By JW McNay/managing editor
Elva LeBlanc talked to students about success in relation to her journey from NE student to her current role as TCC executive vice chancellor and provost at the Hispanic Heritage Month: Latinx Leadership Series Sept. 19 on NE.
An immigrant from Mexico, LeBlanc came to the U.S. and learned English as a second language. She worked very hard to be a U.S. citizen “by choice” and takes voting seriously.
“If you really want to make a difference, you vote,” she said.
Calling herself a “nontraditional student,” LeBlanc discussed the sacrifices and changes people might have to make when pursuing education. Learning is “hard,” she said, and students can affirm their pursuit by asking, “Why am I here [at school] and not somewhere else?”
LeBlanc’s path first led her from a NE student to a faculty member where she wanted her students to get the most out of their education.
“When I was in the classroom, I wanted my students to be better than me,” she said.
As career advancement opportunities were offered to LeBlanc, she was reluctant to accept them but found herself being taken out of her comfort zone, and she eventually became NW Campus president and then provost.
“Leadership has nothing to do with position,” she said.
It’s a person’s qualities that define who is a leader or not, she said, offering advice for students to succeed such as making a decision to reach an educational goal and allowing themselves permission to succeed as well as rejecting the “victim mentality.”
NE student Joanie Torres attended the event and said she liked the advice of rejecting a victim mentality.
“It wasn’t a political directive,” Torres said. “It was more, ‘Make yourself better.’”
NE student Cruz Yolanda Rivera enjoyed some of the similarities she shares with LeBlanc such as coming from an immigrant family and being a nontraditional student. Rivera found LeBlanc’s story to be inspirational.
“I just know it can be done,” Rivera said.
NE student Keren Hamuli, an immigrant from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said LeBlanc is a great example for immigrants.
“I come to many conferences, but she was relatable,” Hamuli said.