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Meet the new President-Elect

The next President-Elect of TACAC is Mickey Saloma, Assistant Dean of Recruitment, Retention, and Alumni Relations at the Lyle School of Engineering of Southern Methodist University. Mickey has been an active member of TACAC for many years and he is looking forward to this new role. He hopes to hear from members, either at the conference or via email, about their hopes for TACAC in the years to come. In the meantime, meet Mickey here on the blog.

Why did you want to serve as TACAC's President:

I was a rookie Admissions Counselor at Texas A&M in 1999 and my boss, Stephanie Anderson, told me I needed to attend what the TACAC Rice Conference (now called ACCI). Initially, I saw it as a great opportunity to get out of the office for a week. However, it became the ultimate networking and learning opportunity for me. I made amazing friends, some of whom have left the profession and some of whom are still in the profession like Diana McAfee (TACAC Executive Assistant), Ed Borges (Houston Baptist University), and Arthur Ortiz (St. Thomas University). More importantly, I was learning from the best in the profession. All of faculty members had either been TACAC President or later became TACAC President. This conference made admissions a profession and not just a job; it truly changed my life. I set a goal to not just be in this profession, but to be a leader in the profession.  Being the TACAC President will be another opportunity to give back to the profession I love. It is a profession that allows us to serve the great students of the state of Texas. 

What do you hope to accomplish during your term as president:

First and foremost, I want to continue to provide remarkable professional development and networking opportunities for our members. I would like to see the organization be more visible in the state of Texas. Texas is a very big state. There is more to Texas than Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio. I would like for us to engage counselors and students in the Rio Grande Valley, Laredo, El Paso, West Texas, East Texas, Corpus Christi, the Panhandle, and other areas. Also, I hope to provide even more opportunities for our members to get engaged in not just the profession but also in the politics of education. TACAC members are some of the busiest people in the world and it can be very hard to keep up with the world outside our campuses and homes. Our profession is crucial to the success of our country and we need to continue to learn about public policies that affect our students. We need to pass on what we learn to our students to truly make a deep societal impact.

What does TACAC do well:

TACAC does so many things to help those in the profession help students seeking higher education. At this January’s board meeting, we created a TACAC Calendar, which illustrated the fact that this organization does not take any months off. We are a part of organization that constantly has opportunities for members to grow within the profession. TACAC is a springboard for professionals who want to be lifelong learners. 

What could TACAC do better:

TACAC should always strive to increase the impact the organization has with professionals and students. TACAC needs to provide more opportunities for schools that don’t have the budget to be members, attend our annual conference, etc. We live in a world of tight budgets. We also live in a world where we must lead with compassion and be driven by innovation and creativity. I look forward to collaborating with our leaders in Texas and across the country to figure out how we can better serve all populations.

How can members seek leadership roles in TACAC, especially if they may want to seek the presidency:

The most successful people in the world got to where they are because they learned the art of time management. The world of the admissions counseling professional doesn’t allow for much down time. However, if being involved in the profession is important to you, you will make the time. I learned from Dr. Leo Marvin (from the movie “What About Bob?”) that we need to take baby steps. I attended TACAC events for many years before I truly got involved in the organization. Then, I joined a committee at Leadership Development Institute when I thought I was ready to take the next step. After 5+ years on the committee, I was asked to lead it and join the Executive Board. Being on the E-Board allowed me to learn more about the many aspects of TACAC. I was then elected to be a delegate for NACAC which allowed me to learn more about the national organization. Now, I am on the cusp of being President-Elect. Through it all, I have learned that TACAC is an organization that you can use to network and to develop professionally at any stage in your career. My time in the admissions world has had a huge impact on my life and my philosophy on life. My sons, Mark and Daniel, have been my students of this impact. They refer to the answers to these questions as my “Daddy-isms”:

  1. What do we do every day?  We get better and better.
  2. What is the best thing we can do in the world?  Help people.

TACAC members should always strive to get better and better by learning. This learning will allow us to genuinely help the students entrusted to us.

What is your most meaningful TACAC memory:

I can safely say that TACAC and I did not get off to a great start. I was a rookie admissions counselor in 1999, when I was told I had to attend the TACAC Conference in Houston. There, I heard from people that spoke about this organization referring to it as “a family.”  At that time, I believed I was only in the admissions world temporarily until I found something better. At the conference and at the TACAC Rice Conference (now ACCI), I thought this was a “family” I would only be a part of for a short time.

That fall, my father passed away unexpectedly. After being out of the office for a week for his funeral, I flew to El Paso for TACRAO college fairs. I was grieving and I wasn’t in the right mindset to be there. However, my TACAC friends that were out in El Paso for the college fairs that week were there for me. They made me smile. They made me laugh. They took care of me that week. That was when TACAC went from a “family” to a family. This family has been there for me as I have grown in the profession and in my life. For that, I am eternally grateful.


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