Last updated on March 9, 2022
Anabel Romero-Juarez, dean of recruitment and retention for enrollment management, doesn’t do New Year’s resolutions. She selects a couple of words to define her focus for the coming year. For 2022, her words are resolution and healing – well aligned with the Women’s History Month theme of “Providing Healing, Promoting Hope.”
“I feel like we are entering a season of restoration,” she said. “Leadership needs to be the example when we’re talking about self-care and mental health and collegiality and belonging. We emit that hope or that healing by example.”
The work of serving students and the community is never done and it’s important to remember that “the work is going to be here tomorrow morning. It’s not going to disappear overnight or over the weekend and we are going to get it done.” So, setting the example of self-care is important.
“The type of transformation that Dallas College has embarked on is not something that turns around in a year or two,” she said. “And unfortunately, I feel that with the fast-paced culture that we live in, it’s like OK it’s done — we’re good to go. But really, we just got through the first stage of that change cycle.”
As a woman in leadership at Dallas College, she recognizes the vital role of women in building a forward-thinking institution that will serve students and the community for generations to come. We all face unique challenges even without the contributing factors of the pandemic and college reorganization.
“The burnout is real. It’s real at home. It’s real at work. It’s important, that as women, we check in on each other,” she said. “It’s important that we give each other that space to kind of talk and step away and bend a little bit.”
Just asking for help sounds like a simple thing, but it’s challenging to reach out and to be honest about feeling vulnerable or overwhelmed and knowing it’s OK to say if you’re not OK.
In the glass half full, half empty analogy, Romero-Juarez tries to be the half-full person. But she admits that there are moments when she too feels overwhelmed and discouraged. That’s when she gets up, takes a walk and connects with people.
“You have to make sure that you’re full. That you feel you are at full capacity in any and every way — physically, mentally, spiritually. Whatever it is that fills your cup — because we can’t give from an empty cup.”
After nine years at North Lake, she moved to Mountain View in June. While it’s been an adjustment settling into a new location with new faces, it’s been helpful to get up, go into other offices and meet people. It’s important to find that human connection in those simple moments.
But a new role brings a new set of challenges. Romero-Juarez compares it to juggling balls in the air to build a new team from scratch while sustaining the day-to-day operations and planning for the future.
Her advice to women who wish to advance their career is to find a mentor. Not necessarily an official mentorship, but a connection with someone that has done well and been successful.
“I think it really just starts with building relationships,” she said. “I’ve been blessed with powerful women mentors throughout my career, and I feel like I’ve done my best to follow their example and just try to grow every day and learn.”