INT 009: Education and the Path to the C-Suite

Michelle Johnston, Linda Yates, IntHERrupt

More and more women are landing in leadership roles at the university level, and Dr. Michelle Johnston shares her leadership experiences and her journey of education and the path to the C-suite. Michelle’s career journey is a bit accidental for her. While she loved teaching from a very early age, this passion didn’t really come true until she became the President of the College of Coastal Georgia and previously the president of a university in Ohio. 

The path to the C-suite

  • The work of leadership in administrative roles in campuses is an opportunity to be connected to students and serve educational missions at the same time. 
  • It’s important to embrace the loss of something you are truly passionate about. It opens the door for you to love and invest in other things. The loss is a natural part when moving from one role to another. 
  • In her role, Michelle always had people who encouraged her. It’s important to find the people who will walk you through the process and encourage you along the way. They are your sounding board. 
  • One of the most important parts of leadership is listening. In that vein, being interrupted has always been part of the process of growth. 
  • Being interrupted allows for challenges to come your way, without challenges your mind won’t work and look for solutions. You need to stretch yourself and your abilities to figure out how to do things effectively. 

Have the right attitude to success

  • Michelle encourages persistence. Don’t give up on the kind of leadership you want. Be positive, persistent, and patient. You can’t be just positive, just persistent, and just patient. You need to embody all three. 
  • As a person with goals, you need to assess what path leads you to your success. If that is college, then do it. If you think self-study and connecting with women and leaders in the organization will help you, then do that. There is no one concrete path for all. Everyone will have to take their own path. 
  • Education comes in many forms and shapes. 
  • It’s only through interconnection, working with each other, and helping each other that you can become a success in your leadership role. 

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