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Two NMSU administrators chosen for national organization’s Emerging Leaders Program

Release Date: 29 Sep 2022
Two NMSU administrators chosen for national organization’s Emerging Leaders Program

New Mexico State University financial officers Nancy Ritter and Ross Justus are among those selected for the 2022-23 cohort of the National Association of College of University Business Officers (NACUBO) Emerging Leaders Program. Ritter is NMSU's bursar for accounts receivable and Justus is the associate controller and director of accounting and finance.

"Ross and Nancy are both up-and-coming business leaders in the finance and business services division," said D'Anne Stuart, associate vice president for finance and business services. "As key contributors to the division’s operations, we are excited Ross and Nancy have been selected for this leadership opportunity and committed to supporting their professional growth."  

With more than 35 years of professional experience combined in the corporate and banking industry, higher education and local government entities, Ritter and Justus are among participants representing 56 institutions in 32 states, ranging from roles in academic or auxiliary business units to officers in central administrative roles.

"What I expect to gain in participating in the Emerging Leaders Program is networking and learning best practices from others in higher education," Ritter said. "Even though I have been in middle management for years I believe there are still things I can learn to improve my leadership role. Being a leader in a professional setting isn’t just about managing your department but it is how you work with others across different departments and assisting administration. This program will give me the insight to what knowledge I have but how I can take that further to best serve the needs and challenges we find in higher education."

Ritter started working in the NMSU system in 1997 after graduating from NMSU with a degree in accounting. Her positions have ranged from fiscal monitor to program coordinator to Business Manager at Doña Ana Community College and accountant and bursar at the Las Cruces campus.

Justus is a College of  Business alumnus who first joined NMSU in 2008 as an audit manager in the university’s internal audit function. He eventually operated as the university’s chief audit officer for six years before moving to accounting and finance. Prior to NMSU, Ross performed external financial statement and compliance audits with KPMG, LLP and Moss Adams, LLP. 

"I hope to develop a network of similar professionals that can be leveraged to assist with advancement of NMSU activities," Justus said.

Sixty-eight high-potential business officers were selected for the yearlong program. Together, they will work to enhance their personal leadership skills, examine the impact of the business office and cross-campus relationships, and gain a better understanding of the present state and future of higher education.

“The Emerging Leaders Program is an important part of NACUBO’s goal to strengthen the strategic leadership role chief business officers hold on campus, as well as our ongoing focus on diversifying the pipeline of business leaders,” said Randy Roberson, vice president of leadership development at NACUBO. “We look forward to helping these exceptional business officers as they prepare to take on greater responsibilities at their institutions.”

Justus is a life-long New Mexican. In addition to graduating with his degree from NMSU, he is a licensed certified public accountant in New Mexico. He also graduated from the New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, New Mexico. He lives in Las Cruces with his wife and three daughters.

Justus hopes the Emerging Leaders Program will provide opportuities to learn from fellow finance executives at other universities. "This experience may expand my awareness of techniques and strategies that have proven effective in other institutions and may be available for implementation at NMSU."

Ritter is a Native New Mexican born in Alamogordo and grew up in Las Cruces. She is a first generation college student who grew up in poverty and difficult circumstances but teachers encouraged her business studies and friends helped her apply to NMSU where she earned her degree in accounting. She enjoys learning and is currently enrolled in NMSU's master of business administration program.

Ritter is looking forward to sharing the insights she gains with other NMSU departments.

"I hope to learn how leadership strategies are being implemented by current leaders at other institutions and what has made them successful," Ritter said. "I can then bring that knowledge back to NMSU and mentor staff members within my department, create working teams with other departments and assist administration with goals they have set for NMSU."

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