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Meet the Team

Academic Director 

Johanna Tolan

Building
HOH
Room / Office
430
Assistant Professor of Clinical Management and Organization

MBA, University of Southern California; BA, Smith College

Jody Tolan specializes in leadership and organizational development. She has created programs to build leadership skills among emerging managers, middle managers, and senior executive teams to meet strategic and organizational goals. She has also led workshops on leading teams, management communications and strategy development. She has designed and facilitated programs in Marshall’s Office of Executive Education and consulted with Wescom Credit Union, Honda Financial Services, Allergan, BDO Seidman and Thailand Government Savings Bank. Professor Tolan began her career on Capitol Hill followed by positions in several boutique consulting firms in New York City.
About Dr. Jody Tolan

Dr. Jody Tolan is an Assistant Professor of Clinical in Management and Organization at the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. She leads the faculty team that teaches Leading Organizations, the core organizational behavior class for undergraduate students from a wide variety of disciplines. Her interest in curriculum development and pedagogy led to work implementing the School's critical thinking initiative and reviewing the undergraduate core curriculum. She continues to promote critical thinking through a Marshall faculty working group and mentoring fellow faculty. Dr. Tolan was recently awarded a Learning Environments Incentive Grant by the USC Center for Scholarly Technology to promote collaborative learning and critical thinking. She has also been recognized with the Ernst & Young Inclusive Excellence Award for Accounting and Business School Faculty for promoting diversity and inclusiveness. 

Dr. Tolan developed her leadership and organizational expertise consulting with a wide range of clients to build skills among emerging managers, middle managers and senior executive teams to meet strategic and organizational goals. She has also led workshops on leading teams, management communications and strategy development. She began her career on Capitol Hill followed by positions in several boutique consulting firms in New York City. Jody Tolan holds a B.A. in American Government and International Relations from Smith College, an MBA from USC with a concentration in organizational development and financial analysis, and an EdD in Organizational Change and Leadership at the Rossier School of Education at USC with a focus on student leadership development.   As you can see, Dr. Tolan is putting her top 5 strengths - Strategic, Maximizer, Individualization, Futuristic, Learner - to make a difference.

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Administrative Director

Gohar Karamyan

Program Specialist

Student Mentors

Meet the Robert J. Coury Applied Leadership Program Student Mentors! Below are each Student Mentor's top five character strengths as well as their thoughts on the impact of the program. Strengths-based and Values-based leadership are at the core of the Coury Program and guide each individual's leadership style and decision-making process.

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Meghan Acampora

Year: 2021

What are your top five strengths?
My top five strengths are Achiever, Competition, Analytical, Focus and Deliberative.

Why are you a Student Mentor for the Robert J. Coury Applied Leadership Program?
I am a mentor because I participated in this program my freshman year and learned a lot about my leadership style as well as others' which really helped me build my confidence as a leader. Therefore I want to help other freshman become more effective and confident leaders by learning how to apply their strengths not only achieve personal goals but professional ones as well.

How have your strengths shown up in your life recently?
Three of my strengths that have shown up recently are Achiever, Focus and Competition. For instance these past two weeks I have been practicing for Club Tennis nationals coming up in April but I also have had multiple quizzes and tests as well as interviews. Therefore I have used my Focus and Achiever strengths in order to succeed in all of these aspects by leaving a sufficient amount of time for each activity in order to perform well in all three. Additionally, I will be using my Competitive strength at Nationals as well as Focus because I will have to take a quiz at Nationals and complete other assignments all while playing different schools from all over the nation.

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Timothy Apostolou

Year: 2020

What are your top five strengths?
My top five strengths are Achiever, Competition, Restorative, Relator, and Learner.

Why are you a Student Mentor for the Robert J. Coury Applied Leadership Program?
I've had the opportunity to learn from a mentor and it was a tremendous learning experience. My hope is to continue to grow as a leader by practicing the strengths my mentor introduced to me, while equipping others with similar skills that will allow them to excel in their personal and professional life.

How have your strengths shown up in your life recently?
One recent example of how being a Relator showed up in my life was when I was able to give my little sister advice about how to approach a difficult situation in high school. Since we have a close relationship and I I'm still familiar and aware of how kids act in high school, I was able to help her through the conflict better than when she spoke with my parents.

 

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Thu Wati Aung

Year: 2021

What are your top five strengths?
My top five strengths are Individualization, Maximizer, Connectedness, Learner, and Positivity.

