LaDawn Jones, the military coordinator and interim advising director at OU Extended Campus, recently completed her appointment to the 2019-2020 OU President’s Leadership Council.
The Leadership Council is an annual leadership development program designed to engage high-performing, high-potential, mid-level or director-level university leaders on the Norman campus. Individuals chosen for the Leadership Council maintain a high level of responsibility for university programs and people, show a strong commitment to their own professional development and are personally motivated to improve their teams.
“The greatest thing about the Leadership Council is that you are entering a network of other leaders at the university,” Jones said. “I now have a class full of partners — and all of the classes before 2019-2020 — to brainstorm, network and collaborate with.”
The eight-month program was designed to help Jones and her fellow participants enhance their leadership skills by forming close relationships with other campus leaders and volunteering in the community, while preparing them to meet new challenges.
“I applied for three years to be a part of the Leadership Council,” she said. “I feel that for emerging leaders at the university, participation in the President’s Leadership Council is a must!”
For Jones, the appointment to the Leadership Council came at the perfect time. She had just taken on the position of Interim Advising Director with OU Extended Campus and credits the program for helping her develop a plan for hiring three positions for the advising and military departments and creating a new team.
“It also helped me to see that, at the very foundation, leading people is simply caring—caring about the mission of the team and the greater mission of the organization."
“The team-building and leadership assignments were perfect for onboarding new team members and solidifying our team,” she said. “I don’t know that any of the concepts were new, but being able to put them into action in a new position couldn’t have been better. The skills that I developed, adapted and learned helped me to create a welcoming team environment where everyone has a voice.”
Leadership Council also helped Jones to feel competent and confident in her leadership.
“It also helped me to see that, at the very foundation, leading people is simply caring,” she said, “caring about the mission of the team and the greater mission of the organization. Caring about the people. I care about their wellbeing in and outside of the job at hand. To care about their development, and where they see themselves long-term.
“Being a leader is helping the team members, the team and the organization get to their destination. I feel privileged being a part of something bigger than myself.”
Jones learned to understand her unique leadership style, as well as the importance of communicating in ways that others can easily understand.
“I fall somewhere between a servant leader and a transformational leader,” she said. “Through this experience, I’ve had the privilege of watching my team not only grow together, but also as reliable liaisons to our students and other departments within OU Extended Campus and the university at large.”
Jones is excited for the future and the opportunity to work with her new network of peers across campus to implement new ideas and activities that will propel her career, her team, their mission and the mission of OU Extended Campus to new heights.
“If you have the opportunity to attend the President’s Leadership Council, I highly recommend doing so,” she said. “It’s rewarding on a deep level, and the skills that you come away with are invaluable. I am a better person, team member and leader because of the experience.”
For more information about what the Leadership Council has to offer, visit the OU Leadership Council page on the Human Resources website.