Anne Johnson, Associate Director of Admission, North Dakota State University

Written by: Brady Drake

Tell us about yourself.

I grew up in Alabama and while I miss the southern cuisine, I have happily (mostly, except when it is -20 degrees) called Fargo home for the last decade. I am excessively extroverted and enjoy interacting with people daily in my work or admission at NDSU. My husband and I have been married for eight years and keep ourselves busy and somewhat sane with our nearly 4-year-old, Iver, and 18-month-old, Nils. I love to read a good book, drink good coffee and figure out what makes others tick.

I have worked in admission for the last nine years.

What is important to you about the work that you do?

As a first-generation college student, I am passionate about helping high school students navigate the college search process and the endless unknowns that can exist in higher education. In my role as an Associate Director of Admission at North Dakota State University, I have the opportunity to support a team and strategize on the best way to support prospective students in their college search. I feel that I have the most impact when I am working with others, students or my staff, and helping them reach their full potential. I love the energy and excitement that only exist on a college campus.

Who are some people who have been influential in your journey and why?

I am incredibly grateful for the supervisors I have had over the years and the chances they took on me and the trust they put in me. I have often been given enough rope to fail but trust that I wouldn’t and that has been invaluable to my growth. My husband has also always viewed me as more qualified than I probably really am, and I’m grateful for his appetite for risk and never-ending encouragement to push a little harder.

What drives you?

Excellence. It is extremely important to me to do well at the things I set my mind to do. I am driven by my belief that others and myself deserve my best. I know that I am able to give my best when I am working with others towards something that I believe in.

What are some important lessons you have learned in your lifetime?

Throughout my life, I have learned the importance of community and how having a community requires putting yourself out there in ways that aren’t always comfortable, but always worth it. I’ve also learned that we all have things we need to work through and the tools you can learn in therapy are invaluable. Lastly, my dad has always taught me to bring more to the table than is required.

What are some of your favorite things to do in our community?

A few years ago, my answer would have been sitting at a coffee shop downtown, enjoying good food or listening to live music. Now, however, as a mom to two little ones, I don’t eat out much and couldn’t tell you the last time I saw live music, but I can tell you about the kid-friendly events happening this weekend. I love that our community is never short on ideas for keeping us engaged and helping us survive winter—one bouncy house at a time.

What is your dream job and why?

My non-negotiables for my career are:

  1. The ability to work with and be around others.
  1. Has meaning and tangible ways that I am contributing to something important to me and to the greater good.
  1. Is continually challenging and has room for growth.

I am incredibly thankful to have been able to check all three of those boxes at NDSU for the last six years. I do not have an idealized position that is my dream job, but I hope to continue assessing and being intentional about my next steps. My retirement dream is to run a bed and breakfast and bask in my love of strangers every chance I get!

Do you have any book or podcast recommendations for our readers?

I love to read and listen to audiobooks. Joining a book club was how I made friends and found community when I first moved to Fargo. As a new mom-induced hiatus, I have gotten back into a steady reading routine this year, and that book club is still going strong. I am currently reading Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus and so far, so good. I recently loved American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins and Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley. I like to read a wide variety and particularly enjoy those that make me think or bring me into a world that I haven’t experienced before. My Goodreads has my latest reviews and readings.

What are you hoping to gain from the United Way 35 Under 35 Women’s Leadership Program?

I hope to gain deeper connections in our community and friendship with other women who want to kick ass as a professional and as a mom.

What are some of your passions outside of work?

I am passionate about supporting New Americans. I am able to do this in my work on occasion and have enjoyed the opportunities to do ELL (English Language Learners) tutoring.

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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.