At long last, it is Friday, and I wanted to celebrate by highlighting another amazing woman whose business happens to be education. Monica Heinze has two masters degrees and is getting ready to pursue a doctorate in education at Centenary College. She also helps the handicapped learn to ride horses and once dreamed of becoming the first female president. Look out, Hillary.
I'm not Monica's only fan. She was among the women awarded a scholarship from Executive Women of New Jersey at their recent awards dinner in Basking Ridge.
So please, meet Monica:
Name: Monica Heinze
What school you are attending: Centenary College
What degree you are pursuing: I have finished my master of arts in special education (2011) and my master of arts in educational leadership (2013). I am planning on starting my doctorate in fall 2014 at Centenary College
What are you studying? Currently, I am taking classes for a graduate certificate in integrating technology in the classroom, and fall 2014, I will be starting my doctor of education (Ed.D. degree).
What has been the biggest challenge you've faced? The biggest challenge I have had to face is learning to be patient and stay the course, no matter what is thrown at you. Failure is only when you stop trying, stop moving toward your goals. Success will come with persistence.
How have you been able to overcome that? When I doubt myself, I look to those stories of people who overcame rejection, failure, disappointments and have gone on to achieve amazing accomplishments. I see how many times they kept going and then I think to myself, "If they can, so can I." My favorite quote comes the "Butterfly Circus" short film: "The greater the struggle, the more glorious the triumph."
What has been your biggest career success to date? My biggest career success to date is being able to hear the success stories of my students years later. When I hear they are going off to college or scoring big on the varsity soccer field, I know I played a role in that, albeit I may never know how great. Watching my students grow into their best versions of themselves is rewarding beyond belief.
What's the best advice you ever received? My college professor said to us once that he did not know why they pay him because he loved what he did so much, he would do it for free. Till this day, I live by that mantra; that day I vowed to stay in a profession only if I loved it.
What advice would you like to give young working women? My advice is to follow your true north, your heart for your career and life. Find what you love, and the money will follow. Don't ever sell yourself short or stop believing in your dreams. Only you can define you.
What's one thing about you that most of your co-workers or classmates would be surprised to hear? Outside of work, I teach handicapped students to ride horses, and I do equine-assisted psychotherapy. Beyond my professional goals, they would also be surprised to know that another goal is to one day to be a transformational coach and host workshops empowering girls and women by harnessing the power of horses as guides to our innermost self.
What did you want to be when you were 8 years old? When I was 8 years old, I wanted to be the first woman president. Although I may not have gone that route, I still am working toward the goal of influencing as many people as possible and making a great impact on human kind.
What is your goal for the next five years? My goal for the next five years is to become the director of special services in a progressive district where I can be of the most impact in the lives of those with disabilities.