Josie Jones is the definition of “a girl who can do it all.” She’s a sophomore majoring in Nutrition and minoring in Spanish and Leadership, volunteers at three places each week and works as a Personal Care Assistant for ACR Homes. As if that wasn’t enough to fill her schedule, she founded and is the President of the University of Minnesota’s Chapter of Lean In, a student group that encourages women on campus to achieve their personal and professional goals. To top it all off, Josie has never lost a dance-off.
Q & A with Josie:
Q: What inspired you to start Lean In?
A: My cousin from UW-Madison is on the Executive Board of the Madison Chapter of Lean In and she encouraged me to read the book that the group is based on, Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. The book encourages women to set goals and be ambitious in their personal and professional lives. I’ve always been a leader and this book really resonated with me, which made me want to bring the message of Lean In to the U of M.
Q: Why is it important for women to be ambitious?
A: I’ve often gotten the label of being a “try-hard,” but I realized that when a guy did the same things as me, it was just normal. Why is trying hard and setting high goals something a woman is made fun of for? I am proud of my ambition and won’t apologize for it.
There is a big leadership gap in the workplace, which should be changed. Women have so much to bring to a leadership position. Lean In talks a lot about how women tend to be afraid to take risks in their careers; women often miss opportunities because they’re afraid of the consequences if their risks don’t work out. A lot of times, women just don’t think they’re good enough and they don’t ask for promotions or raises because they don’t think they deserve it. I’m so guilty of this. The truth is, we’re so capable of doing whatever we set our minds to, we just can have a hard time seeing our true potential. One of my favorite quotes from Lean In is, “Women all around the world are counting on you. So please ask yourself: what would I do if I weren’t afraid?” I’m trying to continuously be ambitious and unafraid of my own potential.
Q: What are some of your current ambitions?
A: Long-term, I hope to become a Physician Assistant, so my short-term goals are dedicated to everything I need to do to achieve that. Personally, I’m just trying to be a good and happy person. There’s a lot of definitions of what a “good” person is, but I’m finding my happiness through helping others be happy.
In terms of Lean In, I’m trying to foster relationships with faculty and students to build a network of individuals that have the common goal of helping and encouraging one another.
Q: What is the biggest challenge you’re currently facing?
A: Being an undergraduate student and planning for my future in not easy. To get into grad school, I have to be the complete package. It’s a lot to handle; balancing academics, social life, being involved, volunteering and making money is a struggle. I have to remind myself that I’m 19-years-old and I have to take advantage of that while I can, so I’m having a hard time just being in the present.
Just for Fun
Q: What’s your favorite “me” time?
A: Oh gosh, this is hard. That must mean that I need more “me” time if I can’t think of one right away. I love watching a rom-com and drinking a cup of coffee.
Q: What’s the best part about being a Gopher?
A: Gopher gameday, without a doubt.
Q: What’s your favorite dance-off song:
A: “Party in the U.S.A.” by Miley Cyrus. Or, “Stacey’s Mom.” It can never go wrong.
Q: What’s something you love about yourself?
A: I love my motivation. I love that I can get up at 5 a.m., drink a cup of coffee, do Organic Chemistry and be happy about it.