My Leadership Story

Recently I was asked to share my leadership story since graduating from Cornell MOR Associates ITELP. I was honored to be invited last week to share this story at the 2016 Cornell MOR Associates ITELP graduation. Below is my story.

Last year I stood on this stage as a current graduate and shared a personal story of how I helped my daughter navigate a difficult conversation. I shared this story as an example of the impact this program has not just on our professional lives, but our personal lives as well. Recently I attended my daughter’s end of year crew banquette. As a graduating senior each of the girls in her boat shared a story about her. As I listened to each of these young women share their story, I recalled the conversations my daughter and I had had about these situations. They shared stories of how she had motivated them; really listened to what they had to say; been inclusive; and helped them to build relationships of trust. They spoke of how she had led a somewhat fractured team to a gold medal in the state championship and the influence she had had on their belief in their ability to be successful. It was at that moment I realized just how wide our circle of influence really is.

The program impacted every aspect of how I view myself as a leader and my ability to develop relationships and get things done. The opportunity to have the time, space and coaching to work on myself has impacted every aspect of how I interact with others. The results of this can be supported by the feedback I received for my performance review. The MOR program is the best leadership development program I’ve ever participated in and I continue to meet with my peer triad and open my MOR book up at least once a week. If everyone could go through this program we would have an organization built on trust with an entirely re-imagined way of doing business. By working on myself I am better able to lead, coach those around me and understand how to develop relationships built on trust. I truly believe I can have an impact and lead from where I am.

Thanks to the competencies I gained in this program I was able to successfully lead a project that required me to reach across multiple units at Cornell and develop new relationships. It was the things I learned about myself; how to build relationships; and understanding how to delegate and run meetings that enabled me to successfully build a high functioning team where everyone had a voice, felt empowered, and worked collaboratively. This project had a number of setbacks and unexpected issues but thanks to the competencies and confidence I gained from ELP I was able to successfully lead this project and team.

While the above professional examples are important measurements of the outcomes and outputs of this program, I shared a personal story as an example of the human impact this program has on the lives of everyone here, our families, and the community. There are lots of different ways to be a leader and leadership transcends our professional lives. I believe there is no one, quantitative way of measuring it, that would provide evidence of success. Rather, each of our voices and our stories is evidence of greater trust, enhanced relationships and the ability to re-imagine the way we do business.

Thank you to MOR associates for shaping the narrative of our lives.

Making Sense of #dLRN15

What is dLRN15 anyway? What is the goal of this conference? These were questions posed throughout our two days at Stanford. For me it is not an easy question to answer or one that can be answered in a single sentence.

vconnecting

To me dLRN15 was:

Engagement, vulnerability, a safe space, cool kids at the table, identity, how do we get to do the things we really care about, since when is it radical to have boundaries on our time, adjuncts, systemic change, credit hour, different lenses, caring, compassion, empathy, collaboration, humanity, solutions, problems, equity, access, parity, diversity in ed-tech, diversity in the room, how do we define diversity anyway? Hash tags, virtual connecting, faculty development, needs of elite institution, non-traditional, and community college students, and how do we make sense of it all. For me this wasn’t a conference, it was an experience. One shared with those on the ground at Standford and those attending virtually via @vconnecting.

The two things needed to have an experience are: interaction and continuity (Dewey 1938). Based upon this definition I would say the attendees of dLRN15 had an experience. The safe space Kristen Eshleman George Siemens, Matt Croslin, Bonnie Stewart, Dave Cormier and J.T. Dellinger gave us enabled us to question our assumptions, see the world from a different or unknown viewpoint, disagree with one another, be surprised and see that what we thought the problem was might not be the problem at all. I frequently attend conferences where the presenter is “talking at” me about the importance of active learning. This conference practiced what it preached. The presenter wasn’t “the smartest person in the room”, rather, as a whole, we were all the smartest person in the room. Inclusivity was a theme of the conference and something echoed by attendees. There was no feeling of a “cool kids table”. Everyone felt welcome, a part of the discussion and that their voice mattered.

As I listened to the final wrap up, I sat back in my chair trying to make sense of all the emotions I felt, in awe of the capacity and willingness of the people in the room to be vulnerable, to demonstrate compassion and empathy, and their shear resolve to make sense of the changing higher education landscape and ensure all voices are heard. I was, and will continue to be, deeply moved by it.

To invoke change requires a safe space to think, intentionality, pose inquiring questions, share and reflect with others from across a wide range of viewpoints and demographics, experiment, be snarky, thoughtfully disagree, have what we thought we knew torn apart, and resolve to find our Northstar. For me this is all contained in a single phrase – #dLRN15.

Questions we are left to ponder are:

  • How can we create a space for a culture of reflective, engaged teaching and learning?
  • How might we develop personalized learning processes that move beyond content?
  • How might we build a community development process that distributes course creation and centralizes data & research?
  • How can we stop speaking for students and give them a voice?

As part of the sense making process of #dLRN15 conference we are collecting the stories from participants and non-participants. Are you wondering about the following?

What are the most pressing uncertainties, and the most promising applications of digital networks for learning and the academy?

How do we begin to make sense of this change in such a way that we can act in it?

Share your story and let your voice be heard http://us.sensemaker-suite.com/Collector/collector.gsp?projectID=DLRN2015&language=en#Collector