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12 Days of Goodness from 2023

12 days of goodness by Doctor Josie Ahlquist. Blue image with a holly in the left corner.

As we begin to wrap up 2023, I’m taking the next twelve days to celebrate and recognize inspiring individuals and impactful projects that made this year so special.

Join me on a journey of gratitude with 12 Days of Goodness ✨

Every day, I’ll send out a big digital hug and recognize the people who made all the goodness possible in my work – and for the entire field of higher education. 

What would make your 2023 Goodness list? 

Day 1: Student Social Media Academy Coaches

12 Days of Goodness graphic highlighting the five coaches for the Student Social Media Academy.

On the first of our 12 Days of Goodness series, our spotlight shines on the Student Social Media Academy Coaches — a guiding force empowering future social media leaders!

Behind the scenes, this dynamic team dreamed up and crafted the modules and entire experience that would shape the Academy for our students. Their collaboration began in late spring, and throughout the summer, we created a program that was not just informative but transformative.

Fast forward to today, and while our students are completing the program, the coaches are engaging with them and helping them along their journey. The impact of their hard work has been felt far and wide, and we’re thrilled to see the positive influence our students are making in the digital landscape.

We have over 200 students in the Academy – worldwide – with more joining monthly. 

A heartfelt THANK YOU to our outstanding coaches – Cassaundra Moore, Rachel Rodemann Putman, Joel Villarini Falbe, Morgan Campbell, and Kati Hartwig – for your dedication, creativity, and commitment to empowering the next generation of social media professionals.

Day 2: Podcast Guests from 2023

Twelve days of goodness features Josie and the Podcast 2023 guests Gourjoine M. Wade, Jenny Petty, Tiffany Smith, Krista Boniface, Myla Edmond, Teresa Valerio Parrot, Joy Hoffman, and Jon Hoffman.

Our second day echoes the wisdom shared by Josie and the Podcast Guests from 2023 — a symphony of insights and thought-provoking dialogues. 🎙️

I’ve loved having them all join Josie and the Podcast with their incredible stories and expertise. Thank you all for joining me for transformative and engaging conversations!

Day 3: NASPA Pillars


Bringing the NASPA Pillars to life, our third day is a tribute to the foundations shaping educational excellence! 🌟

Join me in celebrating Dr. Tiffany Smith and Dr. Edward F. Martinez‘s selection into the 2024 Class of Pillars of the Profession.

Tiffany’s heartwork, particularly supporting indigenous students, shines through advocacy, education, and a joyful spirit. This leaves a lasting impact on institutions and organizations.

Edward’s passion, dedication, and leadership as Associate Dean of Student Affairs at Suffolk County Community College has truly shaped a positive and inclusive student learning environment.

I serve on the nomination team for each of them, and I would be so thankful if you would consider gifting your support by giving to the NASPA Foundation in their name. After I was honored as a 2023 NASPA Pillar, I am dedicated to yearly advocating and supporting future pillars!

Let’s support and thank these extraordinary leaders! https://buff.ly/3FRtZVA

Day 4: Black History Month

On the fourth day of the Goodness series, we honor the richness we celebrated during Black History Month. 

However, these months are not meant to live only once per year. So this holiday season, learn about these 30 inspiring Black Higher Education leaders. It is impossible to overstate how outstanding, impactful, and influential they are in their communities and institutions. 

By reading their stories, we can learn more about their journey, their challenges and triumphs, as well as their remarkable accomplishments. Get to know each of these incredible humans:

Although we celebrate BHM in February, Black history happens every day of every year. I challenge those reading to do the work to include reading, learning, and investing all year long. 

Day 5: Influential Women in Higher Education

Day five of the 12 Days of Goodness recognizes Influential Women in Higher Ed—trailblazers who redefine possibility with every step.

Throughout March, I featured women breaking barriers and inspiring the next generation in higher education. 

From Community College Presidents and Chancellors and University Presidents and Chancellors, to Marketing and Communications Leaders, Student Affairs Leaders and Consultants – women truly do it all.

Many challenges still exist in 2023 – gender bias, pay gaps, etc. This is why it is so important to tell our stories. To lift, celebrate, and empower girls and women. So, let’s hear it for the 32 incredible women highlighted, and all others breaking barriers each day. 

Day 6: AANHPI Changemakers in Higher Ed

Day six highlights AANHPI Changemakers in Higher Ed — voices shaping inclusivity and fostering cultural exchange.

From innovative research to transformative teaching, the 31 individuals highlighted this year continue to impact our communities and beyond.

They’re creative thinkers, leaving a significant impact in their respective disciplines, inspiring and empowering students and colleagues. Their unwavering commitment to equal access to education and approaches to student success benefit their institutions. 

Let’s honor their achievements, celebrate their resilience and diversity, and commit to supporting their ongoing efforts toward equity and inclusion in higher education.

Day 7: Uplifting 2SLGBTQIA+ Leaders in Higher Ed

Pride is all year long! 🌈

So, let’s uplift 2SLGBTQIA+ Leaders in Higher Ed to take center stage on our seventh day — a testament to courage and advocacy.

Throughout June, we celebrate the vibrant and diverse 2SLGBTQIA+ community and honor the progress made toward equality and acceptance. 

