Dr. JoAnn Trejo wanted to understand what truly makes a great leader. An associate professor at the University of California, San Diego, Dr. Trejo has headed her own independent research group of postdoctoral fellows, technicians, and graduate and undergraduate students for over 10 years. She has also served on and led various committees for faculty recruitment and equity, as well as graduate student admissions and training. Despite this already extensive leadership experience, Trejo wanted to expand her knowledge in preparation for taking on new leadership roles within her department and institution.
Trejo’s desire to learn more led her to the 2009 SACNAS Summer Leadership Institute. She says, “I felt that I needed to learn more about special challenges that I might face in becoming an effective leader of individuals from diverse cultures, since my background is quite different from that of most of my colleagues in academia.” True enough, since Trejo is one of five children born to a farm working family in California’s central valley. She and her sister were the first in her family to attend college and she is the only sibling with a PhD.
At the Summer Leadership Institute, Dr. Trejo learned that leadership is defined in many ways but to her, effective leadership means identifying and implementing processes and monitoring achievement of specific goals. At the institute, Trejo learned that she needs to clearly define her career and research goals. She reports, “These goals encompass aims related to achievements in research, academics, and community outreach as well as personal desires.” Most importantly, Trejo learned that plans need to constantly be worked and re-worked for effectiveness and efficiency because, she says, “a goal without a plan is just a dream.”
Ultimately, Trejo learned that there is no defined step-by-step process to become an effective leader. “But,” she emphasizes, “identifying reasonable goals, implementing methods to achieve those goals, and developing a system to gauge your success can profoundly affect the impact you will have in a leadership role.”
A life member of SACNAS, Dr. JoAnn Trejo has been involved with the organization since 2002 when she delivered a keynote address at the SACNAS National Conference. Her scientific research focuses on the role of protease-activated receptor signaling in endothelial cells and breast cancer.
Trejo lab webpage at: http://pharmacology.ucsd.edu/labs/trejo/Site/Home.html
This profile was adapted from an article written by Dr. Trejo for the SACNAS News.
SACNAS Summer Leadership Institute
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