What makes an exceptional leader?

April 5, 2022
  • AACRAO Annual Meeting
  • AACRAO Leadership and Governance
Large group of AACRAO members.

There are many ways to measure the qualities and characteristics of exceptional leaders. AACRAO has taken the stance that those of exception embody and exude all of our values, a task not easily accomplished. And yet, Tina Falkner, AACRAO Past President seemed to hold these values in her heart and inspired the AACRAO Community to do the same.

Her sudden passing last week has left those who knew her shaken to the core. At the 107th AACRAO Annual Meeting, many gathered in her name to share their stories of meeting, learning from, and loving Tina. She demonstrated integrity at the highest standards of honest and ethical behavior. Her ability to foster an environment of accountability and transparency for her staff and those in her church and home community, her commitment to advancing AACRAO and its leaders, as well as her dedication to best practices are the reasons those in the field respected her, loved her, and will truly miss her.

Nearly every memory of my career in Academic Support Resources at the University of Minnesota is linked to Tina Falkner. She has been my boss, my co-worker and teammate, my mentor, and a friend. The memories that best speak to who Tina was as a person are about her giving spirit -- sharing her FERPA knowledge, letting me divide plants with her so I could help my sad backyard, creating community-building events in the workplace to donate to the homeless or just enjoy a potluck together. Tina was always sharing of herself and I am so grateful. - Stacey Tidball, University Registrar, University of Minnesota

Tina was a bright light in our profession, and across humanity. Her kindness, love for the simple things, organization and humor made her a joy to be around. She was cherished and will be missed. - Kristi Wold-McCormick, Assistant Vice Provost and University Registrar, University of Colorado Boulder

Tina went out of her way to make people feel important. She wanted all voices heard. She was a dear friend who had a caring, serving heart.  I will miss her more than I can say. - Tammy Aagard, AACRAO Senior Consultant

Many reflected on her gardening, her giving spirit, and her baking:

Tina generously shared the recipe for her Almond Cake that I will make in her memory:  1 1/4 cup sugar, 1 egg, 1 1/2 to 2 tsp almond extract, 2/3 cup milk, 1 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1 stick melted butter.  1.  Preheat over to 350 degrees.  2.  Beat together sugar, egg, extract and milk.  3.  Stir in flud and baking powder (use a slotted spoon; using a mixer will make the texture less dense.)  4.  Mix in melted butter.  5.  Spray 8 x 8" cake pan with Bakers Joe (oil and flour in the spray).  6.  Sprinkle sliced almonds in the bottom of the pan.  7.  Pour cake mixture into the pan.  8.  Bake for 40-50 minutes until the edges are golden brown.  9.  Cool pan completely in the pan before removing.  Enjoy!!  -Meredith Braz

The AACRAO Community will not be the same after the passing of this exceptional leader but her spirit and her legacy of giving, loving, and pursuing our best selves continues on.

Friends forever. - Ingrid Nuttall, Deputy Registrar, University of Minnesota


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