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Leadership Stories From WSU Faculty and Staff

Students on campus | Photo by Qusai Takuri | The Wright State Guardian

Editor’s Note: The Wright State Guardian reached out to several prominent members of the Wright State community in different departments and asked them to share stories of leadership and what they believe makes a great leader. Responses have been edited for clarity and conciseness. 

Becca Webb

Communication and Development Coordinator, College of Liberal Arts

President Edwards inspires me as a leader because of the way she smiles, says “Hi!” to everyone, and has conversations with folks that many in her position either look over or downright ignore, such as custodians, facilities folks, and secretaries like me – people who are often deemed as lesser-than or just cogs in a wheel and whom leadership takes for granted. That impacted me, and I felt valued and appreciated. I want to make sure folks I’m leading are feeling heard, valued and remembered.

There are a lot of opportunities for student leadership on campus, and I hope [students] partake in them. A student perspective is important in continuing well-rounded leadership here, and it can’t be done if students don’t step up!

Wakiuru Wamwara 

Associate Professor of Marketing 

A great leader is an inspiring, transformational, visionary servant who dares to make tough decisions. No one achieves anything alone, and I have benefitted from the support and mentorship of many people from all walks of life. I am originally from Kenya, and my African worldview, which encompasses Ubuntu (I am because you are) and Harambee (let us pull together), informs my attitude towards leadership. Leadership means working to achieve common goals while inspiring, mentoring and supporting others to reach their personal goals. It is only in the collective that great things are accomplished.

Quatez Scott 

Intercultural Specialist of the Bolinga Black Cultural Resources Center 

When I was a senior in college, I missed out on winning an award I was really excited about. When I didn’t win, my mom told me not to be down. She reminded me that to be nominated was to realize people were watching me. And, even without winning the award, I won because of the impact I had on others around me. That is leadership because it was a reminder always to uplift the people around you. Leadership is hard. It’s making the decisions many people don’t want to make while steering the team towards goals. The other thing to remember is that leadership is not positional—it is attitudinal. No matter where you are in the hierarchy of an organization, how you embrace the people and work sets the tone for your elevation in life.

Nicole Carter

Director of the Women’s Center, Co-coordinator of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

A good leader advocates for those who don’t have a space to speak up for themselves and recognizes that we all have certain leadership abilities that are extraordinary at different times. They also believe in the importance of inclusion and equity. I am where I am today because other people thought that I could lead and educate others. A former professor saw not only my skills but the potentiality of what I could become. Leadership is not a final project. Instead, it is a continuous learning process, making mistakes, perseverance, and success. 

Joylynn Brown

Senior Associate Athletics Director and Senior Woman Administrator

Great leaders listen and can empathize with others, regardless of differences. The key to great leadership is figuring out how to bring all unique individuals together to form a strong team. What can I do to show I am invested in this group of people? How can I show them I care? Taking time to get to know people and what motivates them is huge. If you show you genuinely care about someone, they are more willing to work toward a common goal. 

To be a great leader, you need to get involved. There are so many opportunities on this campus, but you have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone to be a part of them. You just need to find your niche and passion and figure out how to contribute. Jump in with both feet! You can do it.

Kevin Huang 

Intercultural Specialist for the Asian and Native American Center

Three things make a good leader: consistency, empathy and authenticity. As an Asian American growing up in the Midwest, specifically Columbus, Ohio, I sought community when I did not have it growing up. I once had a community leader continually invite me, a stranger, to events on campus held by their organization. This has held an everlasting impact on me because it was so meaningful to be authentically invited to programs despite being new to the community. 

Awad Halabi

Associate Professor, Departments of History and Religion

A good leader possesses a vision of how a community and group can move forward but is also flexible enough to modify that goal after listening to the opinions of others. Over the years, I’ve been familiar with the work of community activists. When they have taken on a project, such as increasing voter turn-out, tackling homelessness or hunger in their community, the goal must have seemed remote and unreachable. Over the years, though, these activists have made tremendous gains. Every time I learn about the work of some of these community activists and what they’ve accomplished, it inspires me to think of the time and energy it requires to achieve these goals. It is often quietly done without any significant attention (or even appreciation). Leadership means speaking up in support of others, even if it may be uncomfortable to challenge those in a position of authority. 

Makenzie Hoeferlin