As we continue to prepare for MassSTAR 2017, meet our other Conference Director this year, the luminous Colleen Myers (’01)!
Who are you and how did you become involved with MYL?
I represented Revere High School at the 2001 conference and stayed in touch with the alumni association, though conflicts kept me from returning to volunteer on staff during my high school years. When I moved to New York for college, I found a fellow alum (Hi Stinger!) sitting across the table from me in my very first college class, and he helped me to maintain my ties to the organization (while also remaining one of my dearest friends). I returned to the fold as a senior facilitator in 2010, then took over as Conference Director from 2011-2014. I have spent time on the Board of Directors as both the Board President and Director of Communications, but I’m really excited to be returning to the Conference Director role for 2017 – it’s by far my favorite role within the organization, because it gives me a chance to work closely with so many of our dedicated volunteers while also helping to mentor them and gain valuable skills that will benefit them out there in the real world.
What are you up to now?
I attended Columbia University for undergrad, and I also received my Masters in Education from Harvard University. I currently work as a Team Manager for Amazon, working within the Alexa organization. No, I’m not responsible for her terrible jokes, but I sure do wish I could claim that glory.
What’s your hidden talent?
My brain is jam-packed with lyrics, quite possibly from every song I’ve ever heard more than two or three times through. On a fairly regular basis I catch myself singing along to some song (most recently, and most horrifyingly, the 2002 Avril Lavigne angst-ridden jam, “Complicated”) and I have to wonder… what could I have accomplished in life if so much of my mental capacity wasn’t filled with one-hit wonders from my past? I could have solved the energy crisis and cured cancer by now, for all we know (that’s a lie. I’m an English major, I don’t do science. BUT STILL.)
What’s your favorite point of the STAR?
Intentionality, because it’s the one that I find to be the most challenging. How often do you stop to ask yourself, “Why am I doing this? What’s my purpose? Is it getting me toward my ultimate goals?” We face this challenge constantly while building the MassSTAR Conference, but I also challenge myself to question my intentions in my professional life and in my personal pursuits. (And yes, this means that when you see me staring at the INCREDIBLE Lasell brownies with a focused look in my eye, it’s because I’m asking myself if I’m being intentional in choosing that dessert because it will bring me joy, or if I’m mindlessly being drawn to a sugar fix that will just end up with me crashing halfway through the evening events.)
What gif best represents you?
I’m so delighted that this was the next question, because I crowd sourced to arrive at this answer, asking a few volunteers who have worked with me on multiple conferences for their input. Miss Piggy and Beyoncé were both in the running, but we landed on this:
That’s my promise for the 2017 MassSTAR Conference. Except probably the explosions, I don’t think that’s covered in our insurance – cue the liability song!
What does it mean to “be a good citizen” to you?
To blatantly steal from Friday Night Lights: Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose. Keep your eyes open and be mindful of what’s happening in the world around you. Educate yourself on the issues that impact you and your community, yes, but also keep in mind the broader perspectives and learn everything you can about viewpoints that differ from your own. Approach every situation with sincerity and come from a place of genuinely wanting to do good in the world. Most of all, remember that coming from a place of kindness is always a good choice, and try to embrace that position in all areas of your life.
Who would play you in the film (or musical or theatrical) adaptation of your life?
First of all, my life absolutely would be a musical comedy, thank you for giving me that option. I’m going to go with Jane Krakowski – she’s best known for her over-the-top comedic characters, but she also has real soul in her performances. I like to think that I’m balanced in that way – you’ll catch me cracking jokes and shouting cheers to keep the energy up, but I am always available for a one-on-one debrief with any of our volunteers when they need more serious, focused time.
And finally, do you have any advice for recent (or not so recent) MYL Alumni?
It is NEVER too late to reengage. I kept in contact with people I met at my Conference, but it took eight years for me to return as a formal volunteer. During my time volunteering on the conference, I have gotten a LOT of social media friend requests, and I continue to be inspired by the things our alumni are accomplishing every day. Even if you haven’t been able to make it back to a conference or to an alumni event, there’s no expiration date – you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how many of us remember you!