Words to Live and Lead By

“Lead from your own personal experience. That’s something I’ve always found helpful when meeting someone new. Meet folks where they’re at, and be ready to share your own perspective and experience in a way that invites other perspectives to come to the table.”

Ahmed Badr ’20, author of While the Earth Sleeps We Travel and founder of Narratio

“An effective leader remembers that everyone deserves to be respected even if you don’t agree on some things. You have to lead by example and demonstrate that no job or task is beneath you. It’s about having the desire and ability to genuinely connect with people and build trusted relationships. It’s about providing substantive feedback and realizing that the positive feedback should be doled out regularly.”

Matthew T. Hoey III ’78, Democratic first selectman of Guilford, Connecticut

“One of the things that I’ve learned from the pandemic, from Black Lives Matter, is to not let the discomfort of the unknowing, the uncertainty, paralyze me. Because you don’t know what’s going to happen next. You just have to learn to be able to deal with it and accept it and not put too much pressure on yourself to have all the answers, because nobody has all the answers. We need to be a little more patient with ourselves in this moment, as well as with other people.”

Alison Williams ’81, vice president for equity and inclusion/Title IX officer

“Every person is a leader when they speak the truth and stand up for what’s right.”

Alex Kasser ’88, Democratic state senator for Connecticut’s 36th District

“You have to have a reason for doing what you’re doing—a motivating principle, a set of values, a true north.”

Ben Florsheim ’14, mayor of Middletown

“Not every decision is going to be what folks want. But if you can help them see, ‘these are our choices, this is what we have to work with, and this is how we made this decision,’ then they can at least understand how you got there.”

Nicole Stanton, provost and vice president for academic affairs

“There are a lot of people in positions of leadership who say things for public recognition or party line or because it’s expected. But to me, it’s about lived and shared values. Don’t tell me what you believe. Show me.”

Amin Abdul-Malik Gonzalez ’96, vice president and dean of admission and financial aid