NOD Spotlight: Rae Lenway

Rae Lenway


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While some may already know her quite well, others do not. So we are pleased to place the NOD Spotlight on the Director of Nacel Open Door, Rae Lenway.

Rae was named Director in July 2017, but her history with the organization goes back to January 1997. She was first hired as a High School Presenter/Recruiter, but was named an Academic Year Program Coordinator within a few months. Rae also helped out with Short Term Programs and filled in as a student advisor when needed, along with work on the Private School Program and St. Paul Prep in her final year before leaving NOD in the summer of 2004. But after seven years as a university administrator, Rae returned to NOD as the Operations Manager in the fall of 2011 and has helped guide our organization ever since.

Rae was born and raised in the Twin Cities "and never left." She is married and raised twin daughters, and now has a grandson, "who I love to show off whenever possible!" Along with her vast experience in exchange programs over the years, Rae also holds multiple degrees, including a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Organizational Communications from Northeastern University.

Rae said she loves her work, and her experience and her passion for student exchange programs are evident on a daily basis in the NOD national office.

"I love the contact with so many interesting and kind people, and the varied ways that cultural differences come out during our students programs," Rae said. "I love the variety of work, and the fact that we are helping to shape the perspectives of young people around the world. I love learning and growing and challenging my own perceptions by the constant information I am receiving from our employees, field staff, students, and foreign partners. There is never a boring day, and I feel like I am constantly learning and growing by being exposed to so many different people, ideas, and situations."

While she never had the opportunity to study abroad herself, Rae has enjoyed her travels to meet with partners in many countries over the years.

Rae said if there's some advice she'd give to everyone involved with NOD to help prepare students for life in the U.S., it's to tell them to keep an open mind.

"Be open to all different experiences and situations. Misunderstandings can easily occur when so many different cultures/backgrounds/communication styles are involved. Students and parents need to remember that everyone involved wants our students to be successful, and address any misunderstandings or questions by communicating openly and respectfully with the appropriate people."

There's also one last thing you should remember about Rae: she is a PASSIONATE Minnesota Wild fan. So next time you speak to her, ask how her favorite hockey team is doing!