Faces of Nelnet: Anne Watson, Regional Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions (MI, OH)
Dawn Knight: What is your main focus right now? I know you’re on some projects for Nelnet; can you give me some insight on those?
Anne Watson: Working with school staff to serve on Nelnet Advisory Council, reviewing motivational speakers within Nelnet to speak at upcoming conferences, co-sponsoring presentations on DL Coalition and customer service, working with State on preparation for winter training, focusing on the legislative process, and continuing to stay in touch with our customers in an attempt to improve our processes and provide even better service.
Dawn: Have you had any memorable moments over the past year work-wise that you’d like to share?
Anne: At my age, all my moments are memorable – if you can remember them! Seriously, being ranked number one last quarter as a TIVA by schools. I am so proud of my Nelnet team and all our school clients.
Dawn: What is your favorite work-related iPad app that you can’t live without?
Anne: Outlook!!! Raina, my coworker, sent me a “congratulation note” when I replied to her using my iPad! Purchased iPad two weeks ago—it is great. Ask me this question two to six months from now, and I am sure I will have a “better” answer.
Dawn: What do you see as the biggest challenge schools are facing right now?
Anne: Where do I start? Having worked in schools for over 30 years, my heart goes out to financial aid staff. Finding your balance, prioritizing, working with less, and being more effective within your office with all the continuing regulations and policies, increasing default rates – these are just some of the challenges schools are facing. Yet, with all of the above, your number one challenge, internally, is student satisfaction.
Dawn: What is your best recent read or CD you’ve purchased?
Anne: Recently, my best reads are- Hot, Flat and Crowed by Tom Friedman, Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin, and Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. Best recent CDs are Intimacy by Kem and the Healing Power of Music by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO).
Dawn: Who has been your Work / Life mentor throughout the years and why?
Anne: My mom and dad. They moved my family (10 of us) to the North when I was 9 years old so we could have a “better life”. They always worked as a team; and they worked diligently on their jobs from dawn to dusk, 6 days a week. They never had a car until my Mom turned 60 years old, and they seldom missed work. They never made us feel like we were a burden. We felt loved, and they taught us to share with each other and with others. They were the greatest.
In my professional life, I have had so many mentors. Like the two I will mention, Father McKendrick and Peter Roddy, they all believed in me and saw talent that my mother and father saw and set the course for me to succeed. While they have all passed on, my many mentors/friends that are in my life today and are working in or retired from the financial aid profession (you know who you are), I am most grateful.
Dawn: What was the most recent meal you cooked that turned out awful?
Anne: Cannot say. What can you do to salmon that is awful? (never overcooked) I usually cook this fish 3 days a week – broiled, grilled, or baked. All vegetables are good steamed or broiled. As you can see, my meals are not complicated or varied enough to be awful.