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By Kristine Lee

In my opinion, middle managers are often overlooked. Pressure comes from all sides and the middle manager needs to learn how to navigate these unchartered waters. Finding happiness in the middle is very possible, but it takes experience and skills to find that place. I am an avid supporter in professional and personal development of my staff. Sometimes, I forget that I also need to allow myself opportunities for my own personal and professional development.

I was fortunate to be selected by my supervisor to participate in WACAC’s Leadership Development Institute in 2013. Even though I had been a middle manager for a few years, it was my first time engaging in an open and direct conversation about life as a middle manager with the support of amazing mentors from various institutions and schools. That same year, I also began a masters program at the University of San Francisco in Organization & Leadership. As an adult learner with practical experience as a manager, I felt my learning experience in my graduate program was extremely helpful in my growth.

I believe that you should always look for opportunities to improve yourself. I seek to find connections with people from various directions both inside and outside my institution. I think you can learn lessons from people wherever you go. I find inspirations from interactions with my colleagues and students as often as I can. In face of changes and challenges in our work, constant self improvement is vital to be the leader I want to be. I strive to be an authentic and transformational leader, like my supervisor and other leaders I look up to.

This is how I find my happiness in the middle. I feel lucky to be surrounded by professionals who represent passion, transformation, and positivity.