By Wendy Jo Moyer
Joy Benjamin-Fieulleteau has always selected professions where she’s serving others.
Prior to her move to Florida, she worked for the New York City Administration for Children’s Services for 15 years and then the Florida Department of Health in the Bureau of HIV/AIDS for six years, prior to landing a role in 2011 as an advisor in Valencia’s Bridges to Success (BTS) program.
Her next opportunity to serve others came when she jumped at the opportunity to teach the New Student Experience course as an adjunct faculty member to solidify students’ purpose, pathways, personal connection and sense of place, and help them develop a plan and prepare for college.
Then in 2015, she was “led back home to Bridges,” she said, and landed her current job as assistant director, BTS. In this role, Joy is proud of the number of signature events she has created and managed.
As a member of the Black History Month Committee, she explained, “We will host a movie night simultaneously on three campuses,” she said. “This year we are showcasing a documentary, ‘Slavery by Another Name,’ which is open to all students and employees on February 16 on West, Osceola and East Campuses.”
Joy also worked on the Black History Month Talent Café, along with Umu Graham, academic advisor, BTS, which will be held on February 23 on West Campus. This event provides an opportunity for students to showcase their special talents such as spoken word, singing, interpretive dance, musical instruments and more.
In March, her event planning work continues during Women’s History Month, hosting the Women of Distinction luncheon — where five female trailblazers will be honored for their accomplishments, contributions to their community and efforts in the fields of education, health, communication, STEM and law enforcement.
A trailblazer herself, Joy has also organized the Bridges to Success Adopt-a-Highway program, in which a minimum 150 Bridges students and staff conduct litter removal on a Saturday on a three-mile stretch of highway adopted surrounding three campuses: West, Osceola and East. Read more about that program here.
Another of her “pet projects,” Joy explained, is a proposal she submitted for an international service learning project in Costa Rica, focusing on sustainability. The proposal was approved, but unfortunately not enough students signed up to participate for spring break 2018. Joy is not giving up, however. She will continue to recruit students for spring break 2019.
Joy’s supervisor, Tanisha Carter, director, BTS, is impressed with her outgoing and focused leadership.
“She has proven herself to be a dependable leader who walks in the door each day giving 100 percent effort,” Tanisha noted. “Joy coordinates all the signature events for the BTS program, which are always well attended and highly praised by students, faculty, staff and community members. Her attention to detail and focus on producing high-quality and meaningful events has provided our students with opportunities to network with professionals from various fields throughout our community.”
Tanisha added, “I am extraordinarily lucky to work with such a wonderful person who provides first-class, co-curricular experiences, which allow students to earn a college degree and become positive contributors to our community. I couldn’t ask for a better person to help manage the BTS program.”
And Joy feels fortunate to work with a great team, including a leader like Tanisha to serve as her mentor.
“We are small but mighty with Tanisha at the helm,” she explained. “Everyone on the team is committed to the work that we do, as evident by the results, our success rate.”
She won’t let BTS take all the credit, however, as she understands how many partners it takes to make our students successful.
“I enjoy working with other areas in the College, because our success rate would not be possible without the collaborative efforts of other departments, specifically, Assessment, Enrollment, Financial Aid, the Answer Center, the Business Office, Student Development, our faculty and, last but not least, OIT.”
She is also thankful for Valencia’s leaders who inspire her daily. “Starting with our president, our leaders are always focused on innovation, what is our next Big Idea and the fact that everyone has an opportunity to either serve on a design team or provide some sort of input to effectuate this change,” she said.
Joy’s also impressed by Valencia’s constant focus on improvement. “Even though Valencia has been the recipient of a lot of accolades and acclaim in recent past, we’re not resting on our laurels,” she said. “There is a consistent striving for excellence in higher education, and they are also mindful that with each new generation, different trends emerge. By having this forward thinking mindset, it allows us as a college to be in a forefront position.”
She graduated from the City University of New York — John Jay College of Criminal Justice, with a master’s degree in public administration — operations management and from Iona College with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.
In her free time, she enjoys running. Currently she runs 5Ks and is working up to a marathon, specifically the New York City Marathon, which is a lifelong goal she has with her sister. Joy is also involved in the Seminole County community as a 30-year member of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
She also loves to travel and be outdoors. Joy has visited every continent, except one. “The only continent left to conquer is Australia,” she exclaimed. “That will be for my 50th birthday.”
Know of someone who embodies one of Valencia’s Values (learning, people, diversity, access or integrity), who has been an employee for one year or more? Send the colleague’s name to us at The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu. He or she might be one of our featured colleagues, subject to supervisor’s approval.