November 13 2015

Diary of a VP- Girl, Go Get Those Leadership Opportunities! by Mikayla Toonen, UW – Madison

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One of the most important lessons I have learned this far in my college career is go the extra mile. No matter what, class, working out, a project, and especially student organizations. I have always strived to be more than just a member of student organizations. Starting my freshman year, I joined a marketing student org and applied to be on a committee even though I knew nothing about marketing. I got a position on the committee and learned so much that I would not have, if I stayed only a member. That opportunity encouraged me to reach the extra mile and continue trying for similar opportunities. Now, I have the very special role of being the Vice President of the Association of Women in Communications (AWC) at my University. It is a lot of work but I couldn’t be happier to help lead the organization through another successful year. How did I get here though? This is my journey to becoming VP.
I joined AWC last semester after finally figuring out I wanted to go into Journalism. I went to the first meeting and fell in love. Not only were the members so welcoming but the speakers offered so much advice about everything I wanted to do. The Vice President at the time was looking for a few members to step up and help coordinate a speaker event. Of course I volunteered. I love planning events and being able to become more involved with the student org would be a great opportunity.

Planning the event was so much fun. I became closer with another member that was helping and the VP, who was our supervisor during the process. Working side by side with the VP allowed me to see more into her position on the exec board and allowed her to mentor me through a few decisions about my major.

Elections came around at the end of the semester and I knew I wanted to run for the board. I didn’t know what I wanted to run for because it was my first semester in the club. I figured I wouldn’t be fit for VP.  The VP at the time talked me out of that though. She said I had an advantage because I volunteered to take on a larger role than just being a member. With a little encouragement I knew I had to try for VP or I would regret it.


I emailed the president immediately to get on the ballot and began writing my speech. I made sure everyone voting knew how I wanted to improve the club, what I would bring to the table and how much I wanted the position. I am not one for public speaking, but with my little note card I got up in front of those ladies and spilled out my speech. That in itself was a great experience.

I’m sure you can guess how the story ends… I got the Vice President position!


  1. Find a mentor, someone one you can ask questions to and bounce ideas off of
  2. Search for a student organization you are passionate about
  3. Be more then a member
  4. Don’t underestimate your abilities, be confident
  5. Become a leader, if you don’t someone else will

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Meet Mikayla:

Screenshot 2015-11-13 07.35.46I’m Mikayla, a Junior at the University of Wisconsin- Madison but my heart lies in Appleton, WI. I’m a Journalism major and hopefully a future PR, Mad (Wo)man or #girlboss. I can’t live without avocados, mystery novels or traveling. No one says it better than my girl Queen B “Who run the world? Girls”.

Love Scandal?  Want to be a Gladiator?  Check out Mikayla’s article [here].

2 thoughts on “Diary of a VP- Girl, Go Get Those Leadership Opportunities! by Mikayla Toonen, UW – Madison

  1. Nicely done Mikayla! I love the fact that you never said it was hard. Of course, it may have been but you see it as and experience. Love your choice of words.

  2. Loved your article and how you are taking advantage of all of the learning opportunities as you lead the way! It’s hard work but worth all of the experiences.

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