With advice ranging from career flexibility to making chaos into an opportunity to serving students, the speakers at this semester’s Lead @3 series shared their experiences and the things they have learned while in leadership positions.
The Office of Institutional Diversity’s Lead @3 series provides members of the campus community the chance to receive leadership advice from three female campus leaders.
Bonney Shuman, retired CEO of Stratix Corporation and UGA Foundation trustee; Marisa Pagnattaro, vice president for instruction and senior vice provost for academic planning; and Shelley Nuss, campus dean of the Augusta University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership, were the speakers featured for the fall 2023 series.
Shuman spoke on Sept. 21 and shared her journey from the Terry College of Business as an undergraduate to founding and leading a business. She emphasized how crucial it is to be flexible in your career plans.
For many years, Shuman pictured herself working at a bank until retirement. However, she experienced turbulence at this job when she learned that a male coworker was earning three times her salary.
Her willingness to take a chance at starting a business gave her the opportunity to be part of a company that shared and upheld her same values.
“I didn’t want to work for someone that’s not going to respect me and support me,” Shuman said. “That challenge gave me the initiative, the drive and the absolute commitment to have a business that had a culture that really, really valued that.”
Pagnattaro spoke on Oct. 17 and highlighted concepts of reframing, nudging and creating.
Reframing is an important practice when a situation becomes chaotic. Instead of asking how the chaos came to be, use that as an opportunity to innovate, Pagnattaro said.
Pagnattaro uses nudging in her leadership techniques to facilitate a work environment that leaves employees feeling valued. Through monthly birthday parties and meetings with treats like popsicles and doughnuts, she creates a sense of community among her employees.
“I think of these things as being the nudge of different ways that you can bring people together through leadership,” Pagnattaro said.
For Pagnattaro, creating is the difference between being a leader and a manager. Through the creation of new programs, she improves the academic experiences of students and work experiences of employees.
Nuss spoke on Nov. 8 about the importance of remembering your purpose. Though she has had many roles in her career, she has always had specific goals: to do the right thing and contribute to the learning of students in the best way possible.
“How are we serving the students?” Nuss frequently asks herself. “That’s why we’re here. What resources are we using? How are we using those for our students? If you’re not thinking about where you’re going, you’ve lost your compass.”
She also spoke about creating a positive work environment and surrounding yourself with good people. By building a space without toxic personalities, leaders can create a team that can more easily work together for their common goal.
“Employees need to fit what you’re trying to build as the leader,” Nuss said. “If they’re not on board with what you’re doing and where you’re headed, you’re going to be going one way, and they’re going to be going the other way.”