BOARD MEMBER HIGHLIGHT:
LeSondra M. Jones, M.A
Can you share how and why did you become a member of ACHE?
CSU San Bernardino College of Extended and Global Education was already a member of ACHE. The opportunity was shared with me after a previous supervisor transitioned to another role on campus. I was able to attend a West Region Conference. I could instantly see the authenticity in the other board members through the sessions that were provided and conversations that were being conducted.
Tell us the story of your leadership path from a member to serving on the Board of Directors.
I attended a West Region conference and thoroughly enjoyed it. The West Region Chair approached me to join the West Board. Delighted and surprised, I took on the charge as I felt it was an excellent fit for my current work in Extended & Global Education. Then becoming the board Secretary, Vice-Chair, I was asked to attend a National Board meeting and invited to join the Board. This came after my CSU counterparts recommended me to the National Board, and I had a direct and insightful conversation with former President Amy Johnson. Dr. Johnson was very candid and supportive of my participation in the National Board. I remember stating I do not fill seats; I would like to see inclusion and practical applications to support our counterparts. That conversation has led me to be on the ACHE National Board and support incorporating DEIB initiatives into everything we do.
What is the greatest leadership lesson from your experience with ACHE?
Leaders are not always the loudest people in the room. As a newer board member, I often hesitate to speak up or provide feedback to a Board that has been doing this work extensively for years. However, when I speak up and offer questions, concerns, and feedback, it leads to more dialogue and perspective that may not have been fully incorporated. This is helpful to know that I am seen and valued, not just filling a seat or checking a box.
How has being a part of ACHE enhanced your professional competencies and career progression?
Working in the College of Extended & Global Education at CSU, San Bernardino, I am exposed to all types of people (literally). I work with credit and non-credit programs. Therefore, being a part of an international Board such as ACHE, I can draw on insights, suggestions, and best practices that my counterparts are utilizing in their workspaces. Also, it helps me to understand the “why” in some initiatives that take place. What makes works for the West Region may not be needed in other areas. Therefore, knowing when to sift the information shared or apply it as needed is a critical competency that I have learned. I hope my role will support further career progression as I continue supporting the National and West Region Boards.
Is there anything else you would like to share with readers about your experience with ACHE?
ACHE is a board of people passionate about encouraging, uplifting, and supporting people. There are many nuggets and thinking pieces that are offered in the articles that are published. As a newer board member, I was allowed to host a session on leadership during the Webinar Series, which was a highlight of my year. I appreciate the ACHE Board members for their time and willingness to not only work in the capacity of ACHE as their second or third job. At the same time, the Board remains open to the evolution of ACHE by incorporating DEIB initiatives in everything we do.