UACES Facebook LeadAR Class 20 Member Spotlight: Desarae Nelson
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LeadAR Class 20 Member Spotlight: Desarae Nelson

by Lisa Davis - July 24, 2023

decorativeDesarae Nelson headshotLet’s feature another member of LeadAR Class 20. Dr. Desarae Nelson is the Director of TRIO Student Support Services at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. See her responses to the following questions.

Why did you apply to the LeadAR program? What motivated you?

I wanted to enhance my leadership skills while discovering ways to have a positive impact on my community and my state. While I have served in leadership roles previously, this program provides a unique experience.

What leadership quality do you admire most in others? Why?

I admire the ability to listen and engage in others because it shows that as a leader, you are willing to acknowledge the concerns of others while considering different opinions and views.

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you? Why is this surprising?

People would be surprised to learn that I love being outdoors and helping with farm chores. Fishing is my favorite hobby.

What are your top three ingredients necessary for success?

Ambition, hard work, and confidence

What are your top three ingredients necessary for happiness?

Faith, family, and fishing

Describe your personal leadership style.

I am very observant, and I prefer to take into account all aspects of information before making a decision. I believe I can be best described as a combination of a servant and democratic leader.

What is something you hope to gain from your LeadAR experience?

I hope to gain connections with other individuals from across the state along with knowledge and skills to impact my community and the state.

How can effective leadership help move the state of Arkansas forward?

Effective leadership can help move the state forward by empowering Arkansans to come together and advance the state in all aspects of education and industry.

You are stranded on a desert island. What are your three MUST HAVE items?

Knife, tarp, and flint

What is something that was difficult for you six months ago but easy for you now?

Managing multiple hats both personally and professionally was difficult but now it's just another part of my routine.

What else do you want others to know about you?

I love helping people, and I enjoy seeing others succeed. I want to have the opportunity to do more to help my students, my community members, and my state.

LeadAR is a program designed to help Arkansans broaden their understanding of issues and opportunities facing our state and strengthen their ability to make a difference. For more information about LeadAR, visit the website or contact Robinson,, or Lisa Davis,