Why are you a Student Mentor for the Robert J. Coury Applied Leadership Program?
I’m a mentor to foster the personal leadership of aspiring leaders at USC Marshall! Acknowledging your own strengths can provide a big advantage in figuring out the most effective way to lead. While mentoring others about their strengths, I also put my own into use and learn from the process as well!

How have your strenths shown up in your life recently?
My Maximizer strength aids me daily in producing the best quality work that I am capable of! This usually shows up in my academics, but also in my personal life. An example is when I planned a surprise party for a friend and instead of hosting an average party, I pay a lot of attention to details to make sure the party is truly a surprise and that the theme matches the personality of my friend!

 

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Maddy Boezinger

Year: 2021

What are your top five strengths?
My top five strengths are Individualization, Achiever, Discipline, Learner, and Relator.


Why are you a Student Mentor for the Robert J. Coury Applied Leadership Program?
I am a mentor because I seek continual personal development and have a passion for the betterment of others. In this role I have the unique opportunity to teach and develop what I have learned about courageous leadership, and leave a positive, meaningful impact on the skills and strengths of others. Having completed the program last year, I am able to speak first hand about the its benefits - developing and solidifying my character, values, and strengths - and am able to facilitate understanding of leadership skills for personal betterment.

How have your strengths showed up in your life recently?
Daily, I uses the combination of my Discipline, Relator, Individualization, and Learner strengths to achieve success. I create routine and order, which empower me to conquer the challenges and embrace the joys of each each class, activity, and moment that come. I am able to balance my Discipline and Learner strengths with my Relator and Individualization strengths, as I capitalize on every opportunity to learn more about others, spread kindness, and make someone's day - becoming a better version of myself in the process.

 

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Lindsey Camel

Year: 2020

What are your top five strengths?
My top five strengths are Restorative, Empathy, Developer, Responsibility, and Harmony.

Why are you a Student Mentor for the Robert J. Coury Applied Leadership Program?
I have been so lucky to have so many wonderful mentors in my life, so the program allows me to give back to the USC community and serve as a mentor to younger students.

How have your strengths shown up in your life recently?
I recently used my Developer strength to help my sister choose her classes for the Fall, so that my sister can further explore different major opportunities.

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Gabbi Green

Year: 2020

What are your top five strengths?
My top five strengths are Command, Context, Intellection, Individualization, and Strategic.

Why are you a Student Mentor for the Robert J. Coury Applied Leadership Program?
I am a mentor because I enjoy helping first-year students to understand and actively build on their inherent strengths in order to lead their best lives, and inspire others to do the same. As a first-generation college student, who definitely suffered from imposter syndrome as a USC admit for a time, I would have appreciated the personalized mentoring, encouragement, skills, and confidence that the Robert J. Coury Applied Leadership Program offers participants.

How have your strengths shown up in your life recently?
In general, my Command strength shows up a lot in my life. I use it to help keep the teams I am on from falling prey to groupthink or settling on an easy answer, voicing my opinion to push us collectively towards our best work.

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Joy Guan

Year: 2021

What are your top five strengths?
My top five strengths are Context, Input, Achiever, Intellection, and Empathy.

Why are you a Student Mentor for the Robert J. Coury Applied Leadership Program?
I was personally a participant in the RJC program last year. By the end of the last program, I truly felt that it can be so beneficial to both myself and the people around me. I decided to join the team and become a mentor so that I can strengthen my own knowledge about leadership as well as help others to find their way of leading.

How have your strengths shown up in your life recently?
Recently, I have been using my Context a lot to figure out my final presentations and exams. By thinking about my past difficulties and how I solved them in the end, I can boost my confidence and be ready for the future.

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AJ Hamer

Year: 2020

What are your top five strengths?
My top five strengths are Adaptability, Analytical, Includer, Learner, and Maximizer.

Why are you a Student Mentor for the Robert J. Coury Applied Leadership Program?
I wanted to be a mentor to provide first-year Marshall students with the ability and confidence to use their strengths to guide them as leaders in their future endeavors. I'm appreciative of all the mentors that have helped shape my values, and I want to pass their humility and generosity forward to the next generation of Marshall students.

How have your strengths shown up in your life recently?
My strengths may appear more salient in my leadership roles, but even in my daily interactions with friends, professors, or roommates, I've been able to better understand and utilize my strengths thanks to the RJC program.

