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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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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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Jillian Barbato

Jillian Barbato

Year: 2022

What are your top five strengths?
My top five strengths are Achiever, Competition, Restorative, Responsibility, and Adaptability.

Why are you a Student Mentor for the Robert J. Coury Applied Leadership Program?
I am a mentor because when I went through the program as a freshman, I found it to be incredibly helpful in giving me the confidence to know what value I can bring to employers and how to communicate that in interviews. I want to help provide the same empowering learning experience to current freshmen so that they can be even better equipped to be leaders on campus and in their personal life.

How have your strengths shown up in your life recently?
The past few weeks, I've been using my Achiever and Responsibility strengths frequently as I have been balancing my leadership roles on campus with my academics. RJC has helped me recognize where my strengths show up in daily life and how they relate to one another!

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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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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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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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Jaya Hinton

Jaya Hinton

Years: 2022

What are your top five strengths?
My top five strengths are Achiever, Arranger, Input, Futuristic, and Relator.

Why are you a Student Mentor for the Robert J. Coury Applied Leadership Program?
I am a student mentor for the Robert J Coury Applied Leadership Program because getting to know my strengths has helped me lead teams more effectively. I want to take what I’ve learned, and my experiences applying it, and help the next generation of SC become better leaders too.

How have your strengths shown up in your life recently?
As I’ve recently taken over as Co-Executive director for the Black Student Assembly, arranger has popped up a lot. Organizing our E-Board and planning for our three upcoming signature events has allowed me to fall back heavily on my natural arranger strength and allowed for a smooth transition!

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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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Michael Kukura

Michael Kukura

Year: 2022

What are your top five strengths?
My top five strengths are Futuristic, Competition, Achiever, Discipline, and Restorative.

Why are you a Student Mentor for the Robert J. Coury Applied Leadership Program?
I want to help my peers identify their own strengths to become effective leaders, while I simultaneously continue to learn how to capitalize on my own strengths.

How have your strengths shown up in your life recently?
My futuristic strength helps me ideate my career goals, and my competition, achiever, and discipline strengths help me progressively work towards these goals.

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Frances Lawley

Frances Lawley

Year: 2021

What are your top five strengths?
My top five strengths are Restorative, Achiever, Individualization, Woo, and Input.

Why are you a Student Mentor for the Robert J. Coury Applied Leadership Program?
I remember during my own freshman year feeling particularly overwhelmed in the world of possibilities that Marshall offers. Though I was very involved and committed to my core classes, I felt stuck in my ability to exercise and grow my leadership and business skills. I was very unsure of who I could turn to for guidance at this time. Now, as a junior looking back, I wish I had the chance to participate in the Robert J Coury Applied Leadership Program when I was a freshman to benefit from its amazing support in first-year Marshall students. I am extremely eager and excited to invest in the newest Marshall class by sharing the knowledge I have gained throughout my success at USC and by simply supporting and being there for freshmen (once like myself) who want to develop and grow their leadership skills.

How have your strengths shown up in your life recently?
My strengths are definitely highlighted most in group work from classes and through my personal relationships. Almost all of my classes I've taken at USC so far require some sort of group project or group think. Being aware of my strengths has allowed me to utilize them to my advantage when working closely with others from diverse backgrounds. In addition, being observant and cognizant of my strengths has only further supported and empowered my relationship development with others.

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Tran Lee

Tran Lee

Yea: 2022

What are your top five strengths?
My top five strengths are Adaptability, Empathy, Restorative, Deliberative, and Intellection.

Why are you a Student Mentor for the Robert J. Coury Applied Leadership Program?
As a participant of the program during my first year at USC, I had a chance to learn how to utilize my strengths to work towards my goals for that semester and gained other necessary soft skills. It was one of the best decisions I made for my freshman year. Therefore, I want to become a mentor who delivers such great experiences for her mentees and help them navigate their college life during not only this first year, but also the upcoming three years. I always see awesome potential in people around me, yet they are unable to fully realize it. As a mentor, I would love to bring out the best in each individual. Seeing them change positively would be the biggest achievement for me.

How have your strengths shown up in your life recently?
My strengths certainly help ease the transition into my new internship this Spring. With Adaptability and Empathy, I can build close relationships with other interns as well as my coworkers without much difficulty. In addition, Intellection and Restorative helps me get up the learning curve quickly. Last but not least, Deliberative certainly prevents me from making mistakes, especially in tasks that require extra care.

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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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Ryan Nagel

Ryan Nagel

Year 2022

What are your top five strengths?
My top five strengths are Analytical, Harmony, Discipline, Consistency, and Achiever.

Why are you a Student Mentor for the Robert J. Coury Applied Leadership Program?
I want to help first-year students ay Marshall grow and become more confident in their leadership abilities so they can be their best-self at Marshall. This is a great opportunity for me to share my knowledge and experiences and learn from each person as well!

How have your strengths shown up in your life recently?
My strengths show up in my life daily, especially in my studies and my relationships with friends. I use my combination of Analytical, Discipline, and Harmony to accomplish my goals each day and be the best version of myself.

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Lauren Pelletier

Lauren Pelletier

Year: 2022

What are your top five strengths?
My top five strengths are Analytical, Achiever, Harmony, Relator, and Responsibility.

Why are you a Student Mentor for the Robert J. Coury Applied Leadership Program?
I participated in the Coury Leadership Program during my freshman year and really appreciated the focus on finding different ways to implement the strengths you naturally possess to achieve your goals. I chose to be a mentor so that I can help others gain confidence in their ability to apply their unique strengths and find their leadership style.

How have your strengths shown up in your life recently?
Achiever is one of my top strengths and shows up often in my daily life. Most recently it has appeared in the Excel class I am currently taking. Rather than just completing the assignment and turning it in, I am always looking for ways to do it in a different or more efficient way. I love finding faster ways to set up a sheet and enjoy taking on the optional challenge exercises which my professor offers in addition to the assignment. This drive to complete assignments in the best way possible has aided me in gaining a greater understanding of Excel overall.

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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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Katie Wick

Katie Wick

Year: 2022

What are your top five strengths?
My top five strengths are Restorative, Adaptability, Connectedness, Responsibility, and Context.

Why are you a Student Mentor for the Robert J. Coury Applied Leadership Program?
I love the Robert J. Coury Applied Leadership Program because of its approach to personal and professional growth. Rather than looking for one’s weaknesses, we discover a participant’s natural talents and strive to strengthen them. My confidence was greatly improved after I went through this program as a freshman, and am truly looking forward to returning as a Student Mentor this year!

How have your strengths shown up in your life recently?
Recently, I have seen my Connectedness strength shine through in my group project work for business classes. I have been doing all that I can to make sure everyone in the group has a say in our final product. Additionally, I try to help teammates catch up with material from group meetings that they’ve missed.

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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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