Fun Fact: Our Presence office is located only about 90 miles from Walt Disney World.
Many of us take advantage of this fact, making frequent trips to Mickey Mouse’s home turf. And today we’re welcoming two new staff members who may be the biggest Disney fanatics of us all.
World, meet Haley Burrow and Alex Coleman!
Haley (left) and Alex (right) enjoying nature but wishing they were on Space Mountain (I’m guessing)
Alex and Haley are both part of our Happiness team — the fine folks who gently guide our campus partners through initial onboarding, provide ongoing education, and answer all sorts of questions each and every day. Basically, our Happy People work hard to keep SA pros and students smiling and feeling hakuna matata!
So, although Disney may be the official Happiest Place on Earth, we hope to help make your campuses strong runners-up for that title. We’re pumped to have Alex (our newest Happiness Expert) and Haley (Happiness Ally) on board to aid in that mission!
Now, let’s get to know them beyond their love for Cinderella’s Castle and Spaceship Earth.
Alex, Haley —
Do you want to build a snowman?
…Kidding. Here are some more relevant questions.
1. What lead you to Presence?
Haley: When my home institution started looking for a new way to track student engagement, I happened upon Presence through a Facebook group I was a part of. I worked for the past two years implementing it at my home institution and then decided to apply for a job with the company after visiting the offices over the summer to talk about a new feature roll out we were working on.
Alex: I have been working with Presence since it was called Check I’m Here. (I know, throwback!) I always appreciated working directly with the Happiness Team. I cannot count the number of times I was confused and Mike and Franklin talked me through how to make what I wanted to do happen.
I also have been working in higher education paraprofessionally and professionally for almost 10 years, so I felt ready for something fun and new and exciting. So when I saw that Presence was hiring, I couldn’t miss out! I became more hooked every time I talked with someone about the Presence team and the awesome, innovative work that they get to do.
2. How do you see this position fitting into your future career? What benefits or experiences do you hope to gain from working at Presence?
Haley: I see this position helping me to better understand the needs of student affairs professionals and the institutions themselves. This, in turn, will help me continue my dissertation work for my doctoral program and assist me in becoming a more well-rounded professional.
I hope to gain a better understanding of student affairs based technology and the ever-changing technological world that we live in. This position is going to force me outside of my comfort zone and prepare me for future work in student affairs realms, so bring it on!
Alex: My favorite thing in the world is working alongside people to identify areas of growth and creating systems to help them be successful. I believe that Presence gives me an opportunity to work with campus partners to identify areas where their campuses can grow and support them through our platform.
Longer-term, I could see myself doing consulting work and I view this role as an awesome opportunity to grow those skills. I will be able to meet new campus partners, hear about their dreams for their campus, and find a way to make those happen by using the Presence tools. I get to be a consultant, but also get to maintain the relationship past the consultancy process!
Family love! (Left: Haley with her brother and her sister-in-law / Right: Alex with his wife)
3. Where did you attend school? What was your major(s)? Were you involved with any co-curricular or extracurricular activities?
Haley: I attended Southern Arkansas University and completed my bachelor’s degree in general studies, focusing on health, kinesiology and recreation, biological and social sciences. I completed my master’s degree there too, and it was in education focusing, on student affairs and college counseling.
Where to start with the next question!? I was involved in a wide variety of student organizations and activities throughout college. I am a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority and still volunteer and participate actively when I can. I was a part of the student government association, residence hall association, was a resident assistant, a part of the student activities board, Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society and my residence hall council. I also did yearbook club in college and worked as a student assistant in the dean of students office.
Alex: I attended Azusa Pacific University for both my undergrad and grad school. I received a bachelor’s in biblical studies with a minor in leadership. After I was done with undergrad, I decided to go immediately to my M.A. in Leadership program.
During my time at APU, I wanted to make sure I was as busy as possible (classic undergrad, right?!). My first job was with facilities management, where I dumpster-dived for recyclables. After I was done working for facilities, I was involved in residence life and student leadership. I was an RA for freshmen and sophomores and was a student leadership intern.
4. Why are you excited to be a part of the Presence team?
Haley: I am excited to be a part of the Presence team because the atmosphere there is contagious. Everyone is welcoming and friendly and truly supports one another in the work that is being accomplished. I am also excited to meet new people and to live in a different area of the US!
Alex: I am most excited about joining the Presence culture. I love the balance of freedom and accountability that the company so strongly lives out. I look forward to being a member of the team and for bringing my dog, Mowgli, to meet all the rest of the dogs!
We’re equally excited to welcome Haley and Alex’s dogs to the team! (Left: Haley with Zeke / Right: Alex and his wife, Sara, with Mowgli)
5. What do you like to do outside of work?
Haley: I love to travel but more importantly, I love to travel to Disney World. Becoming a Florida resident is a dream come true for me and being able to be so close to the Happiest Place on Earth!
I also love spending time with my dog, Zeke, and hanging with my family and friends.
Alex: My wife, Sarah, and I are massive Disney fanatics. Now, I know what you are thinking: “Oh that’s cute, they like Disney and do that sometimes.” No, no. We have been to Disneyland over 600 times. We are currently annual passholders for Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
“Obsessed” may be a better word for our fandom! We are super excited to be within driving distance of our favorite place on Earth, Walt Disney World!
6. What is something you’ve always wanted to try? What are some goals you have in the future you’d like to accomplish? Why?
Haley: I have always wanted to try brush lettering and to get really good at it. I love being creative (which is why I picked this semi-nerdy answer) but I love seeing people write so elegantly and I want to learn how.
I have one solid goal right now and that is to finish my doctoral degree in the next year. It is a lofty goal because I’m in the heart of the dissertation phase and there is a lot of waiting and editing at that point in the process, but I am willing and ready to put in all the work necessary to finish and become Dr. Burrow.
I know that this degree will help me to further my career and give me a more well-rounded approach to student affairs and help me to excel in my field. I also want to check off a few things on my bucket list in the next few years, like visiting some foreign places and seeing some of the 7 Wonders of the World.
Alex: I have always wanted to spend time traveling internationally. I have been to Cancun and Cabo San Lucas, but my wife and I would love to travel the globe. I have a dream of spending an extended period of time in Europe exploring and digging into the history of that region. We would also love to visit all the global Disney parks! (Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Paris)
In terms of goals (aside from paying off student loans, am I right?), I would love to challenge myself to do something really difficult physically. My wife and I ran a marathon in 2013, and it was incredibly challenging. I would love to try to accomplish a big goal like that again.
That’s all for now! Now let’s make student affairs dreams come true, Haley and Alex.