Featured Colleague – LeSena Jones

By Stephanie McMillen

LeSena Jones, manager of career and workforce education, said that she feels honored to be part of the Valencia family.

“I love our innovative and pioneering spirit,” she said, “the way we aspire to excellence in everything we do, our focus on students and learning first, our teamwork and collaborative culture, and the opportunities that we have every day to help transform lives.”

This year, LeSena is celebrating her 20th anniversary at the college, and said, “It has been an exciting and rewarding journey together.”

She started working at Valencia in 1992, and since that time has held the roles of assistant for technical education, coordinator for workforce development, and currently, manager for career and workforce education.

Her office is responsible for strengthening, enhancing and improving the outcomes of Valencia’s career and workforce education programs to ensure they are meeting the needs and demands of our workforce region. “We respond to critical job needs emerging in the workforce through program modification, expansion and development,” LeSena said.

LeSena attended Trevecca Nazarene University in Tennessee, and received a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

One of her memorable experiences at Valencia occurred in 2005 when LeSena had the unique opportunity to travel to Namibia, Africa on a U.S. Aid grant.

“We were there for two weeks and worked with the Polytechnic University of Namibia to increase the capacity of their hotel school to provide high-quality training for jobs in their growing tourism sector.”

The project entailed meeting with the university faculty and staff to review academic programs, and meeting with various employers, businesses and city officials from the community to assess workforce training and education needs. Ultimately, the team made recommendations for restructuring the university’s hospitality programs.

“It was a life-changing experience,” she said. “We learned to eat all kinds of unusual food, and of course, we were able to see all kinds of exotic wildlife.” The lasting impression from this trip, LeSena said, was realizing “how often we tend to do so little with so much, while others learn to do so much with so little.”

Since she has been at Valencia, LeSena has been most inspired by Joan Tiller, special assistant to the president.

“She has inspired me through her devotion and dedication to her work, her visionary leadership at the state and national levels, and her high drive for excellence in everything she does,” LeSena said. “She never does anything small, and has encouraged and inspired me in both my personal and professional life to always give everything I do my very best!”

In her free time, LeSena enjoys traveling, shopping, hanging out with friends, and volunteering at her church and in the community. She has volunteered with the Special Olympics, Great Oaks Village, Give Kids the World, the Jobs and Education Partnership, and Central Care Mission where she is currently serving as a board member.

Know of someone doing great work at the college? Send their name to us at The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu so they can be one of our featured colleagues!

11 Comments

  • Cathy Campbell said:

    LeSena herself has been an inspiration. She has been a trusted colleague and friend… and I have known her almost as long as she has been here. 🙂

    PMTue, 18 Dec 2012 16:58:58 +0000Tue, 18 Dec 2012 16:58:58 +0000pm12,4:58 pm

  • Mike Bosley said:

    LeSena always does a great job! We greatly appreciate her!

    PMTue, 18 Dec 2012 20:13:40 +0000Tue, 18 Dec 2012 20:13:40 +0000pm12,8:13 pm

  • Joan Tiller said:

    LeSena definitely has that pioneering and innovative spirit — she is Great!

    AMWed, 19 Dec 2012 07:16:07 +0000Wed, 19 Dec 2012 07:16:07 +0000am12,7:16 am

  • Nicole Schneller said:

    LeSena, you are a star! You are always ready to listen to a story or help with a project. Thanks for being such a great person and an asset to our division!

    AMWed, 19 Dec 2012 08:45:53 +0000Wed, 19 Dec 2012 08:45:53 +0000am12,8:45 am

  • Nick Peeples said:

    Wow! What an inspiration!!! Thank you for all you do for our community!!

    AMWed, 19 Dec 2012 09:48:29 +0000Wed, 19 Dec 2012 09:48:29 +0000am12,9:48 am

  • Beverlee Andrews said:

    Lesena, Congratulations on 20 years! I appreciate your dedication, spirit, and willingness to assist when needed.

    AMWed, 19 Dec 2012 09:57:18 +0000Wed, 19 Dec 2012 09:57:18 +0000am12,9:57 am

  • Andrew Ray said:

    Lesena –
    Congratulations – this recognition is well-deserved! It doesn't seem possible that it's been twenty years, but Valencia has been a great place to spend that time because of caring people like you.

    PMWed, 19 Dec 2012 16:48:55 +0000Wed, 19 Dec 2012 16:48:55 +0000pm12,4:48 pm

  • Don Myers said:

    Lesena, what a wonderful tribute to your long term dedication and love for the Valencia community. We are so proud of you and count it a privilege to work alongside of you!

    PMWed, 19 Dec 2012 17:52:51 +0000Wed, 19 Dec 2012 17:52:51 +0000pm12,5:52 pm

  • George&LeJeune Smith said:

    LeSena, congratulations to our talented and dedicated daughter. The article was just the best! It's neat to read about the caring person you are, course we already knew that. We love you!

    PMThu, 20 Dec 2012 12:45:17 +0000Thu, 20 Dec 2012 12:45:17 +0000pm12,12:45 pm

  • Chyrrl McCulley said:

    What a great tribute to all your hard work and dedication at Valencia! Very proud of you my friend

    PMThu, 20 Dec 2012 16:26:04 +0000Thu, 20 Dec 2012 16:26:04 +0000pm12,4:26 pm

  • Barbara Ripaldi said:

    LeSena, you certainly deserve this recognition. You always strive for excellence in all you do and you are an inspiration to so many people. I always enjoyed working with you.

    AMFri, 21 Dec 2012 00:42:56 +0000Fri, 21 Dec 2012 00:42:56 +0000am12,12:42 am

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