When Dr. Melik Peter Khoury became president of Unity College, he immediately began working on flattening the administrative structure, eliminating dysfunctional hierarchies, and empowering accountable leaders — especially from within — to better influence mission-aligned strategic decisions. The model, called “leadership in abundance,” ensured Unity’s senior-level team would share responsibility for meeting strategic institutional goals, serving students, and stewarding the college’s mission.
Earlier this month, Dr. Rana Johnson, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Dr. Erika Latty, Chief Academic Officer; and Jennifer deHart, Chief Sustainability Officer, presented an insider’s look at not only how to create an abundant leadership team, but also what it’s like to work for one, at the Women in Leadership Higher Education Conference hosted by the National Diversity Congress at the Harvard Faculty Club in Cambridge, Mass.
“As we see more women in executive leadership positions, although they remain a small percentage of the chief executive workforce, it is critical for female leaders to better understand the value of innovation and diversity in the workplace while also comprehending the challenges with realizing top executive roles,” said Dr. Latty. “This conference presents a unique opportunity to have such a discussion with peers from around the country.”
“This was an incredible opportunity, and it is yet another example of the world taking notice of the strength of leadership at Unity College,” said Dr. Khoury. “That means that higher education leaders from all across the country — including Texas A&M, the University of Tennessee, Drexel, Auburn, and many more — heard the story of Unity College, and may very well implement pieces of our model into their own leadership structure.”
“It was an honor to represent Unity College at the highly coveted National Diversity Congress Women in Leadership Conference. Each of our unique perspectives was represented in the presentations,” said Dr. Johnson. “Our presentation enabled us to use heuristics to showcase our background, education, and areas of expertise to empower the conference attendees to mentor the next generation of female leaders.”
“It was exciting to meet dozens of other women leaders who came together to share ideas at this prestigious conference,” added deHart. “We represented the College and our functional areas of academics, sustainability, and diversity – I think that combination intrigued our peer leaders from other institutions.”
The National Diversity Congress is dedicated to providing resources for advocating increased diversity and a better understanding of how to combat sexism, racism, heterosexism, ageism, and ableism in the workplace.