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Ujima Donalson

A Note from Ujima Donalson,
POD Director

As leaders, we’re likely to receive countless unexpected "gifts" that we can’t refuse or return and must accept as graciously as possible. It may be a key staff member announcing early retirement, a budget report that blows holes in our two-year plan, or some other change-initiating missive. My calling these "gifts" is only partly tongue-in-cheek. The truth is that every unexpected event provides opportunities for growth; the trick is remembering that when it feels like the ground is shifting beneath our feet.

As the saying goes, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. When we receive unwelcome news or are faced with adversity at work or at home, it tests our mettle. Nelson Mandela had his mettle tested more than most could withstand, and as pointed out in our feature article below, his capacity for self-reflection was crucial to his survival and success. Read more

"With Mr. Mandela, we see leadership that’s measured by how much one has done for others, NOT by how much one has achieved for himself." ~ Robert Tanning

Jamie Wilson

Learning From Mandela
Jamie Wilson, Senior Communications Specialist, POD

Few would have blamed Nelson Mandela had he emerged from twenty-seven years of imprisonment a defeated and embittered man; instead, he was able to overcome the past—his own and his country’s—and negotiate with the all-white government to end apartheid and hold the first democratic elections in South Africa. Although most of us probably feel far-removed from such an iconic leader and his historic achievements, even the most ordinary of leaders can benefit from honing three attributes that contributed to Mandela’s success: self-mastery, empathy, and pragmatic idealism.


"He was prudent, with an evident self-mastery. He demonstrated unquestioned integrity, mastering rather than being overcome by his lengthy incarceration and the inhumanity and indignity associated with many of its aspects" (Rotberg). Read more

"When there is danger, a good leader takes the front line; but when there is celebration, a good leader stays in the back of the room." ~ Nelson Mandela

Linda Callecod

UW Perspectives: What Makes a Leader Truly Great

In January, thinking about the recent passing of Nelson Mandela and the approaching Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we asked several UW leaders "What makes a leader truly great? What have you admired about a public figure—Mandela, King, or someone else—that has inspired you, or that you aspire to, as a leader?"

"A truly great leader creates a vision, and then inspires others to share and achieve that vision by stepping toward the destination, extending a hand, and saying, ‘Join me.’ Great leaders listen more than they speak, ask more than they tell, and do more than they say. In the hands of a true leader, power is a tool rather than a weapon; it is used to build, not destroy. Great leadership is knowing that you stand in the front when there are challenges to be faced and in the back when there are compliments and awards to be bestowed. Mandela, Mother Theresa, Gandhi, Lincoln—these were people of passion and compassion, humility and civility. They have had strong principles from which they never wavered, and a willingness to do what was right rather than what was popular."

~ Azita Emami, Dean, UW School of Nursing Read more

"He was an idealist without naiveté, a compromiser without being compromised." ~ Bono on Mandela


Support Your Staff With the Spring Retreat

POD is once again thrilled to offer the Support Professionals Spring Retreat on Tuesday, April 22, in conjunction with Administrative Professionals Week (April 20-26). We believe there is no better reward—and no better way of saying "thanks"—than showing your staff that you’re invested in their development. The retreat offers numerous opportunities for personal growth and professional development, along with treating administrative professionals to a relaxing day with the great food and beautiful waterfront setting offered by Bell Harbor International Conference Center.

This year, participants will be able to choose from a total of nine workshops—one of three in the morning, after lunch, and in the afternoon—as well as an optional lunch-time session. Topics include influence, negotiation skills, dealing with difficult people and situations, and increasing your energy. Past retreat participants have expressed a great deal of appreciation for Bell Harbor and its amenities. Our hope is that this facility will be large enough to accommodate all who wish to attend this year, but we encourage you to act quickly before spaces fill!

Visit our Spring Retreat website for more information.

Professional & Organizational Development, Box 359487, Seattle, WA 98105
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