November 5 Day 607: Board Advice

The MAA Board had a hybrid meeting with 5 participants attending remotely and 16 in-person. It was an adventure, especially during the group activities, but we figured it out as we went along.

Since people had laptops in the meeting room, we eventually landed on everyone signing into the Zoom meeting with their sound turned off (both the microphone and speakers). Only one computer in the room was connected to sound, picking up all the discussion through a tower speaker/microphone/rotating camera. It was difficult for remote participants to know who was speaking since the “yellow box of Zoom” highlighted the computer receiving the sound. Eventually, I tried pinning the current speaker, but even knowing who was speaking in the room, I had a hard time pinning them fast enough to make a difference.

Small group discussions were a challenge. But we gave them a real good try. Each time we broke into groups, the technology became easier but there was a lot of shuffling and testing to get started. (If you are interested, please ask and I will detail the trials and tribulations of hyflex group discussions where each remote participant was in a different group.)

I really enjoyed the meeting ice-breaker. I asked “What was the best piece of advice you have received.” In retrospect, I learned I should have reworded the prompt as “ What is a good piece of advice that you have received?” Some people, including myself, don’t think of advice as a totally ordered set. So there is no reason to believe that a maximum (i.e. best) value exists.

Below you will find a bulleted list of some good advice that was shared today. Technically, discussions of the Board are confidential. I asked for permission to share the advice with you, which I received, but I will share anonymously:

  • Every ‘yes’ may lead to a future ‘no.’
  • Don’t cut off your leg.
  • It’s the people that matter the most.
  • Make wise choices because there are no do overs in life.
  • You are the master of your own fate.
  • Ask yourself will it matter in 5 days? 5 months? 5 years?
  • Organization is the key to success.
  • If you can fix it, then fix it and quit worrying. If you can’t fix it, then quit worrying.
  • Keep your eye on the ball.
  • Choose wisely.
  • For some mistakes, you can say sorry and move on. Sometimes sorry isn’t enough. (Know the difference).
  • You get more with honey than you get with vinegar.
  • Don’t worry what others think of you, until they pay your bills.
  • Buy low. Sell high.
  • Shaking hands is stupid. Don’t do it.
  • Act like you have tenure. (Said in a non-academic way, act like the person you aspire to be, now.)
  • Hide one’s light under a bushel.
  • Listen more than you talk.

What good advice would you add to the list?

Published by Jenny Quinn

Mathematician. Mother. Wife. Leader. I am a professor of mathematics at the University of Washington Tacoma. Mother of Anson and Zachary. Wife to Mark. President of the Mathematical Association of America.

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