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Women’s History Month Profile: Director of Learning and Development, Enrollment Angelica Lafollette

April 25, 2022

Angelica Lafollette is Noodle’s Director of Learning and Development, Enrollment. Originally from Los Angeles, CA, she earned a degree in Nonprofit Management at Western Kentucky University and found her path to education as a culmination of multiple events. Angelica volunteered with organizations that provided youth with examples of people from diverse backgrounds and experiences  in successful careers. She shares that being able to have those experiences helped the youth she worked with have access to someone successful who looks like them can have a positive impact and open their eyes to new opportunities. Now, here at Noodle, Angelica supports the Enrollment team by building an environment with the tools and resources for everyone to grow and be successful.

Get to Know Director of Learning and Development, Enrollment Angelica Lafollette

The best leaders I’ve had taught me how to fail forward. Ensuring I remained motivated through every learning opportunity.

What elements or traits does a great leader exhibit?

From my experience great leaders listen intently, support candidly, and empower selflessly. Great leaders are teachers; always willing to guide others. Sonia Sotomayor said “Success is its own reward, but failure is a great teacher too, and not to be feared”. The best leaders I’ve had taught me how to fail forward. Ensuring I remained motivated through every learning opportunity.  

When you think of great leadership, who comes to mind? Why?

When I think of great leadership, I think of the high school students from the East LA Walkouts and their teacher, Sal Castro, who helped lead the students with encouragement and positive guidance. In 1968, thousands of high school students organized protests across 7 schools to demand better education for themselves. Learning about these youth and their dedication to improving their own education and success, truly inspired me. That historical event taught me two things. First, every individual is a leader, no matter their role. Secondly, great leaders create more great leaders!

How has your personal leadership style evolved?

The pandemic has changed not only the way we work but the way we lead. Adapting to these changes required me to listen more and learn the difference between when to offer suggestions and when to be a thought partner. I am thankful for the growth the pandemic brought to my leadership because I know true leadership requires constant growth and flexibility.

What is it about your background or career experiences that successfully positioned you for your role at Noodle? Describe that role.

I believe a culmination of experiences has best positioned me for my current role at Noodle. Especially my previous experience at an OPM start up and my understanding of translation. Translation is both culture and language. Frequently relocating granted me exposure to a variety of societal and cultural norms. With each transition into a new area, I have been able to develop an understanding of other cultures. English is also my second language and this has granted me experience with language translation as well. The understanding I have been able to gain from my position as a translator has positioned me to successfully break down and communicate information in a variety of ways. Particularly to ensure sustainable comprehension.

How do you support the success of your team?

One of the main functions of my role as the Director of Learning and Development for Enrollment, is to support the success of my department as a whole. I believe our team’s success is dependent upon everyone feeling they are successful at work. In order to accomplish this we must build the environment while providing the tools and resources for everyone to feel successful. Fostering a growth environment requires collaboration, innovation and volunteerism. We (the enrollment team, not just myself) strive to continue to create those opportunities through listening and learning about individuals’ skill sets, and asking for help on projects that could be learning opportunities. I am very fortunate to be in a position that helps people be successful every day. I honestly support my team’s success through their support of myself. Without them I wouldn’t be able to continue my work which supports our team.

‍Describe how your career has been enhanced by exposure to diverse people, places or experiences.

I have moved around and lived in many places. Adjusting to the cultural shifts equipped me with a broad understanding of how to work with a variety of personalities. I worked as a contractor for the DOD in Human Resources where I was exposed to a contrasting work environment from that of startups and corporate. The overall diversity I have fortunately had in my career has granted me a broader perspective which enhances my abilities each day.

What are some of the most effective tools in your leadership arsenal?

‍I believe the tools that aid my leadership the most are: my dedication to personal growth, my ability to translate thoughts into actions, interest in listening to others’ thoughts and learning about their perspective. More specifically, the knowledge on how to analyze data I gained from Raul Vazquez and guidance of some of our Solutions team members. Gaining a better understanding of how our data is pulled from our partners’ platforms through our warehouse and into our CRM has been a tremendous benefit in supporting my teams.

‍Although I do not have a data background, I was lucky enough to be placed in situations where I could explore Slate and Salesforce tools to diagnose challenges or discrepancies. Being able to resolve these challenges in our systems on the user experience side, creates great collaboration between our functional teams. This continues to grant me invaluable experience. These experiences provide me with the knowledge to support our various teams.

‍Please tell us something about yourself that people would be surprised to learn.

I’ll share a few things! I already shared that English is my second language and in college, I won a Unity Step Team competition through my sorority, Omega Phi Alpha, partnering with Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. I also ride and work on motorcycles in my free time— most people at Noodle already know this though!

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