5 Questions

With new members of the alumni leadership council


Jonathan Green

Q: You’re an experienced hospital administrator. What would you say is the most important quality employers should look for when they hire for any position?

A: I think personality is the most important element to consider when interviewing for any position. Of course, education, training, and experience play a role in selecting the right person, but the most successful candidates are motivated, confident, and respectful of themselves and those around them.

Q: What advice would you give to Excelsior’s students?

A: For the current Excelsior students, I would say when life happens, do everything you can to stay the course, stick with it, be persistent, and graduate. When interviewing candidates, I rate personality above education, training, and experience, but earning a degree — especially in a non-traditional program like Excelsior — demonstrates motivation and commitment that can drive success in the workplace.

Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

A: When I was in the Army Reserve, my mentor told me “you are your own best career manager.” The best way to advance a career is to identify what is important and where you want to be, and then take the steps necessary to get there. In practice, decide where you want your career to go, identify and pursue the education and experience you need to get there, and when the time is right, be bold and ask for what you want.

Q: What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

A: I would give my 20-year-old self the same advice I would give to Excelsior’s students: when life happens, do everything you can to stay the course, stick with it, be persistent, and accomplish your goals.

Q: Do you have a favorite quote? What is it?

A: Leadership is about driving change. We need to encourage change in our teams to foster growth and development. We need to promote change in the workplace to drive performance improvement. We need to be willing to change ourselves. With this in mind, my favorite quote is by Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, who said, “the most dangerous phrase in the language is ‘We’ve always done it this way.’”


Michael Gonzales

Q: You’re very involved in service to the community. Tell us a little about that.

A: I’ve been involved in community service for as long as I can remember, through scouting, church, and the military. After my time in the service, I continued to give of myself. Most of what I like to do is for those who are less fortunate; to make their lives a little happier in what I can give to help them out. I organized a clothing drive to help a Native American community when I lived in Arizona. I also taught cadets aerospace curriculum for the Civil Air Patrol. More recently, I have been active in helping raise funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s and cardiac disease.

I found that no matter where you are, there’s always some way that you can give to the community. I was utilizing the pay it forward principle long before there was a term for it. Give from the heart and it can go a long way in helping those around you, as well as yourself.

Q: What advice would you give to Excelsior’s students?

A: You’ve started a journey in life that brought you here to Excelsior College. Your faculty, fellow students, mentors, and alumni have been in the same place where you are now. We have all wondered if we were doing the right thing. The answer is a resounding ”yes.” Never give up on yourself no matter what life throws your way. We are all here to help you because we want you to believe in yourself, your dream, and to succeed in whatever it is that you are pursuing in life.

Q: Name something you’ve recently taught yourself.

A: I learned some things about hummingbirds. First, I need patience while being still and steady while feeding hummingbirds using the hand-held feeders. Earning the trust of these fast, yet gentle, creatures just inches away from me is an awesome feeling. When they are feeding, you can feel the thrust from their wings beating so fast. A spider’s web can be strong enough to keep a hummer from flying by binding up their wings if they accidentally fly through one. Even though a hummer has legs/feet, they only perch with them; they do not know how to walk on a flat surface.

Q: Is there a story behind your name?

A: Not really; at least not to my knowledge. I do know that my mother still uses my first, middle, and last name when I’m in trouble, so I try to stay out of it as much as I can.

Q: Do you have a favorite quote? What is it?

A: I learned this from a little green Jedi Master who said the following, “No! Try not! DO or DO NOT; there is no try!” It speaks for itself, and reminds me of Excelsior’s motto of Ever Upward. If you’re going to move upward in anything that you do, there is no try.