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Leadership Spotlight: Johnathan Luster

Monday, November 24, 2014   (0 Comments)
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NODA Leader: Johnathan Luster
Assistant Dean of Student Affairs 
University of California, San Diego
Current Leadership Position: Board Member

Why was getting involved in NODA important to you?
Initially, I became involved to network and learn more about national trends that could inform my work. More recently, I have looked to NODA to develop skills that would have been more difficult to hone on my home campuses. For instance, serving on the NODAC 2012 Planning Committee allowed me to participate in national working groups (which helped me to understand how to collaborate virtually across many time zones), to build a mobile app from scratch, and to coordinate large, complex audiovisual elements. The lessons and abilities I learned as part of this group were unique to that experience; similar opportunities would have been more difficult to find on my home campus at the time. Click here to read the entire interview.

When and why did you join NODA?
I attended my first NODA Regional Conference in 2003 when I was an undergraduate student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The positive, challenging, and rewarding experience I had as an Orientation Leader led to a Graduate Assistantship in orientation at Miami University, Ohio, where I continued my involvement with NODA. I became a professional member in 2007 and have maintained my membership and involvement since then. The knowledge I have gained; networking opportunities available; and abilities to develop professionally and personally have made NODA a wonderful fit with the roles I have held and campuses I have represented over the years.

Why should a member consider a leadership position in NODA? 
There are many, many benefits to stepping into a NODA leadership position. What's exciting about the current volunteer landscape with NODA is that there are diverse opportunities available depending on what one might be looking for. In addition to the reward of giving back to the Association and the field of OTR, I have found that drawing upon my experiences with NODA has set me apart from other candidates in job interview processes. Particularly for younger professionals searching for ways to develop and stand out, becoming more involved with NODA is an excellent investment with a high return. Our field is small and folks are impressed by those who give back in meaningful ways.

What have you gained from your leadership positions in NODA?
Perhaps the most significant attribute I have gained is expertise. I mean this in terms of trust I have been given on my home campuses based on my involvement with NODA. Before I stepped into leadership positions, I knew how to orient students effectively and had a broad understanding of the landscape of OTR. The difference now is that it is much easier to convince others to buy into changes I recommend or that we are on the right path because I can draw from lessons learned in leadership positions and have access to more complex, meaningful language. While I used to be in the defensive position of convincing others to support OTR ideas, the change I have noticed is that these NODA leadership positions have offered me accelerated credibility that would otherwise take many more years to earn.

What is your favorite NODA related memory?
Some of my favorite memories come from time with my partner in crime on the NODAC 2012 Planning Committee: Damien Snook. We shared responsibility for marketing and publications and due to a slip up on a conference call the two of us were coined as "Jamien." It was a wonderful experience learning how to work closely with someone prior to meeting them in-person and we became a very effective team, plus we had a blast working together. From having that awkward moment talking about a proposed conference logo design that also resembled...something inappropriate to running complex technology during the conference on our dinosaur MacBooks hoping they wouldn't crash, I look back on our work together and grin.

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