Misty Johnson Oratokhai, Guest Speaker

Misty Johnson Oratokhai, COO of the National Children's Center, visited Padua as a guest speaker for our students.  She spoke to our Black Student Union (BSU), Perspectives on Culture class, Mock Trial students and took part in a “lunch and learn” with our Student Council Execs and St. Anthony’s 8th grade girls.  

Across sessions, she spoke about her journey while here at Padua and after.  Both from her family and from Padua, Misty learned structure, discipline, time management, a competitive spirit and courage.  While a student at Padua, she was very involved in athletics, student council, and service and pointed out that the value system she received at Padua is one she takes with her today. Understanding that our students are putting in a lot of work, Misty reinforced that the preparation they are doing today at Padua will pay off in the future. 

The students in our BSU took advantage of their intimate conversation and asked many questions.  When asked about her most impactful experience at Padua, Misty answered the friendships she made, and also spoke about the teachers here at Padua Academy and at St. Anthony of Padua Grade School that made an impact on her life. When asked about the hardest challenge in law school, she replied, “students walking in acting like they know everything already.”  She also touched upon the fact that you may go into a workplace where people test your value system. Misty said Padua has always given her the ability to be the person that asks questions and makes sure she is doing the right thing.

Misty shared many life lessons for our students:

  • Your work ethic has everything to do with people respecting you.

  • The power of women is tremendous: make connections!

  • Nothing and no one is living a perfect life, everyone has a challenge, struggle, something... it's how you deal with that struggle that gets you through

  • Don't let self doubt creep in, especially when starting a new job, reset yourself every time and focus on the things you know you are exceptional at and others will see it.

  • Being well rounded is critical, try not to be judgemental. Don't expect people to perform at the same level that you do (which Misty said is something with which she struggles).

  • Most important quality in a leader: leaders should be visionaries, but also emotionally intelligent and empathetic. 

  • Make sure that you pay it forward - never feel threatened that if you support other people, it will take something away from you.  It takes nothing away from you.

We thank Misty for coming back to Padua Academy to talk to our students.  We extend a special thank you to St. Anthony’s 8th Grade Teacher (and Padua alumna!), Patti Achenbach for bringing her girls to share in part of the day.  Misty’s day with us ended with our Tree Trim Assembly.  We hope to have her back to Padua again soon!

Misty Johnson Oratokhai has over 12 years of legal and human resources management experience, coupled with 15 years of dynamic leadership in healthcare, publishing, and commercial transportation. As the Chief Operating Officer for National Children's Center, she oversees various departments, driving transformation initiatives and fostering an engaged workforce culture. 
Oratokhai is a proven expert in leadership, talent, and organizational culture, with expertise in HR practices, recruitment programs, and employee safety training. She holds a J.D. from the Columbus School of Law and is a member of the Maryland Bar. Oratokhai has received numerous awards, including the 2022 and 2020 Top 101 Global Employee Engagement Influencer and the 2019 Gold Human Resources Executive of the Year. She is also actively involved in advisory boards for Forbes Human Resources Council, CHIEF, and The George Washington University School of Business Customer Experience Program.
Spirituality. Scholarship. Service. Sisterhood.