For those who follow this blog and my social media channels (kgbphd on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and WeChat), you may notice that I love to celebrate women leaders, both students and executives. I have many reasons for this pattern, both personal and professional. The short version is that I am at my best when surrounded by strong women, starting back when I was a child looking up to my Mom.
Recently I have been reflecting on masculinity, my own and what we see in society, and even written and presented about toxic masculinity. It has occurred to me, and many others, that certain forms of masculinity contribute to misguided and harmful uses of power including but absolutely not limited to sexual assault.
While there is much progress that we must make, it also occurred to me that in addition to the amazing women in my life, I have outstanding male mentors and role models whom I should celebrate. Here are a few of them:
- My father, Bob, who taught me how to commit to family, work, and community, and demonstrated that you don’t have to be either an academic or a practitioner! He did both, and did them well!
- My high school lacrosse coach, Gary, who showed me how to lead with a gentle and caring voice.
- My brother Jim, and my partner in crime for Mt Kilimanjaro, Jay, who embody courage to make tough choices about work and life.
- My high school friends and fraternity brothers, among them Tom, Scott, Dave, Keith, Tish, Stollman, and many others, who helped me understand friendship and support in its varied forms.
- My health coach, TJ, for challenging me to think holistically about health.
- My retired colleague and mentor, Tom Rocklin, for proving that kindness and strategic action can and should go hand-in-hand.
Thanks to all the women in my life who lift me up and challenge me to be better, and to these men (and others) who teach me how to navigate this world in courageous ways that celebrate and lift up everyone.
Reflecting on these people has helped me feel better about the world. Who are your mentors and role models? What have they taught you?