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Elise Hernandez

Year: 2021

What are your top five strengths?
My top five strengths are Responsibility, Empathy, Context, Harmony, and Developer.


Why are you a Student Mentor for the Robert J. Coury Applied Leadership Program?
I am a mentor because I believe in the power of the RJC program and the impact it has on understanding your own strengths and values; it is beneficial for your personal knowledge and an important skill for interviews. I also enjoy meeting freshmen and witnessing their growth throughout the course of the program.

How have your strengths shown up in your life recently?
My strength of responsibility allowed me to take initiative in the internship search process early on. I am participating in the Winslow-Maxwell Program where I will be interning for a real estate company in Madrid, Spain this summer. The RJC program has given me the ability to speak eloquently about my strengths and values which I believe benefitted me in the interview process for this program.

 

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Nancy Huang

Year: 2020

What are your top five strengths?
My top five strengths are Futuristic, Responsibility, Positivity, Developer, and Achiever.

Why are you a Student Mentor for the Robert J. Coury Applied Leadership Program?
I am a mentor because I love being able to watch and help others grow in this space at college - it’s very rewarding to me. As a mentor, I am able to not only help other students discover and apply their strengths and values, but I am also able to learn from each person as well!

How have your strengths shown up in your life recently?
Since learning that Positivity is one of my top 5 strengths, I’ve been more conscious of the ways it appears in my life. I have found that the more I face life with a positive outlook, the easier it is to find joy in the little things, as well as share the optimism with others.

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Liz Israelian

Year: 2020

What are your top five strengths?
My top five strengths are Strategic, Activator, Individualization, Woo, and Ideation.

Why are you a Student Mentor for the Robert J. Coury Applied Leadership Program?
I love being a mentor because seeing people I've helped and influenced excel in their careers is one of the most fulfilling aspects of my college career.

How have your strengths shown up in your life recently?
My top strength of Strategic has helped me excel in my Strategic Management course as I have based all my contributions on logic and deductive reasoning. This strength has also helped me form a long term vision and an for the online startup I am currently working on.

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Dimple Khatter

Year: 2019

What are your top five strengths?
My top five strengths are Maximizer, Relator, Positivity, Adaptability and Futuristic.

Why are you a Student Mentor for the Robert J. Coury Applied Leadership Program?
I'm a mentor because it gave me an opportunity to sharpen my own skills as a leader and also teach what I've applied in my own life. Being a mentor has allowed me to become better at spotting other people's strengths, and maximizing the output of my teams by giving each member an opportunity to contribute their strengths to a team.

How have your strengths shown up in your life recently?
My Adaptability seems to show up in my life every day. Adaptability describes how I'm calm under pressure, not easily thrown off by minor details and how I think through challenges effectively to maximize the outcomes. In addition, adaptability describes how I find ways to make the most of out of each moment and use optimism to maintain my ground when situations don't go as planned.

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Caitlin Kreditor

Year: 2021

What are your top five strengths?
My top five strengths are Discipline, Achiever, Communicator, Activator, and Competition.

Why are you a Student Mentor for the Robert J. Coury Applied Leadership Program?
I am a mentor because it allows for me to both teach and better the strengths of first year students as well as bettering my own. I have the ability to tailor a teaching and mentoring style to each of my mentees in order to best accommodate for them to completely understand their own strengths. This, in turn, builds my own leadership ability of understanding how to work with students who have so many different characters, strengths, and talents. I also love being a mentor because of the fact that I get to help students find their path within Marshall and work through a very integral point in their business career. It is so easy to feel overwhelmed or lost as you start your first year in a new school or new field of study. As a mentor I can help in guiding students both personally and professionally during these times of their life, giving them valuable knowledge on how they can incorporate their strong character and defined strengths into their everyday endeavors.

How have your strengths shown up in your life recently?
My strengths tend to show up often during high stress moments each semester. These are the moments that a great amount of group projects are assigned and tests are administered. Being an Achiever and Disciplined, I feel my strengths most when committing fully to a project and putting a large amount of effort into the assignment. As a Communicator, I have been able to discuss strengths with my other teammates in order to better the overall product that the team creates. My Activator strength gets me going and moving on the multitude of assignments given in classes while my Competition strength causes me to not only compete with others, but also with myself, striving to be a better version of myself each day.

