Congratulations to the ELAM Class of 2014 on an exceptional year. The class graduated on May 1, and we were honored to have Page Morahan and Rosalyn Richman serve as our graduation speakers. What follows is Diane Magrane’s introduction of these two icons, and both of their moving addresses.
Welcome to the graduation ceremony of ELAM’s 19th class. I am honored to introduce our graduation speakers, the founders of this program, Page S. Morahan and Rosalyn R. Richman. Here is what you need to know: whether you refer to them as Page ‘n' Roz or Roz ‘n' Page, they are a team. These two leaders gave birth to ELAM.
They nurtured the program in its early years, held it together through school mergers and bankruptcy, and grew our community. Page studied it, published outcomes and process and essentially built an academic pedigree for the program. Roz collected and connected deans and alumnae into this incredible community of over 800 alumnae and as many supporters around the world. These two women launched many of us into leadership, and, in bad times, picked us up and rebooted us.
As we follow their respective retirements (from Drexel, likely never from ELAM), it is reassuring to have them with us and fitting that they should address this class as we enter a period of celebrating 20 years of ELAM as a force in advancing academic leadership in medicine, dentistry and public health.
Page will first describe important milestones in ELAM’s history; Roz will bridge from that into messages for leaders.
ELAM: What have we learned? What do we still dream?
Reflecting over my years with ELAM, I see four key learning points in our success, and I still have one dream for the future!
The Key Learning Points
First: We designed ELAM to be both a practical program AND theory-based, in order to be fully grounded. The practical was based on: (1) my own experience as a department chair, NIH researcher, and newly appointed associate provost for faculty affairs, (2) two leadership development programs I had attended, (3) a few education courses, and being on the curriculum design team for a school’s problem based curriculum, and adding to this, (4) the input of our advisory committee and needs assessment of men and women leaders.
The theoretical foundation came as I in essence reinvented my “hard science” self into an education designer, implementer, and evaluator, a leadership development professional, and a feminist theory and women’s advancement scholar! In effect, I think I got another degree in these “soft sciences” if you put it all together! AND, I have ended up directing or being a core committee member for at least five doctoral degree students in education!
The second learning point for ELAM’s success — also related to curriculum — is twofold:
- We learned it was vitally important to “stay the course.” A flaw I see among academic health centers is that we over-value the “new” and “novel” and devalue sustaining an effort with continuous quality improvement. Some elements of ELAM have remained pretty constant over the years: cohort, repeated meetings, experiential learning in a safe setting, learning circles, curriculum emphasis on finance and organizational dynamics, self-understanding with MBTI and Benchmarks, just to name a few!
- The polarity of this is: Be open to adjustment and change for the evolving environment. There have been SO many examples of this for ELAM! Revising the curriculum to meet the sometimes abrupt changes in the U.S. academic health system. Adding technology: on a historical note, in the 1995-1996 inaugural class, we had an assignment for each fellow to get an email address and join our listserv. By the end of the year, one fellow (remember, these were from major universities with medical schools) was not able to complete this assignment! How far we have come with all of you having smartphones, iPads, etc.!
The third point is research and evaluation to document the effectiveness of a novel endeavor such as ELAM and discover how women learn and exhibit leadership. This came pretty naturally to me, with my PhD research mental model, experience in the grant getting game, and publishing.
- I felt it was ESSENTIAL to show that this program, from little Medical College of Pennsylvania, was effective in as rigorous a fashion as we could, given the constraints of not being able to conduct the randomized experimental designs that I was used to with mice!
- By necessity, I have become an evaluation researcher! And I have fostered this type of research in AAMC’s Group on Faculty Affairs.
- By the end of 2015 I hope that we will have produced a large body of research that will support ELAM’s endeavors for the next decade. Keep looking at the website where we list all our publications!
The final learning point for ELAM came gradually. Roz and I realized that we needed to add more connections between classes and services for our alumnae. We recognized this was an absolute necessity.
- While it is necessary, it is NOT sufficient to just help women into leadership roles.
- We ALSO need to sustain women in leadership, so we can get to a stable critical mass of women leaders. Our research showing that women deans have shorter tenures than men deans attests to this crucial issue.
- Thus, we helped bring executive coaching into the academic health center world, and created what we call the “continuum of leadership” framework.
The Bottom Line and My Wish for the Future
Roz and I are delighted with where ELAM has grown and come. We are glad we built the capacity so that ELAM could successfully traverse a major milestone (and often pitfall) when we transitioned to Diane Magrane as new leader, along with expanding to ICELA and ELATE.
My wish for the future is that we:
- Continue to follow those key points, combining practicality with theory in ELAM’s design, adapting to changing environment and needs, and documenting and contributing to the field through research.
