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10 Leadership Reflections from 30,000 Feet

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  1. Remembering to pause: whether it's going outside for 15 minutes for a walk; sitting with a non-work friend over coffee; laughing. Life isn't all work.

  2. Understanding my organization's origin story: Acknowledging the work, gifts, and goals of those who came before me, while moving forward in a world that's changed and changing, and creating a way to make the two work together.

  3. Listening: Spending part of every day, not waiting to speak, but actually listening.

  4. Remembering not to judge: Trying to make my go-to be to understand, to empathize, and to be present rather than to judge.

  5. Acknowledging accomplishments: You've all probably read about Anne's accomplishment jar. I am thinking about creating a team accomplishment jar where our program can acknowledge its best moments over the course of the year. Some times it does take a village.

  6. Making my observations my obligation: Standing up for injustice, for inequity, for the minor--the constant interrupter in staff meetings who rides herd over more reserved colleagues--to the major--the colleague who's bullied or harassed.

  7. Looking for the through-lines, whether in history, race, gender, environment and class: I work with a collection created by white men in a different age, for a different age. I need to re-center, educate, and through acquisition bring community and collection into alignment.

  8. Give back to the field: In many ways I've been very, very lucky. I've managed to make a living, to use my imagination, to work in beautiful places, surrounded by interesting collections. I must always give back, pay it forward, and help those following behind.

  9. Make sure everyone's at the table: From the board to the front-line staff, make sure we represent our communities. And then do my best to make sure all voices are heard equitably, whether in an exhibition or a staff meeting.

  10. Values permeate the workplace too: While values are important in the front of the house--see #7--they are also important in our workspaces. Leaders content to ignore inequitable pay and benefits are leaders perpetuating the worst kind of patriarchal system. See #6. Your list may be different, but I hope you have one. Having one fuels forward movement and change. Yours from 30,000 feet. Joan Baldwin

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