same: some days I’m working on a strategic plan, the next it’s marketing, then I’m planning with the conference team! My duties are always changing with our yearly cycle but working with our members and volunteers is the constant.

What is most challenging about your role with AHEPPP? #OneWomanShow!

People are often shocked when they learn that I’m the only employee of the association. I suspect that will change soon as we continue to grow… but for now, I sure do appreciate our amazing volunteer leaders that support me and our members’ patience on email replies.

What do you believe is the most valuable aspect of AHEPPP?

We have limitless potential! As a young and rapidly growing association we have the flexibility and opportunity to evolve and adapt quickly. The past couple of years have required tremendous adjustment to the “normal way of life” while still making it abundantly clear that the need for excellent family engagement is here to stay. AHEPPP is in a prime position to continue to be the industry leader and expert authority on family relations in the collegiate experience because we can grow and adjust with the changing times.

Tell us a little bit about you, beyond your role with AHEPPP?
Lindsay McKinney and family
I’m a native Floridian and a military spouse. I’m crazy about the beach, tacos, and historical fiction. My three young kiddos keep me super busy (and laughing!) when I’m not working. I love volunteering at their school and exploring “old Florida.” I love to cook, but hate to bake, and think Mexican food is God’s gift to humanity.

What does “family” mean to you?

Family is that special group of people who know you completely and love you anyway. Sometimes that’s the family life gives us and sometimes it’s the one we create for ourselves.

Anything else you would like to add for our membership to know or consider?

A couple of things! First, don’t be afraid to promote yourself, apply for that award, nominate yourself for a leadership role, and publish that paper! AHEPPP needs you, the profession needs you, families need you, and your expertise is invaluable.

Next, I also hope that you will help us spread the word about AHEPPP and how amazing and useful our resources are. There are hundreds of family engagement professionals out there that aren’t members – yet! And there is no better place for them than our community.

Finally, and most importantly, I hope that each member of our organization knows how truly valuable they are. Every time you renew your dues, present at a conference, write a blog post, share a resource, etc., you are supporting the unique and vital professional development of someone just like you, and ultimately advancing the mission of our association.

You can contact Lindsay at [email protected] or (407) 850-8321‬

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