“Perseverance is the key to success.”
Jann Joseph’s leadership is rooted in the lessons learned during her childhood in Trinidad. Jann’s mother, who was an “active reader,” helped instill in Jann the “power of lifelong learning,” which in turn, opened the world to her.
In reflecting on her childhood, Jann realized both how much and how little she had in her “humble beginnings.” Her father was a professional tailor who shared his skill with Jann, who is still able to create clothes as a professional “sewer/seamstress/tailor, whatever you want to call me.” Jann’s mother expected her children to be educated and professional. As the youngest child, Jann learned that “I can’t be afraid to try new things. I just have to jump in there.”
Jann’s mother loved sayings, and this love is reflected in Jann’s way of walking through the world today. Outside of Jann’s bedroom hung a sign that said, “Perseverance is the key to success.” Jann saw this sign every day, which helped instill her with resilience and a growth mindset. Today, drawing from this message, Jann uses what she calls her “P” words – prepare, participate, presence, perseverance – to help inspire her continued growth.
Jann credits many mentors and friends who encouraged her success; however, of these the greatest is her husband, whom she first met when they were just eight years old. Today, Jann’s “story is family,” and while she considers her work to be “very important,” her true measure of success is her “children, husband, family.”
Jann came to South Bend in 2014 as the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Indiana University South Bend. In this position, Jann was also responsible for student affairs. As the chief academic officer of the campus, approximately 75% of campus resources and people reported to her. Currently, Jann serves as the interim Chancellor for the campus where she continues to focus on student success goals and finding ways to help the campus thrive at a time when many campuses are closing or cutting back on programs.
In addition to her professional role at IU South Bend, Jann has served as the president of the South Bend Area (IN) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated. for the past two years. She is also on the board of directors for the South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce, the advisory board for the History Museum, and is involved with HealthLink.
In her leadership, Jann strives to embody mutual respect for everyone. She observes that it is easy to label people as “the other” when you don’t know their work: “it’s this sense of people not like us that gives us permission to disrespect what they do.” In response, she argues that we should strive to understand that everyone has different roles that should have equal value and that “mutual respect is the only thing that will take us to the next level.”
Information compiled from oral history collected by The Michiana Women Leaders Project
Jann was a 2018 CMWL honoree.