S’24 BEST Board: Johnny Ferede Says Embrace Every Chance for Personal, Professional Growth

During a time of staff transitions within Student Activities, Graduate Assistant Johnny Ferede became the point person for Recognized Student Organizations and Leadership programming. He also resolved issues with a previous cloud-based student engagement platform that has since been replaced by a more robust and reliable Mav Central.

Recognizing Johnny for his efforts, his nominator said: “Johnny handled it with professionalism and grace. During this transition, Johnny handled the recognition process for all RSO’s on campus during a challenging technical time. He became an adept problem solver for his department and main point of contact for students who needed help to work with failing technology while his department looked for another solution. This was in addition to maintaining a high GPA for his grad program in Health Informatics.”

Name: Johnny Ferede
Home: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Graduate Program: Master’s Degree in Health Informatics
Graduation Date: May 2024

Reflecting on your time in leadership roles or as a student employee in the student union, how do you believe these experiences have contributed to your college experience?

JOHNNY: “My experiences in leadership roles and as a student employee in the student union have significantly enriched my college journey. I have gained strong organizational and interpersonal skills important for a collaborative and vibrant campus community. As the Graduate Advisor for Recognized Student Organizations (RSOs) and Leadership, my understanding of group dynamics has increased, and I have honed my ability to guide and mentor RSO leaders and students, contributing not only to their growth but also to the overall campus culture. Working as a graduate advisor has further solidified my commitment to fostering student engagement and leadership development. Additionally, my involvement as the treasurer for the Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Society during my undergraduate years instilled in me a sense of fiscal responsibility and teamwork. Overall, these experiences have been instrumental in shaping my personal growth, providing me with valuable skills, lasting connections, and a profound sense of purpose within the university community.”

How have those experiences contributed to your personal growth and development as an individual?

JOHNNY: “My diverse leadership roles and employment experience in the student union have played a major role in my personal growth. Through supervising the Maverick Involvement Team and serving as a Graduate Advisor for RSOs and Leadership, I have gained crucial leadership and mentorship skills. I have further demonstrated social responsibility and community engagement through my involvement with Campus Kitchen in undergrad where I helped pack food for students in need on a regular basis. As a mentor, I am dedicated to ensuring that student organizations, their leaders, members, and other students throughout the campus community gain leadership skills that they will use in their future endeavors.”

Provide one or more detailed examples where your campus involvement/work experience made you a better leader.

JOHNNY: “As the Graduate Advisor for RSOs and Leadership, a defining example of how my campus involvement/work experience made me a better leader was when I had to organize important events independently during Fall 2022 due to a shortage of staff. This challenging situation not only required me to develop extreme time management skills but also honed my critical thinking and professionalism. Amidst this responsibility, I successfully executed major events including but not limited to, the Student Leadership Awards with over 60 nominations, a Student Leadership Retreat with over 40 applications and around 30 – 35 attendants, RSO Fairs, and recognition of over 200 student organizations. This experience of taking charge during an unprecedented situation allowed me to demonstrate resilience, strategic thinking, and the ability to thrive under pressure, ultimately shaping me into a more capable and adaptive leader.”

How do you see yourself carrying the lessons and skills you gained from your leadership and/or student union work experience into your future endeavors or career path?

JOHNNY: “The lessons and skills acquired through my leadership and student union work experiences will be invaluable in my future endeavors and career path. As I pursue a career in Health Informatics, the ability to efficiently manage time and think critically will be crucial in navigating the complexities of healthcare data and technology. Moreover, the mentorship skills developed as a Graduate Advisor for RSOs and Leadership will enable me to guide and support teams in the ever-evolving field of Health Informatics. The organizational and interpersonal skills honed through various roles, including supervising the Maverick Involvement Team and volunteering at Campus Kitchen, will contribute to creating efficient and collaborative work environments. Ultimately, the skills and lessons gained from my student union experiences will definitely play a main role in my professional success and impact.”

What advice would you give to fellow students in helping them make the most of their college experience?

JOHNNY: “My advice to fellow students would be to embrace every opportunity for personal and professional growth during their college experience. Get involved in student organizations, take on leadership roles, and participate in campus events. These experiences not only enrich your college life but also foster valuable skills. Don’t shy away from stepping out of your comfort zone and exploring diverse interests. Establish meaningful connections with professors, peers, and professionals, as these relationships can open doors to future opportunities. Lastly, prioritize self-care and balance; finding a mix of academics, involvement in clubs, and personal well-being will contribute to a fulfilling and successful college journey.”

Throughout your college experience at Minnesota State Mankato, what has provided the greatest personal growth, memories, satisfaction and/or personal pride.

JOHNNY: “Supervising the Maverick Involvement Team and serving as an advisor for approximately 800 organization officers and 1000 organization members during my college experience at Minnesota State Mankato, has been the most rewarding and personally enriching aspect of my journey. This role not only allowed me to contribute significantly to the vibrant campus community but also provided opportunities for personal growth. Nurturing the development of both individual students and diverse student organizations, I witnessed firsthand the positive impact of mentorship and leadership. The countless memories created through events, student initiatives, and collaborative efforts have become a source of great satisfaction and personal pride. The ability to facilitate engagement, foster a sense of belonging, and contribute to the general development of the campus community has been a rewarding experience, leaving a memorable mark on my college years and shaping my understanding of effective leadership and community building.”

Share a special “lifelong” memory of college you will take with you when you leave Minnesota State Mankato. 

JOHNNY: “A special lifelong memory I will take with me when leaving Minnesota State Mankato centers around the Student Leadership Retreat, organized by Maverick Involvement Team, where I cultivated meaningful relationships, delved into diverse leadership topics, and engaged in enjoyable activities such as snow tubing.”

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