Joshua Justice, Class of 2018
Joshua V. Justice
Dean of Students & Chief Housing Officer, Division of Student Affairs, The University of Virginia’s College at Wise
What is new and exciting with you now or since your time with Lead Virginia?
At the conclusion of my time with Lead Virginia, I was preparing to enter my new role as Dean of Students & Chief Housing Officer at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise (UVa-Wise). I’m now approximately 3 months into my new position and have found that so much of what I learned through the Lead Virginia experience is useful as I work with students from across the Commonwealth.
How did Lead Virginia shape you as a leader?
Throughout my Lead Virginia experience, I valued the relationships I made with both my classmates and with the Lead Virginia staff and presenters from our sessions. My Lead Virginia experience made me more aware of the challenges, opportunities and growth that each region of the Commonwealth faces, and gave me greater awareness that our state is filled with capable and hardworking individuals working to build a better Commonwealth. This experience allowed me to break out of the “silo” mentality to see things on a larger scale.
Since Lead Virginia, how have you put your social capital to work?
I will be serving on the Southwest Virginia curriculum planning committee with Lead Virginia and helping the Class of 2019 get to know the Southwest region. I’m also excited to work with Southwest alumni to recruit leaders to be a part of the Lead Virginia experience!
What were your expectations of Lead Virginia prior to beginning the program? Did the program exceed or meet your expectations?
Prior to beginning the program, I had heard of Lead Virginia through my work at UVa-Wise but was unsure of what the program entailed. I was amazed at all that we accomplished over the course of 7 sessions and what I learned along the way. I saw places in Virginia I didn’t know existed and learned about programs and developments across the Commonwealth that are state-of-the-art. It was a transformational experience.
What was your biggest takeaway or lesson learned from Lead Virginia that continues to stick with you today?
When I think about each of the sessions from Lead Virginia, one common theme sticks out to me. No matter the area of the state, each has faced or is facing some type of difficulty, whether it be economic decline, population loss or some other challenge. No matter the region, there were committed people who didn’t give up and challenged themselves to improve their localities. In areas where individuals may not agree, they work together for the greater good. Particularly, in our world today, we need to be partners with one another and work together to accomplish our goals.