Leader Spotlight- Dr. Wendy Wilson
The moment I met Dr. Wendy Wilson, she spent over an hour briefing me to ensure I was ready for an impending adventure. In those moments, I found her inspiring and impactful. Even over the phone, I experienced the effect of excellence from her life. This impact was multiplied when we finally met face to face. Dr. Wilson enters a room and changes the entire atmosphere. From strategic thought to her caring approach to her exceptional style, she brings an exquisite flavor just by being present. I am honored to have her example of phenomenal womanhood in my life, but more than anything, I am grateful to call her my friend. Do yourself a favor and take in the the leadership lessons below from my friend, Dr. Wendy Wilson.
PBJ: Dr. Wilson, please introduce yourself.
Dr. Wilson: I am a native of Detroit, Michigan. Having resided in various parts of the country(US) as well as Japan, I consider myself a global citizen. My academic portfolio includes a Doctorate (Ed.D.) in Curriculum Leadership from Columbus State University, a Master of Science in Human Resource Management from Central Michigan University and a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Management from Bluefield College. As a transformational leader, I’ve led teams and managed services within the corporate and higher education spaces for more than 27 years, respectively. Currently I serve as vice president of university relations and special assistant to the president for diversity, inclusion and social equity at Albany State University. Passionate about the academic and professional development of others, I also serve as writer and workshop facilitator for a national consulting firm, specializing in post-secondary education instruction and development. My greatest and most rewarding achievement is my role as mother to two amazing individuals, a daughter 23 and son, 18 years of age.
PBJ: What does your leadership look like on a daily basis?
Dr. Wilson: My daily leadership style and practices are fluid. As the world and specifically the world of higher education changes, it is critical that I don’t cement myself to a particular approach or response. What does remain unwavering is my expectation that I along with those I am honored to lead, work to fulfill the institution’s mission of developing those who’ve entrusted us with their academic and social development.
From facilities to the C-suite, each individual’s role is paramount to an institution’s or organization’s success. As a result, I make it a daily practice to connect and engage with staff within or outside of my area of responsibility. Leading through connection, a term I’ve coined, ranges from, “I wanted to check on you, thank you for your contributions, to let me know what I can do to assist you in your role and or professional development.” Regardless the role or position, to been seen and valued by others, nourishes our being and fuels our service and commitment. Leading through connection is a leadership practice that I learned from a dear mentor and one that is practiced in some form or manner, daily.
PBJ: How would you describe your style of influence?
Dr. Wilson: My ability to bridge and connect people within and across professions is innate. I take great pride in supporting and developing others through networking, establishing relationships and coalitions. Strategic networking and engagement have resulted in creating professional opportunities and advancing individuals professionally and aided organizations in achieving desired outcomes. As a result of my proven and demonstrated ability to connect and align people with needed support services, I’ve been affectionately dubbed the Olivia Pope of higher education. It is a title I gladly embrace, as the character is unapologetically confident, whip smart and a fashion icon!
Olivia Pope is a fictional character of the drama series, Scandal. Pope is a crisis manager who specializes fixing political situations and scandals.
PBJ: I support that designation whole-heartedly. You are truly Olivia Pope personified! What is the greatest leadership lesson you have ever learned?
Dr. Wilson: My greatest leadership lesson learned is based on my favorite quote- Be so good they can’t ignore you. “Being good” is multi-layered and multifaceted. It is not limited to task performance, but encompasses the constant pursuit of knowledge as well as the practice of integrity, compassion and civility. Leadership is predicated on these tenets. Failure to adopt and apply these strengths and behaviors consistently, will inevitably result in diminished respect, reputation and loss of the opportunity to lead.
PBJ: What advice would you give to a new leader?
Dr. Wilson: Become a master communicator and subject matter expert of your profession and industry. Subject matter and communication mastery affirms your aptitude and establishes your reputation as a skilled and respected leader. Second and critically important, always be amenable to executing assignments outside of your defined scope of responsibility. This action messages your commitment of support to the entire enterprise or organization.
PBJ: I know how much the women in your family have shaped your approach. Tell us about the impact of female leadership in your life.
Dr Wilson: I liken female leadership in my life to my ability to breathe- it is natural and a necessity. My trusted and valued leadership sorority is comprised of current and retired higher- ed executives, corporate and non- profit ceos, doctors, judges, political consultants as well as my god-mother and 91- year old grandmother. Their spheres of influence have not only shaped my personal and professional paths, but consistently example tenacity, strength and unbridled wisdom. It is because of their profound intellect, service to their professions and societal contributions that I view and value, female and leadership as synonymous terms. They are congruent and rarely function independently.
PBJ: How can people connect with you?
Dr. Wilson: For professional consulting and speaking/lecture requests, I can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about of why Excellence is the
Standard at Albany State University, I can be reached at
Facebook: Wendy Wilson