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Emilie Liebers

Year: 2021

What are your top five strengths?
My top five strengths are Empathy, Input, Developer, Strategic, and Ideation.

Why are you a Student Mentor for the Robert J. Coury Applied Leadership Program?
When I was a participant in the program, I started out not really sure that I would be able to be successful in business let alone be a leader. By the end, I had become so much more confident in my leadership skills and also realized that Marshall was the perfect place for me. I wanted to be a mentor, so I could show first-years that were like me that they can be leaders as well.

How have your strengths shown up in your life recently?
At the Coury Capstone, I was stationed at the flooded basement station, where the objective was to get your team from point A to point B using wooden planks on styrofoam columns to avoid touching the grass. Before the mentees went thought it, my co-mentors and I went through the exercise together. I immediately started brainstorming and was able to see paths we could take to complete the task. One of my strengths is Strategic and I definitely attack every task by immediately trying to figure out the most efficient way to complete it, making it a strength I use all the time.

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Veera Nadimpalli

Year: 2021

What are your top five strengths?
My top five strengths are Harmony, Achiever, Arranger, Communication, and Adaptability.

Why are you a Student Mentor for the Robert J. Coury Applied Leadership Program?
Being a mentee in this program changed me and taught me that leadership is being able to harness your strengths in your own unique way.  I am a mentor so I can help other students to find their own unique leadership style while learning more about their own strengths. I want to help others realize that everyone is already a leader; they just need to find out how to use their values and strengths to be the most effective leader they can.

How have your strengths shown up in your life recently?
After learning about my strengths, I notice them show up in my life everyday. I find myself planning and organizing my day every morning, using my Arranger strength. Most recently, I used my Harmony strength to find common ground in a group argument to avoid unproductive conflict. I used my strength to understand both perspectives of the argument and suggest a solution which works towards our shared goal as a group.

 

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Naoto Nakada

Year: 2020

What are your top five strengths?
My top five strengths are Focus, Individualization, Achiever, Competition, and Futuristic.

Why are you a Student Mentor for the Robert J. Coury Applied Leadership Program?
I love helping others discover their potential, and learning about our strengths and values empowers us to achieve our most ambitious dreams.

How have your strengths shown up in your life recently?
My Focus and Futuristic have driven me to propose and achieve long-term goals in my clubs.

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Katie Raguz

Year: 2020

What are your top five strengths?
My top five strengths are Achiever, Arranger, Individualization, Futuristic, and Includer.

Why are you a Student Mentor for the Robert J. Coury Applied Leadership Program?
I have been on the administrative and marketing side of the Robert J Coury Applied Leadership Program since the fall of 2017, and have loved every minute of watching the program grow from its launch. While I am not a mentor in the traditional sense, I have had the ability to train with the student mentors and help some participants realize their strengths and leadership capabilities. I love the positive and individualized approach that the Coury Program has, and have seen a difference in my confidence to lead as well as how I approach various situations since joining the program.

How have your strengths shown up in your life recently?
The more I understand my strengths as a leader, the more productive I am. I use my Achiever and Arranger strengths daily when ensuring I check all the boxes off my checklists while still being able to adapt to new situations or tasks that come my way. My Individualization and Includer strengths appear in group settings, as I take joy in finding each person's strengths and bringing them together to reach a common objective. Additionally, I use my Futuristic strength to visualize what outcome I want in a particular situation and make sure I align my actions with my future goals. By understanding the actions, activities, and strengths that make me happy and give me energy, I am able to increase my personal productivity and build on my leadership foundation.

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Tyler Sato

Year: 2021

What are your top five strengths?
My top five strengths are Developer, Harmony, Arranger, Includer, and Relator.

Why are you a Student Mentor for the Robert J. Coury Applied Leadership Program?
I became a mentor so I could help others learn to utilize their skills and give back to the greater Marshall community.

How have your strengths shown up in your life recently?
My strengths have shown up in my life at my job as a TA for the surfing class. I have helped others learn how to surf by creating an inclusive environment where they are encouraged to learn at their own pace. At this job, I am able to use almost all of my skills. As a Developer, I see the potential in the students to learn to surf. Additionally, as an Includer and Arranger, I am constantly aware of all the students' locations and make sure everyone sticks with the class so I can help them equally.

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Gustav Spangberg

Year: 2020

What are your top five strengths?
My top five strengths are Achiever, Competition, Deliberative, Learner, and Harmony.