It was an honor to spotlight 30 inspiring 2SLGBTQIA+ higher ed practitioners fighting to create a future in which every student is safe, supported, and empowered to succeed. 

Day 8: Hispanic and Latino Leaders Transforming Higher Ed

Hispanic and Latino Leaders Transforming Higher Ed shine brightly on our eighth day of Goodness.

Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to celebrate diversity and representation – two things that are crucial in higher education. Throughout September and October, 30 Hispanic and Latino leaders on and off campus, at all levels, gifted us with their journeys, along with their dedication and commitment to providing resources to underrepresented students.

Join me in celebrating their accomplishments, elevating their stories, and amplifying their voices!

Day 9: Co-Presenters

Today I get brag on the co-presenters I had the opportunity to work with this year. Each of them brought so much insight and experience. 

Thank you to: Mary Boyd, Shea Kidd Brown, Jenny Li Fowler, DJ Hauschild, John Hoffman, Lamar Hylton, Timothy Miller, Cassuandra Moore, Rachel Rodemann Putman, Melissa Shivers, Frank Shushok Jr., and Lori White. Your insights and collaboration have enriched these experiences, and I’m grateful for the knowledge we’ve shared.

Here’s to another year of collaboration, growth, and elevating higher education in 2024! 

Day 10: DigiCohort Faculty

On our 10th day, let’s shine a spotlight on the outstanding Digital Community Cohort faculty mentors!

A huge shoutout and heartfelt thanks to Katy Spencer Johnson, Danielle Sewell, Maya Wesby, Krista Boniface, and Jenny Li Fowler! Over the course of two months #DigiCohort participants get to experience their invaluable expertise and guidance.

This faculty team are some of my favorite humans – and our meetings turn into a laugh fest meets gab sessions meets group hug. Thank you for being the guiding lights in our Digital Community Cohort, making the journey of understanding and mastering social media strategies both enlightening and rewarding. 

Day 11: Renew Facilitators

Our 11th day of Goodness we celebrate the care and dedication of our Renew Facilitator Team!

These incredible individuals embody the spirit of care for marketing and communications professionals, ensuring a personalized and supportive experience for all participants. 

Renew has been a source of support for higher education professionals over the past few years, providing restorative half-day retreats that carve out essential space and a place for communicators, marketers, and social media pros to come together. The impact of Renew goes beyond rejuvenation — it’s about creating a community that thrives on shared experiences and mutual support.

Thank you to each facilitator for your unwavering support and for making the Renew Retreat an uplifting and empowering journey for everyone involved. The 2024 Renew retreats are offered this January on Friday the 18th and Friday the 26th!

Day 12: Team Josie

On the 12th day of Goodness, I’ve got goosebumps. 

Over the last 10+ years of growing my consulting business, with clients, services, and impact – my team has also grown! 

Meet the phenomenal women who are part #TeamJosie! ✨

  • Giselle Cancio, Project Manager, brings stellar order and efficiency to every project.
  • Kati Hartwig, Marketing Manager, offers innovative ideas to outreach and engagement strategies.
  • Katy Spencer Johnson, Digital Strategist, weaves creative and timely solutions support for our amazing clients.
  • Morgan Campbell, Content Strategist, adds a visual touch of branding and excitement to so much of what you see on social media.

I am beyond thankful for them as caring women, committed to making an impact and having fun along the way. 

Together, they’ve elevated and impacted every pocket of my work (and life), and I can’t wait to see the incredible work we’ll achieve in the coming year! 🎉👏 

Despite the darkness of the year, good can still be found. 

As we wrap up these 12 Days of Goodness, my heart is filled with gratitude. I’m reminded of the simple moments and significant joy that come from shared experiences online and IRL. 

Whether it was an insightful conversation on the podcast, a collaborator on a project or lifting up and celebrating the rich diversity and inspiring humans in higher ed — I am a better professional and person because of you.

Here’s to even more meaningful work that has allowed me and my team to make a difference. 

May 2024 bring even more moments of community, connection, and innovation. Cheers to the adventures ahead!

About Josie

I’m Dr. Josie Ahlquist—a digital engagement and leadership consultant, researcher, educator, and author. I’m passionate about helping people and organizations find purposeful ways to connect, engage, and tell their unique story. I provide consulting, executive coaching, and training for campuses, companies, and organizations that want to learn how to humanize technology tools and build effective and authentic online communities.

My blog and podcast have been recognized by EdTech Magazine, Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Education. My book, Digital Leadership in Higher Education, was published in 2020 and was listed as a #1 new release for college and university student life. I have been growing my consultancy since 2013 and am based in Los Angeles. When I’m not helping clients lead online, you might find me training for a triathlon, spoiling my nieces and nephews, or exploring with my husband and our rescue dogs in our new RV called Lady Hawk.

I’d love to connect! Find me on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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Rebekah Tilley

Assistant Vice President, University of Iowa Center for Advancement

Rebekah Tilley is the assistant vice president of communication and marketing for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement (UICA). In that role she supports fundraising and alumni engagement efforts for the university, including its CASE Gold winning Iowa Magazine, and serves UICA in a variety of strategic communication efforts.

Previously she was the director of strategic communication for the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business, and the director of communication for the University of Kentucky College of Law. She is a Kentucky native and a proud alum of the University of Kentucky.

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