- My final wish is that we will all support you as alumnae, so that as a group — a community of practice of women leaders — we can really change the culture of U.S. academic health centers to value women leaders and their contributions equally to men. We still have a ways to go!
More Learnings…and How YOU Pass Along the Dream
Here you are — our 19th class — extending ELAM to some 825 women; enriching more than 200 medical, dental, and public health schools and other institutions; preparing to share your leadership knowledge and experiences with colleagues; considering how and where to BE a leader among leaders; pondering new options for yourself, and moving all women closer to equality and parity in the academic health workforce.
Each of you has a gift of leadership. Now what?
Know it! Use it! Share it! Value it! Replenish it!
Know It: When you first assembled, if you were like the previous 18 classes, you looked around and wondered what you were doing among this group of brilliant and accomplished women. In conversations with one another and with faculty, ELAM graduates, and others, you became more aware of your own particular strengths and skills — beyond your office or clinic or lab: your leadership niche.
Have you noticed the remarkable changes in your appearance and voice since you first came to ELAM last September? You stand taller, walk more assuredly, speak more mindfully by the spring session. You FEEL IT. You EMBRACE IT. You KNOW IT.
Use It: Your project assignments apply class lessons and readings to real-life situations. In completing them, a second, equally important ELAM objective also is met: raising your visibility in your institution. If planned and implemented strategically, your Institutional Action Project is serving as an effective vehicle for reinforcing and extending your class learnings while showcasing your burgeoning leadership skills.
After graduation, ELUMs find many ways to continue applying what they’ve learned during the program. Use your enhanced leadership skills at your own institution, wherever your responsibility areas lie. Create partnerships with other ELUMs from your learning community, class, disciplinary society or school, to bring these lessons to a new audience. Use cross-institutional projects, grand rounds lectures, and global activities to spread your “wealth.” For instance, the Pleiades Learning Community has held a faculty development program every year since its graduation in 2009, rotating the site among their home institutions. Afterward, like many other LCs, they hold a weekend retreat for their own professional and personal development.
Share It: Everyone will be watching and listening back at home for signs of what’s changed about you as a result of your leadership journey. Some deans ask returning ELUMs to present to their cabinet or the faculty. If your dean doesn’t, you might consider offering to do that. Sharing is also part of what’s expected by your coworkers, family members, and others who took on extra work in your absences. In a way, they’ve invested in you just as your dean has, and they, too, await the benefits that you can bring. You might demonstrate or use a specific tool or technique — such as MBTI, Benchmarks, or Tops, Middles & Bottoms — to enhance the effectiveness of your office, department, committee or work team.
Move out of your comfort zone…or stretch your comfort zone to encompass broader platforms. You don’t have to accept every opportunity to speak, serve on a committee or take on a new responsibility (especially if it’s not a fit with your strategic career plan). Remember, one of ELAM’s “pearls” is learning to say “No.”
Value It: Beyond owning your leadership, recognize its value. There are contributions that only you can make, that will make a difference. This is the value that you bring to your organization, your community, your discipline. Whether it’s a cutting-edge therapy, an innovative teaching method, a groundbreaking partnership or far-reaching policy, your leadership can create the path.
ELUMs have embraced leadership with new roles and titles. Titles, though, are just one merit badge of leadership. You have the expertise and the experience to carve your own leadership niche in any and every arena in which you work…or serve. Whether guiding your Action Project to realization, steering institutional or organizational committees, or building models of achievement-oriented work groups, you have the power and ability to lead.
Replenish It: Learning is continuous, ongoing and lifelong. It must be practiced, reflected on, reinforced, occasionally challenged, and replenished. ELAM graduation is not the end…rather, it’s another beginning. We’ve created multiple ways to keep you connected with your LC, your class, and other ELUMs who form the ELAM peer leaders community.
In closing, I encourage you to make good use of these connections. Read the ELAM Edge’s position openings. When your institution is conducting a leadership search, you might be able to identify just the right person for the job. Or you might BE the right person for a search. And don’t overlook the leadership articles it highlights, culled from the best newsletters. Every other year, ELAM holds an advanced professional development program for ELUMs. The last was in San Antonio, starting when your winter session ended. The next will be held in January 2016 in Durham, NC, and will mark ELAM’s 20th anniversary. Look for the dates…put them on your calendar…and renew yourself with ELAM and ELUMs!
Mahatma Gandhi once said (slightly modified here):
“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a [person] changes [her] own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards [her].…We need not wait to see what others do."
Congratulations, ELAM Class of 2014!!! We can’t wait to see what YOU do!!! Until we’re together again, may every day bring you good health, learning adventures, challenges and rewards.