Get to Know Noodle Enrollment Advisor, John Ahn
“As a leader, I believe it is important to understand and meet people where they are in their lives.”
John Ahn is a Noodle Enrollment Advisor working with Virginia Commonwealth University’s Masters of Social Work program. He was born and raised in Queens, NY although his family is originally from South Korea. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Lehman College as well as a Masters of Social Work from Hunter College. John is a first generation college graduate and recalls his parents’ hard work being pivotal for his own work ethic and success. He shares that his parents’ sacrifice for their children inspired him to give back as well and help other families through his own background in Social Work. Now here at Noodle, John supports his team and the Asian Pacific Islander Noodlers ERG with his personalized approach to leadership, empathy and being a resource for prospective students.
What elements or traits does a great leader exhibit?
Patience and Empathy.
When you think of great leadership, who comes to mind? Why?
Yi Sun-Shin. Even in the face of an overwhelming enemy with little to no resources. He did not listen to his own fears. Never abandoning his people, he approached each battle with his brilliant strategies that changed the course of history forever and began a legend amongst all of Asia for his courage. During the darkest moments of hardship and failures, I am always reminded of his perseverance and dedication to always seek hope beyond the hopeless to create everlasting change.
How has your personal leadership style evolved?
With my own leadership style, I think about the areas where I do well and the areas that I can improve. Growth is always the goal. For me, growth is all about acknowledging one’s mistakes and recognizing the ability to learn from them to not repeat it.
What is it about your background or career experiences that successfully positioned you for your role at Noodle? Describe that role.
Before working at Noodle I was an admission counselor for the CUNY Welcome Center where I had the privilege of working with prospective students. I reviewed students’ college applications and other documents to help assist them through the admission process. With my current role as an Enrollment Advisor, I am able to still apply many of these skills but in a more holistic and personalized approach. I strive to develop a strong rapport with students to be a consistent and reliable voice of support for them. I also try to provide them with additional resources throughout their enrollment experience.
How do you support the success of your team?
As someone who has their Masters in Social Work and now having worked at Noodle for 2 years, I am able to use my degree knowledge to better support our team members during the recruitment process on commonly asked questions. Having an array of skills from my own MSW program, I help develop strategies and provide resources to support my team to meet our KPI metrics. I do this all while keeping a strong rapport with our students as well!
Describe how your career has been enhanced by exposure to diverse people, places or experiences.
I support our API ERG at Noodle by being on the leadership committee which gives me the opportunity to provide all API Noodlers a safe space. I try to help cultivate a space where members can enjoy each other’s company through fun and engaging events and opportunities. I think it’s important for our members to know each other and connect with someone that they may not know. This is important for us all to learn about each other’s cultures and backgrounds in a safe space.
What are some of the most effective tools in your leadership arsenal?
Active listening and empathy. As a leader, I believe it is important to understand and meet people where they are in their lives. Even the most experienced and talented individuals can be struggling while under pressure or stressful situations. An effective leader should be mindful and communicate so that team members can be comfortable in growing with each other— rather than having to feel pressured to match the pace of someone else.
Please tell us something about yourself that people would be surprised to learn.
I love singing so much that during the peak of COVID when karaoke areas were offering discounted rates I sang with my friends for over 8 hours!