McMaster University – Jennifer Tran

VSA Member of the Year Nomination: Jennifer Tran

Why was this person selected as “Member of the Year” for your organization? What was the criteria to be a recipient of this award?

While on UVSA Ontario, I got to work closely with Jennifer, MVSA’s Co-President. She was a charismatic leader that inspired people from her university through her creative events that promoted Vietnamese culture. She played a huge role in elevating MVSA’s status as an established club within the McMaster Students Union with her ability to combine Vietnamese culture with creative and unique ideas. For instance, she introduced the VIet Cafe concept and Dance Workshops this year which promoted Vietnamese cuisine, as well as modern Vietnamese dance to the university campus. Secondly, one of Jennifer’s platform points was to ensure that MVSA is sustainable in the years to come. Throughout the year, she implemented an executive shadowing mentoring system where executive members would be paired up with a representative on the team and this executive member would be involved in the training process so that come next year, the representative would be prepare d to take on an executive position. As well, outside of MVSA, Jennifer has helped form many connections connections within Eastern Canada VSAs by extending her outreach to help students connect with professionals at UVSA events. She has been involved with numerous collaboration events with other universities such as: University of Toronto, Western University, and Ryerson University. Jennifer believes in the importance of establishing a community where VSAs can unite and help each other succeed. By engaging with other VSAs, Jennifer created strong bonds that will be sustainable in the years to come. All in all, Jennifer is well-respected among her team and she serves as a good role model to her executive and representative members. Recently elected onto UVSA Ontario, I have confidence that Jennifer will continue to inspire others through her leadership, creative ideas, and her promotion of Vietnamese culture.

Describe the roles the nominee has held in his/her community and how these roles have influenced your organization. Provide examples.

Jennifer has been involved with multiple roles in her community and VSA which include:
1) First Year Representative (14-15)
2) Ignite Performer (14-17)
2) Ignite Cultural Director (15-16)
3) President of MVSA (16-17)
4) UVSA Ontario’s VP Admin (Present)
Jennifer has been involved with the Vietnamese community since starting university in 2014. As a first year representative, she played an important role in recruiting first year students to attend events and support MVSA at their cultural shows. Having a strong background in Vietnamese, passion for Vietnamese culture, and based on her performance in MVSA’s cultural shows, she was elected as the Ignite Cultural Director in her second year. Through her guidance and vision for the Ignite Cultural show performances, she has led her team to place 1st and 3rd in the past two years. Due to her successes, it was no question that she was elected as the Co-President of the Association during her third year. During her year as president, she wanted to place an emphasis on philanthropy and throughout the year, she held many events that helped contribute positively to the community around her university. In her year alone, MVSA managed to be one of the clubs in the Students Union to raise the mos t money for a charity and this could not have been achieved without Jennifer’s hardworking attitude, friendly personality, and dedication to her association. While her reign as Co-President is over, she continues to be an active member in the community and wants to expand her passion as she recently was elected as VP Admin for UVSA Ontario. She hopes that this year, she can use this position to bring Eastern Canada closer together and help establish this region in UNAVSA.

What qualities does the nominee have that makes him/her stand out within your organization? Provide examples.

Jennifer’s presence alone stands out within MVSA. Upon meeting Jennifer, she will make you feel welcomed as an individual with her enthusiasm, and outgoing and friendly nature. Jennifer strongly believes in forming genuine and meaningful connections and through her leadership, she has helped build team solidarity by inspiring future generations of executive members and leaders to cultivate their leadership skills and have confidence. At events, you can see how close the executive team is and how welcoming they are as people and this is all thanks to Jennifer who strives and pushes for team spirit and group harmony. Not only that, she also consistently meets up with her executive and representative members in order to get feedback on her leadership, resolve any conflicts, and build her members’ confidence by discussing their strengths and weaknesses. Jennifer’s focus is also not to be a Vietnamese exclusive association. As a result, Jennifer has worked hard to collaborate with many other clubs to expand MVSA’s horizons and increase its presence within the campus. Through Jennifer’s leadership, she has: made MVSA one of the most known clubs on campus; marketed MVSA well by taking advantage of Instagram’s popularity on campus; introduced a unique system to train incoming executive members; and overall, she has contributed to the sustainability of the club in the years to come. Jennifer is unique in that her leadership as Co-President is unprecedented. She carries herself well and is well respected by everyone in the VSA and UVSA community due to her dedication, hard work, and enthusiasm for Vietnamese culture.