Lanna Hubbard’s not going to lie. Excited as she was, she was also concerned – “very concerned” – when Howard College named her a dean before she had hit age 30.
Did she have the necessary experience? Would senior faculty members accept her? Would she be able to satisfy her hunger to also counsel and teach?
“But you’ve got to take risks to do great things,” she said. “I’ve worked really hard to show I can do this. I’m honest about my limitations, and I work hard to improve upon those.”
Her supervisor practically scoffs at the notion Hubbard wasn’t yet ready for the mantle of leadership.
“Her leadership skills, work ethic and winning attitude put her above the rest,” said Pam Callan, administrative dean of instruction and student services. “I often call her a one-woman gang! There is nothing she cannot do.”
Hubbard has earned two degrees from Angelo State University, including a master’s in counseling psychology. Aware she needed experience if she were to “conquer the world,” Hubbard joined the AmeriCorps Volunteer program while in graduate school, working locally with Big Brothers Big Sisters. The agency hired her full-time after she graduated.
Eager to use her degree, she leapt at the chance to work at Howard College. She started in admissions and soon progressed to department director, faculty member and dean.
“Education is a stepping stone to get people where they want to be,” she said. “Nothing bad ever comes from getting more education. It just opens more doors and opportunities.”
That’s true even for a dean. At any given moment, Hubbard might be counseling a student, teaching a class, mentoring a new faculty member or administering some aspect of the general studies program.
“The college environment just works for me,” she said. “I’m all about Howard.”
The student body also provides a receptive audience to Hubbard’s message that everyone has a duty to contribute to their community. She saw her parents model that and has embraced that notion even more fully now that she’s a mother to two young children.
“Who’s going to get involved if you don’t get involved?” Hubbard tells her students. “They get wrapped up in the notion that ‘I can make a difference.’ That’s what opened doors for me. I want my students to feel invested in San Angelo.”
That’s why Hubbard offers students extra credit for donating blood or joining an Alzheimer’s Walk or volunteering for a local nonprofit.
She models servant leadership herself by volunteering in the children’s ministry at First United Methodist Church, by reviewing agencies that apply for United Way funding, and by serving on the boards of the YMCA and the Boys & Girls Club.
“I try to be a ‘yes’ person,” Hubbard said. “I try to be positive and encourage others. I’m so lucky I work at an institution where our main goal is to serve others. On a day-to-day basis, I get to focus on students and be a part of their journey. That is so uplifting to me.”