Ease your student supervision speed bumps.

Campus Leaders as Digital Storytellers

Leading Online: The Power of Storytelling

The Leading Online series features campus leaders who, even before COVID-19, have embraced social media and a variety of other digital communication tools.

This week learn from a panel of Vice Presidents for Student Affairs who have successfully built relationships with their community by leading online. This panel will also share how they have used the power of digital storytelling to educate, empower, and build empathy with students, staff, families, and more. Tune in to hear how the field of student affairs is currently navigating, and how the field is changing for the future.

The Leading Online series will provide those who serve in public-facing positions within institutions of higher education a purposeful and practical framework of digital leadership. This series will also be helpful to those that support senior-level positions, as well as future campus leaders.

Highlighted Content from Panelists

Links to what was mentioned during the Lead Online panel.

Additional Resources from Josie

Twitter Lists

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 From speaking, workshops, coaching and consulting, Josie has transformed her services that can be delivered 100% remotely. Learn more through link/button below.


Mayra Olivares-Urueta, Vice President for Student Affairs, Tarrant Community College

Mayra Olivares-Urueta, Ph.D., serves as vice president for student development services at Tarrant County College’s Northeast Campus in Texas. Her work as an educational administrator is framed by awareness of community cultural wealth, funds of knowledge, and critical race theories. She works to create an environment in which students feel safe, cared for, and at-opportunity (rather than at-risk). Dr. Olivares-Urueta’s research focuses on the success of Latinx students and on infusing anti-deficit narratives into higher education about all minoritized students.

Dr. Olivares-Urueta has served as a recruiter, student life coordinator, academic instructor, registrar, researcher, and executive administrator. Additionally, she has held administrative roles for research projects through the University of North Texas’s Latino Family College Access Program and nationally through the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. Dr. Olivares-Urueta is an active member of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, the National Community College Hispanic Council, the American Association of Community Colleges, and the Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education. Mayra holds bachelor’s degrees in European studies and Spanish and a master’s degree in human relations from the University of Oklahoma. In 2013, she earned her doctor of philosophy degree in higher education from the University of North Texas. She lives in Arlington, TX with Alejandro, her husband of 10 years, and their daughters, Isabel (6) and Olivia (4). She enjoys spending time with her family, singing along to all the songs her daughters love, and traveling.

Mordecai I. Brownlee, Vice President for Student Affairs, St. Phillip’s College

Dr. Mordecai I. Brownlee currently serves as the Vice President for Student Success at St. Philip’s College in San Antonio, Texas. In addition, he serves as an adjunct faculty member in the School of Business & Leadership at the University of Charleston and the Masters in Community College Leadership Program at Morgan State University. As the Vice President for Student Success, Dr. Mordecai has led St. Philip’s College to record enrollment over 13,800 students and three consecutive years of record student completion in degrees and certificates. Previously, Dr. Mordecai served as the Dean of Students & Chief Student Affairs Officer at the University of Charleston. Mordecai received his Ed.D in Educational Leadership from Lamar University, where he earned the Outstanding Doctoral Student Award for his research regarding Texas House Bill 5 and the future of higher education. Mordecai also holds a M.S. in Human Resource Management and B.A. in Mass Communication & Political Science degrees from Houston Baptist University, his A.A. in Liberal Arts degree from Kingwood College, and an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Community College Leadership Program at Dallas Baptist University. Dr. Mordecai I. Brownlee currently resides in San Antonio, Texas with his wife of 13 years, Daphne Brownlee, their son, Mordecai Jr. and their daughter, Lauren Machelle.

Mary Jo Gonzales, Vice President for Student Affairs, Washington State University

As a low-income, first-generation college student, Latina, and single mother, Mary Jo Gonzales has dedicated her life to leading efforts with energy and enthusiasm which help individuals achieve their academic, personal, and professional goals. In fact, she is known for leading groups through singing the Cougar fight song at meetings or yelling “Go Cougs!” to students passing her in the hallway.

Gonzales oversees 22 departments on the Pullman campus whose services encompass four major areas pertaining to campus health and safety; facilities and essential services; student leadership and engagement; and community, equity, and inclusive excellence. She also leads the University’s Campus Culture and Climate initiative to create a more inclusive and welcoming community at WSU campuses statewide and works in collaboration with President Kirk Schulz on the Drive to 25 initiative. Gonzales is respected across the nation as a student affairs professional. She received one of the profession’s highest honors in 2018 when The Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) Foundation selected her for a “Pillar of the Profession” Award based on her outstanding contributions to the field.

Tim Miller, Vice President for Student Affairs, James Madison University

Dr. Tim. Miller is the Vice President for Student Affairs at James Madison University and has served in this role since June 1, 2018. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Criminal Justice in 1996 and his Master’s Degree in College Student Personnel Administration in 2002 from James Madison University. He earned his Doctorate in Executive Leadership from the George Washington University and his research focused on the decision-making of University Presidents. He has served at James Madison University, the University of South Carolina, and the George Washington University during his over 20-year career and has spoken at a range of conferences and appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered, as well as in pieces in the Washington Post and Richmond Magazine. He has also written for both the NACA Programming Magazine and the College Student Affairs Journal. Dr. Miller has served as a faculty member at the George Washington University, Georgetown University, and James Madison University. Dr. Miller is an active musician and enjoyed playing with a cover band in Northern VA for 12 years before moving to JMU where he leads a band of faculty and staff members affectionately known as, Staff Infection.

About Josie

Dr. Josie Ahlquist

Dr. Josie Ahlquist is a digital engagement and leadership researcher, speaker, and consultant. She teaches teens, young adults, education professionals, and campus executives how to humanize technology tools and prioritize building online community.

She also serves as a research associate and instructor at Florida State University, creating curriculum to build digital literacy and leadership skills for undergraduates up to doctorate level students. She is extensively published and maintains an active blog and podcast (Josie & The Podcast), which have received accolades from EdTech Magazine, Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Education. Her book, Digital Leadership in Higher Education: Purposeful Social Media in a Connected World, comes out in July 2020.

Josie received her doctorate from California Lutheran University in Higher Education Leadership, Masters in Education from Northern Arizona University. She majored in sociology and human development at South Dakota State University.

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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