Why are you a Student Mentor for the Robert J. Coury Applied Leadership Program?
I am a mentor to pass on leadership/professional/academic advice that has helped me in my college career. I think there are a lot of things that are not learned in the classroom that serve as invaluable tools in navigating college.

How have your strengths shown up in your life recently?
Achiever, Competition, and Learner come up frequently in my academic efforts. For me, it's always been about trying to get top grades in my classes while simultaneously building on my business knowledge.

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Tatiana Turner

Year: 2021

What are your top five strengths?
My top five strengths are Competition, Analytical, Significance, Deliberative, and Command.

Why are you a Student Mentor for the Robert J. Coury Applied Leadership Program?
I am a mentor because I want to help new students learn how to better understand their strengths and discover how to apply them in their everyday lives. I learned how to embrace and leverage both the positive and negative aspects of my strengths because of my mentors last year and I want to be a similar resource for other students. I admire how this program has the ability to boost confidence and develop first year students’ identity by helping them better understand themselves and prepare them for interviews. I want to be someone that students can rely on and look up to. I am excited to see how this program will grow and develop over time to reach its greatest potential and be a great resource for first year students.

How have your strengths shown up in your life recently?
My strengths show up subconsciously on nearly an everyday basis. This semester, I have been able to leverage my Analytical and Deliberative skills by staying organized and planning ahead. My Competition and Significance drive me to push myself to succeed while the Command keeps me in check by reminding me to stay on track and keep going.

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Katherine Winn

Year: 2021

What are your top five strengths?
My top five strengths are Positivity, Communication, Woo, Arranger, and Achiever.

Why are you a Student Mentor for the Robert J. Coury Applied Leadership Program?
I am a mentor because I enjoyed the program so much as a Freshman and it strongly affected the way I live my life. By acknowledging and working on my strengths, I became more confident as a leader and in my daily life. I wanted to be a mentor because I wanted to help freshmen come to the same understanding that I did. The Coury Program is an extremely organized and thought-inducing program, and Professor Tolan was my favorite professor Freshman year, so I wanted to be involved in this with her.

How have your strengths shown up in your life recently?
My strengths have shown up in my life in a major way. My ability and eagerness to communicate have helped me through a lot of events in my life, whether it be getting to know new people or working out an issue with friends. My Positivity has been present every single day, and I have used it to help me through the stress of sophomore year, which seems to be the busiest year for me. I have used it in giving advice to friends, and always seeing the brighter side of things. Achiever has probably been my strongest strength this year, as I have applied and committed to a lot more things at USC. I became my sorority’s philanthropy chair, a mentor for this amazing program, a brand ambassador for two brands, a member of the Marshall Women’s Leadership Board, and a director for the Marshall International Case Competition all in my Sophomore year. I really think I owe my accomplishments to this program, because by working on my strengths I have been able to achieve so much more.

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Yin-Yin Yang

Year: 2020

What are your top five strengths?
My top five strengths are Adaptability, Includer, Positivity, Empathy, and Learner.

Why are you a Student Mentor for the Robert J. Coury Applied Leadership Program?
It took me a while to be comfortable with my strengths. I became a mentor in hopes to help my fellow peers discover their strengths and maximize their potential as leaders.

How have your strengths shown up in your life recently?
I took on a leadership postition in my organization after discovering my strengths and practicing my own leadership style. I learned to position myself as a team builder and focus on fostering the collaborative culture within the organization, which helped our team to work more efficiently and effectively.

 

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Zaynab Zia

Year: 2020

What are your top five strengths?
My top five strengths are Includer, Positivity, Connectedness, Woo, and Communication.

Why are you a Student Mentor for the Robert J. Coury Applied Leadership Program?
I am a mentor mainly because I love meeting new people, especially newly admitted Trojans. Through the Coury program, I have been able to work with freshmen and first-year transfer students and not only get to know them, but also become great friends with them. I also really enjoy sharing any insights I have gained during my time here at Marshall with others. Lastly, it's been a lot of fun enhancing my leadership skills while collaborating with others to develop their's.

How have your strengths shown up in your life recently?
My strengths constantly show up in my life. Recently, I was in a meeting with many people I had never met before, and had a great time meeting each person individually and getting to know them better. To me, meeting new people is a thrill -- I love the idea of making new friends. This is an example of the Woo in me. I enjoy connecting and sharing with others to establish a relationship.

 

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