A few minutes with Alejandra ‘Alex’ Juan

POSITION: Executive director of the USS Kidd Veterans Memorial & Museum.

AGE: 35.

On Dec. 14, Juan succeeded Maury Drummond as executive director of the USS Kidd Veterans Memorial & Museum. Juan, who had been Drummond’s administrative assistant since March, had served in the Louisiana Air National Guard 159th Fighter Wing for more than 15 years, rising to the rank of captain and working as a public affairs officer. She volunteers at the Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response Center as well as several animal rescue services in Baton Rouge. She is married to Senior Master Sgt. Craig Juan, who serves in the Louisiana National Guard’s Counter Drug Task Force at Carville. They have two sons, Nick, 16 and Noah, 12.

What did you learn from Drummond, who served at the Kidd museum for 22 years?

Maury Drummond and his family have dedicated more than two decades of their lives to ensuring that the USS Kidd Veterans Memorial & Museum flourished. The main thing I have learned from him is that this isn’t a regular job; it’s a passion. You have to put a lot of time and heart into this, and you need your family’s support through it all.

Why do you think the committee chose you?

They put out a national search for a new director, and I know they had talented candidates in that mix. I believe they chose me because they appreciated my passion for community service, and they were looking for someone with both strong leadership skills and a public relations background. I truly am humbled and honored to have been selected and appreciate the trust and confidence they’ve placed in me.

What do you hope to accomplish during your tenure as executive director?

I want people to visit the Kidd and appreciate all that it has to offer. I love this place! And, I hope that others will soon share in my passion for the real significance of this hidden treasure. I also want to make the Kidd relevant to different target audiences. Our goal will be to become more involved with the community and set up a speaker’s bureau that will educate the public on historical significance of this gem that we have right here in Baton Rouge.

You said you want to increase educational outreach programs. What do you have in mind?

We will be working with educators to develop a beneficial teacher’s packet that will include lesson plans. We would also like to develop an internship program and a living history volunteer program. Starting in 2014, we are making both the ship and museum free on First Free Sundays to allow families the opportunity to have fun and learn something new. We will have a monthly theme on First Free Sundays, where we will invite other agencies to help us educate the public.

What will you bring from your military background that will assist you in your new position?

I live my life by the Air Force Core Values of: Integrity First, Service Before Self and Excellence In All We Do. Those values are innate at this point in my life. I joined the military at 17, and it changed my life for the better. I was challenged in ways I never thought were possible, and all of the experiences, both good and bad, helped shape me into the person I am today.

Ryan Broussard

Advocate staff reporter