Sheila Piippo, ’95 is the Executive Director at ServeMinnesota Action Network which administers the largest AmeriCorps*State program in the country, Minnesota Reading Corps. Sheila began her non-profit career at Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities. While at Big Brothers Big Sisters, Sheila discovered her passion for education-related careers. She developed one of the largest school-based mentoring programs in the Midwest. Sheila went on to earn her Masters in Education from the University of Minnesota. As Executive Director of an AmeriCorps program mobilizing over 1200 AmeriCorps members each year throughout Minnesota, Sheila has the opportunity to develop systems, direct performance-based outcomes, and strategize with numerous stakeholders.
I value the education I earned at Gustavus deeply. The relationships I built while on the hill and those after with alumni have been very beneficial to my career development. Coming from a non-profit perspective, I know how critical networking and sharing resources are to keeping your skills sharp. I want to share the learnings I’ve had during my career and learn from the cross-generational perspectives GWIL offers.
What is the best piece of advice you were given to help you develop your own leadership skill?
Know yourself! As I began my career, I was trying to mold myself into the leadership styles of the women I had as role models. I was fortunate to have great role models. However it wasn’t until I started taking assessments and obtaining 360 degree feedback that I gained confidence in my leadership style. Once I was more aware of my talents, my development areas, and my potential blind spots I was able to capitalize on strengths and find ways to compensate for my development areas. The process of self-awareness is continual and challenges you overcome allow you the opportunity to deepen your awareness even further.