Heidi Dickert Reflects on JoAnn Boland: The Woman & the Scholarship Named in Her Honor
By Heidi Dickert – AIESEC US VP (’93)/Boland Scholarship Committee
Twenty years ago a young woman named JoAnn walked into a tiny apartment in New York City and became a teammate, roommate and close friend to me as well as a world full of other AIESECers. As JoAnn’s roommate, I was lucky enough to hear her laughter on a daily basis (everyone who knew JoAnn knew what a great laugh she had). As her fellow national staff teammate, I listened to her coach LCPs and be a champion for their local committees with all of her heart. And, in a room full of 300+ local committee members, I got to watch as she danced her way onto stage as a shy but amazing leader. She hated being center stage but reluctantly joined in our crazy tactics to energize the room and represent our US team.
After 18 years, it is still tough to think back to that February day when we lost JoAnn. Yet every year our team is given a chance to keep her spirit alive as we review applications for AIESEC scholarships in her name. Reading through the applications reminds our team of what it felt like to be in AIESEC with a world full of optimism, hope and motivation to change the world. However, it also helps us remember JoAnn as we think about who she would have wanted to receive these scholarships. What I find amazing is in using JoAnn’s lens as our criteria – we have identified many future leaders for AIESEC – which is exactly what JoAnn focused on during her term as VP Human Resources on the national team. We are all so thankful to the Alumni that have donated over the last 18 years as it has allowed 26 AIESECers to experience AIESEC in a way that was important to JoAnn. DREAM BIG is the legacy JoAnn left behind in our hearts. I hope AIESEC alumni, whether they knew JoAnn or not, will allow us to keep extending JoAnn’s vision for DREAMING BIG by donating to the JoAnn Boland Fund.
Alumni interested in the Boland Fund may click here to donate, learn about its history or see a list of past scholars.