Today we feature Gabrielle Magbalon, a leader at Rowan University. Gabrielle is a junior Radio/TV/Film major from Lindenwold, NJ (Camden County). She tells us about her time at Rowan and experience being a leader.
This story is part of a series spotlighting campus leaders during Women’s History Month.
What is your role in your organization?
I am the president of Rowan University Philippine American Coalition (RUPAC). RUPAC is an inclusive organization where people can come to together to celebrate and be educated on Filipino heritage/culture. We also do performances of our cultural dances like Tinikling.
What have you learned in your role as a leader?
As a leader, I learned that you have to create your own goals and expectations for yourself. I learned that as a leader you have to listen to everyone’s voice. You never know where good ideas will come and with COVID, it’s important to communicate and check up on my Eboard and my general body members’ mental health. I learned as a leader that I can’t always meet everyone’s expectations, but as long as I give my best efforts, I will be satisfied.
What’s your favorite memory as a leader or at Rowan in general?
My favorite memory as a leader was when my team and I hosted our first Virtual Rave called ED5. During the pandemic, people can feel lonely or depressed and with this event, we were able to bring many people together on Zoom and just have a great time listening to music.
Who inspires you and why?
I would say my friends inspire me. Among all of them, they exemplify diligence, intelligence and kindness. These character traits are traits I always try to possess. I feel like when I’m lost or at a low point, my friends always lift me up and give me the best advice.
What’s the most significant barrier to women today?
I think the most significant barrier to women today is patriarchal society. There are so many examples like laws against abortion, women having a higher risk of assault, women getting paid less than men, stereotypes, etc. In other countries, women’s rights are the worse or more accurately, nonexistent. Some women aren’t allowed to wear what they want, or able to drive, or be educated or stolen for sex trafficking. Women are shamed by others for their sexual activity but men are not. Men will mansplain to women without actually giving a good reason. Men will undermine women’s feelings and thoughtlessly blame it on women’s menstruations. I can literally talk about this topic forever.
What advice would you give to the next generation of leaders?
The best advice I received that I would like to pass on is to be ambitious. It’s better to try and fail instead of regretting and never knowing what could’ve been. No one’s perfect and it’s better to use every experience as a learning one. There will always be room for improvement. Also, be yourself. People will have an easier time following someone who is genuine. You can’t meet everyone’s expectations so just be sure you give everything 110%.
I hope everyone is doing well and safe. Please wear a mask! Also, if you want to join RUPAC, you’re more than welcome to! You can find us on ProfLink, Facebook or Instagram (@rowan_pac).
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Marian Suganob, senior public relations and advertising double major
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