Zaire Lionel
Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Dean of Admission
Rollins College (FL)

What drew you to the world of college admission counseling?
My first job as a student worker in undergrad was in the Office of Admission and I was hooked. Working as a student caller, tour guide, and intern, I was able to talk about the school that I love—my alma mater. I did not know that admission counseling was a job, let alone a career. Sharing my experiences with others was so natural, so when the opportunity to get paid to talk to students and their families about the place that was so transformative for me came up, I could not pass it by.

What is your favorite part of the job?
The people!

How has NACAC played a role in your career?
NACAC is the ultimate connector. It is the conduit to relationship-building and opportunities. I was afforded the chance to join NACAC early in my career but did not fully engage until a few years ago. While NACAC membership is large in size, it is a small world when you see how everyone is connected. My recent experience with the Affiliate Presidents Council has been so rewarding. I have gained 22 colleagues across the affiliates that are truly a wealth of knowledge and an exceptional resource. I look forward to using what I have learned to support others in their professional growth.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing our profession today?
Staffing and the lack of competitive pay. The great resignation has created challenges in hiring and retaining staff. We no longer have staff staying beyond three years who can be promoted or staff pursuing other opportunities within higher education. We see the great resignation taking talented staff outside of higher education seeking higher pay. Jobs in admission and college counseling provide a strong foundation with transferrable skills that makes recruitment in other industries more attractive. I was listening to a podcast recently prompting us to think differently about loyalty in the workplace. The world of college admission counseling is changing, and we too have to be adaptable in what options we provide the professionals, such as better pay and flexible work schedules. We still have a duty to assist students in finding the best fit for postsecondary opportunities. Let’s continue to strive to hire and retain those future leaders.

When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
Find me on the beach, soaking up the sun!

What five terms would you use to describe yourself?
Trained extrovert. Servant leader. Sarcastic. Task-oriented. Loyal.

Published July 24, 2024