Sean Lomas ’10 says he was never really the “leader-type” in high school. That changed at Seattle Pacific University. During 2009–10, Lomas served as the Associated Students of Seattle Pacific (ASSP) vice president of finance. An Accounting major, he found it a good fit for his interests and skills. But the role challenged him as an individual, especially when he’d have to work through issues with peers. In the Loop met with Lomas to discuss what he learned in his time as an SPU student leader.
How did you get involved in leadership?
My freshman year, I was living in Hill Hall (one of SPU’s residence halls). I had a fun time, and attended some of Hill’s events, including the Hill Ball and Decade Skate. It looked like it was fun to plan events for the hall, so I joined the Hill Hall Council. I also ran for the Hill Hall Senate role. It was interesting to watch the debates and tension in the Senate room.
It was valuable to see how you work through different viewpoints. From there, I set my eye on the VP of finance role and got elected to do it my senior year.
What were some of the challenges you faced as a leader?
In my role I work on the Finance Board, which allocates budget dollars and sets budgets for various student groups (funded by ASSP). It’s challenging to talk about money. It can be a touchy subject. Especially if a group is running a deficit. It’s also hard to have transparency in all of the processes. It’s something we work to have, but it’s a challenge.
Plus the year went quickly. It’s easy to think, “I’ve got months to get this done, plenty of time.” But in a blink of an eye, the year is over. There’s not much time to cast a vision and accomplish what you want.
What are you most proud of as a leader?
I loved the interactions I had, being involved in the process, and seeing that I can contribute. I grew as a communicator and learned to always err on the side of over-communication.
I liked how I was able to work with student leaders, to have hard conversations and not have people take it negatively. And one of the best things I did was set up my successor for the role. I told her what I wanted to do, what I did, and what was left undone, and helped her understand some things she might do next year.
How did Seattle Pacific help you in your role?
The staff advisors recognized that we’re adults, and so they empowered us to make decisions. They didn’t say, “Hey, Sean. You need to do this.” They allowed me to make small mistakes, to find out why something didn’t work. They let me do what I thought was best. I learned a lot about myself doing that. And how to work with peers, not only on a friend-basis. It helped in learning how to cast a vision and balance leadership and being a student. Dr. Jeff Jordan (dean of students and associate vice president for academic affairs) says that learning is not just in the classroom. SPU allowed me to have significant learning by applying what I learned in the classroom to real-life situations.
What’s next for you?
Well, I graduated. I start my new job at an accounting firm in July. And I’m getting married this summer. That’s enough for now.