Do you see evidence that the spirit of leadership has evolved?
I do. Here is my evidence: an academic biography that reads: “I am a graduate of the Chicago Public Schools system; former food stamps and public assistance recipient; a wife to a glorious woman I have loved for 30 years; a parent to a teenage boy who is our best thing, a first-generation college completer; and an advocate and warrior for access to equitable, life-transforming education for all who seek it to improve their lives and the communities in which we live and serve.”
The above passage is part of the website biography of Dr. DeRionne Pollard, President of Nevada State College. It is honest; it is authentic; it is transparent and makes her relatable and approachable.
Be clear, the spirit of leadership and what inspires us about leaders are evolving. Not all leadership evolution is in the direction we may want. Yet, the character strengths that Dr. Pollard exhibits of honesty, authenticity, and transparency are the qualities of leadership that will transcend social and economic changes.
More evidence for me is when there is alignment between words and deeds. Alignment is a winning formula for success. What does alignment between words and deeds look like? Just take a look at Nevada State College’s organizational chart. When was the last time you saw the Office of the President at the bottom of the chart and the leadership leading upward? Maybe the correct question would be, “have you ever seen an organizational chart where the Office of the President was at the bottom?” You may think it is just symbolic, yet symbolism speaks volumes.
Our conversation covered a lot of ground, from the strategic vision of hope for the next generation to the five S’s of well-being that supports her ability to lead effectively. DeRionne’s willingness to share a pivotal point in her well-being journey was just another confirmation of her journey as an evolving leader.
Two final notes:
1) If you are fortunate enough to be in Las Vegas on Friday, August 19 — and there are still seats available — come experience Dr. Pollard’s vision at the Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce luncheon
2) If you want to be further inspired about the potential for reclaiming the teaching mission, read this recent article authored by Dr. Pollard.