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ELPlogo.jpgCarol Pollard, Chair, Emerging Leaders Program Advisory Board, 2012-2014, and Emerging Leader, 2007-2009 Class
Erin Justyna, Emerging Leader, 2012-2014 Class
Leigh Cunningham, NACADA Executive Office

Since 2007, the NACADA Emerging Leaders Program has encouraged members from diverse backgrounds to get involved in leadership opportunities within the organization.  Each year, 10 Emerging Leaders and 10 Mentors are selected for the two-year program in which the Leaders and Mentors work closely to connect the Leaders to the areas of the association they are interested in and develop a plan for continued involvement and growth in the association. Leaders selected receive a $1,500 stipend to assist them with travel to NACADA conferences, institutes, and seminars.

With the program now entering its eighth year, many members of the Emerging Leaders classes have served in elected and appointed positions as chairs of NACADA regions, commissions, interest groups, committees, advisory boards, and task forces.  Emerging Leaders initiated the Career Advising Interest Group and the Advising at HBCUs Interest Group.  A number of Emerging Leaders have presented (some with their Mentors) at regional, annual, and international conferences, and many have served on region, C/IG or conference steering committees. Emerging Leaders have served as chairs or co-chairs of regional conferences, and one chaired our 2010 Annual Conference in Orlando.  Emerging Leaders have written for the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources and NACADA books, taken part in Webinar broadcast presentations, and been awarded NACADA Research Grants. Seven Emerging Leaders have moved on to become Mentors in the program.  Several have shared their stories in Academic Advising Today articles, which may be found linked from the Program homepage.  To learn more about the contributions of our ELP Classes, visit the Accomplishments webpage.

2012-2014 ELP Class.jpgThe 2012-2014 Emerging Leaders and Mentors (pictured left), who began work at the 2012 Annual Conference in Nashville, have been diligently pursuing their goals over the past two years and look forward to receiving their Certificates of Completion at this year's conference in Minneapolis, where they will be recognized at the Awards Ceremony.

Among those who will receive a Certificate of Completion in Minneapolis is Erin Justyna, Assistant Director of the Center for Active Learning and Undergraduate Engagement at Texas Tech University, who reflects on her NACADA experiences in the following section.

Learning to Be Mentored

Erin Justyna.jpgNACADA has been a key source of professional identity for me since I attended my first Annual Conference in Indianapolis in 2006.   I got involved in the association immediately, first moderating and presenting, and then seeking out volunteer and leadership roles within the Commission and Interest Group Division.  I served as a reviewer, a steering committee member, and eventually chair for the Advising Students with Disabilities Commission.  So, why did I pursue the Emerging Leaders Program?  

My whole life I have been an achiever, and yet in the years leading up to my application to the Emerging Leaders Program (ELP), I was feeling underwhelmed and bored professionally.  I found myself stuck in a peg I didn’t really fit and unsure of how to get out.  I was in need of mentorship from outside my institution.  I applied and was accepted as an Emerging Leader in 2012.  My involvement in ELP changed (and is still changing) my life in countless positive ways. 

The experience was a little rocky for me at the start.  One challenge was the physical distance between my mentor, Laura Pasquini, and me. Texas is big, ya’ll!  I absolutely hate the phone and until recently have been highly avoidant of web cams.  Laura was flexible and assured me that we could speak through email and social media if that was how I was most comfortable.  She also stretched me beyond my self-imposed boundaries, and I am now comfortable conducting meetings online.  The physical distance wasn’t the only challenge.  I am extremely independent and was a lot more set in my ways than I realized. I overestimated how alike my mentor and I were (which isn’t all that important actually) and felt anxiety when she suggested opportunities for growth that didn’t appear immediately obvious to me. It took a little time for me to realize I wouldn’t grow if I only took the nudging that was in the direction I had already intended to go.  Before I could succeed as an Emerging Leader, I had to learn to let go and be mentored.  Once I reframed the ELP experience, I began to reap the numerous benefits of Laura’s mentorship. 

Laura gave me suggestions and she gave me space.  When I went M.I.A., she reminded me she was there if I needed her.  The most successful part of the relationship was having Laura as a sounding board and idea creator.  She was able to brainstorm paths for me that I would not have known existed.  For instance, she alerted me to the American Society for Trainers and Development conference, where I was able to see my professional idol Sir Ken Robinson speak.  That experience was life changing.  Laura encouraged me to think big, and I did.  One of my favorite opportunities was acting as the keynote speaker for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s first annual advising conference - talk about stepping out of my comfort zone in the best way!

Since beginning the ELP, I have had the opportunity to serve NACADA on the Service to the Commission and Interest Group Division Award Task Force, the Emerging Leaders Program Advisory Board, the Administrators’ Institute Advisory Board, and I have recently been appointed to the Academic Advising Consultant and Speaker Service Advisory Board.  On my own campus, I have been invited to serve on the Strategic Planning Priority Committee, the ePortfolio Task Force, and the Quality Enhancement Plan Topic Selection and Development Committees.  I have a new career in the Division of Undergraduate Education at Texas Tech University and am working toward a doctorate studying creativity.  These are direct outcomes of the energy I focused as I participated in the Emerging Leaders Program.  The time I spent with the ELP was absolutely inimitable.  I have grown as a person and a professional, and have a mentoring relationship that I will carry with me as I seek out new adventures.  I encourage you to consider participating in the ELP. It is challenging. It is rewarding. It is one of the best professional opportunities you will ever have.

2012-2014 ELPers at mid-term.jpg

Emerging Leaders Program Advisory Board Chair Carol Pollard (University of North Texas), herself an “Emerged” Leader, is pleased to announce the 2014-2016 NACADA Emerging Leaders and Mentors

Emerging Leaders

Alexander Kunkle (Western Oregon University)
Drew Puroway (University of St. Thomas)
Jacqueline Nicholson (Norfolk State University)
Jason Wiegand (Iowa State University)
Jennifer Cornet-Carrillo (University of California, Berkeley)
Jose Ramos (Old Dominion University)
Julie Enciso (Prince George’s Community College)
Mary Tucker (University of Memphis)
Michelle Sotolongo (Texas State University-San Marcos)
Wiona Porath (Siena Heights University)


Adam Duberstein (Bowling Green State University)
Art Farlowe (University of South Carolina-Columbia)
Carol Pollard (University of North Texas)
DeLaine Priest (University of Central Florida)
Kathy Davis (Missouri State University)
Kazi Mamun (University of California-Riverside)
Melissa Johnson (University of Florida)
Nathan Vickers (University of Texas at Austin)
Shannon Burton (Michigan State University)
Todd Taylor (University of Cincinnati)  

New Emerging Leaders and Mentors will meet at the Annual Conference in Minneapolis to create partnerships and begin development, conversation, and group-building. Partners will develop goals pertaining to leadership in NACADA over the next six months and continue their work together over the two-year program.

Visit the Emerging Leaders Program website for more information.

Cite this article using APA style as: Pollard, C., Justyna, E., & Cunningham, L. (2014, September). NACADA emerging leaders program. Academic Advising Today, 37(3). Retrieved from [insert url here]


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Academic Advising Today, a NACADA member benefit, is published four times annually by NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising. NACADA holds exclusive copyright for all Academic Advising Today articles and features. For complete copyright and fair use information, including terms for reproducing material and permissions requests, see Publication Guidelines.