Sunday, January 14, 2007

Interview with Ian Patillo (current VP X)

1) What skills that you had did you find most valuable in your
capacity as VPX?

I am pretty good at using a telephone, and I learnt about email quickly.
You have to be able to identify priorities quickly, and this means
choosing between competing needs. That can be difficult.

2) What skills did you wish you'd had, in order to be a better VPX?

I wish I was better at hiding my thoughts from the expression on my
face. I think people can very easily tell from a look of horror on my
face that I disagree, and that is not always a good thing. Also, if I
were a better morning person I would have had better mornings. I could
have benefited more from the ability to manage people, which apparently
I lack. And finally, a slightly more focused work ethic will always get
results. There are occasions where a little more would have gone a long

3) What was the biggest challenge you faced as VPX?

Staying motivated. Sometimes you realize that people don't care, and
that they are at the pit, and you want to go join them. Not going to
join them is always a challenge for me, even as I write this.

4) What would you identify as the biggest issue for an incoming VPX?

Learning to organize time. Although, I guess if you already know how to
do this it wouldn't be such a challenge. Then there is the whole public
post-secondary debate that has been going on/not going on in this
country for several decades. You sort of have to get caught up there.
Once you have done that the biggest challenge is having firm convictions
and knowing that they represent what is truly best for students and for
the community (country, province, etc)

5) What advice would you give the incoming VPX?

Keep your stick on the ice. If you have an especially long stick, you
can do this from Wreck, Ontario or even California. I would say be very
clear about some key goals, but that is difficult to know right away.
The point still stands that you need to be very deliberate and clear
about what you wish to accomplish. Otherwise you'll just barely do a lot
of things and that's never good.

6) What did you learn from your experience?

That one really does get out what they put in. None of this comes easy,
it takes thought and time. There were moments when I wished I'd put in
more of both. I also learnt that Government is an arbitrary beast: very
finicky and unpredictable.