Emerging Leader: Northern Rocky Mountain Division's Jill Imsand

The Spring 2018 issue of 32 Degrees features 14 PSIA-AASI members identified by division educators and other top instructors as “Emerging Leaders” in various divisions and teaching disciplines. Each person profiled was asked to share their thoughts on, among other topics, why teaching matters, future opportunities and challenges, and where PSIA-AASI will be in 10 years. Due to space constraints, replies were edited for print publication, so the full breadth of these insightful interviews will be posted here throughout the spring. 

Name: Jill Imsand
Division: Northern Rocky Mountain
Discipline: Alpine and Children's
Home hill: Big Sky, Montana
Job title: Children's Instructor and Staff Trainer at Big Sky. For NRM I work as an alpine examiner, children's clinician, and as the education coordinator (not sure I have an exact title right now).
Certifications/credentials: Alpine Level III, Children's Specialist 2, Telemark Level I, Freestyle Specialist 2

How did you get your start skiing? My parents started me in ski school at 2 years old (I actually have my first ski school report card from Park City). My family is a skiing family. It's how we vacationed and spent weekends in the winter.

Why does teaching matter? I love sharing what I love with others! No matter the level, being a part of why someone enjoys sliding on snow gives me great joy.

What it means to be a member of PSIA-AASI: It means having a community of people who feel like I feel about snowsports and winter. It means getting to geek out on skiing and teaching with people who “get” my excitement. It means enjoying a really fun run with others, which makes the experience even better than doing it alone.

Favorite part of helping others enjoy their time on snow: Guiding them to find out all the different ways there are to enjoy snowsports, whether it's through new accomplishments, enjoying their surroundings, sharing it with friends or family. Assisting others in enjoying sliding on snow (whatever that means to them) is my favorite part!

Opportunities for PSIA-AASI to grow: I really like the direction the organization is heading with turning PSIA-AASI into THE experts in snowsports education, with online lessons and content, and coordinating with both inside and outside the industry organizations to really get what we do out into the public eye and gain more recognition. We really are the best at what we do and I think the public and the industry would really benefit from PSIA-AASI taking a more active role in publicizing that.

Biggest challenge: I think members, especially newer members, often have a hard time understanding why being a member is or would be beneficial to them. “What does PSIA-AASI do for me?” is a question I hear a lot. Often we are seen as the folks telling people they are good or not good at what they do, instead of a partner to assist them to continually get better at what they do, and continue to grow as a person. I’ve grown a lot as an instructor and person since I was a first-year instructor (17+ years ago… not sure I actually qualify as a young leader anymore.  ;-). I guess it's all relative.) The majority of that has come from my involvement in the organization. First, through training and certification and then as an NRM Ed Staff member and volunteer chairperson. Eventually I became more involved not only in my own division but as a representative with the national organization and in committees with other divisions’ representatives to help guide the national direction.

This, of course, is just my path so far, but I truly think continuing to challenge yourself to improve and get better at any level will only lead to personal growth. We need to make it clearer to membership that PSIA-AASI is here to help you become the best you can be, and whatever that pathway is we will support you through it and continue to challenge you to grow.

Our profession 10 years from now: I see us as the educational ambassadors to a life sliding on snow. Tell us what you want to do and we will help you figure out how to do it.

Anything else you wish we’d asked? What my favorite part of being involved in the PSIA-AASI is? I have making genuine connections with people (clients, peers, staff) and learning new and old things (sometimes you forget what you already learned or relearn it in a new way). My favorite days are when both of those things happen together!

My favorite event? I love going to National Academy!!! If you haven't gone, it's at my home mountain this season and I think it's going to be extra fun because of that. See you there!

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