Published: May 23, 2019

Silhouette of Old Main with sunset in backgroundAround 130 CU Boulder leaders from the Academic Affairs, Advancement, and Strategic Resources and Support divisions came together in a May 13 workshop to learn the art of cultivating inclusive leadership.

Convened by the Office of Faculty Relations in partnership with Human Resources and Organizational and Employee Development, and jointly sponsored by Provost Russell Moore and Senior Vice Chancellor Kelly Fox, the workshop was led by Brenda J. Allen, former vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion at the CU Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus and former CU Boulder assistant professor of communication.

“Leadership is a process of social influence which maximizes the efforts of others toward the achievement of a greater goal,” Allen said in the workshop’s opening segment.  

The workshop then began a focus on inclusive leadership as a permanent resource that Allen said “needs to be cultivated.”

She laid out a pathway for that cultivation built on what she termed “the six signature traits of inclusive leadership: commitment, courage, cognizance of bias, curiosity, cultural intelligence and collaboration.”

The end result of applying the six traits, she said, is that all individuals and communities can say “I feel included.”

The workshop had participants break out in role-playing cohorts to examine the six traits of inclusive leadership, focusing on the “why” of cultivating inclusive leadership, applying the six traits to leadership practices and then developing individual action plans for themselves as inclusive leaders.

“The event provided an opportunity for campus leaders to have a collective conversation about the critical role of leadership in creating the inclusive campus community we strive for,” said Merna Jacobsen, assistant vice chancellor and deputy chief HR officer and director of Organizational and Employee Development.

Provost Russ Moore and Senior Vice Chancellor Kelly Fox sounded out similar themes.

“This was a great moment of progress for the campus today,” said Moore. “With Dr. Allen’s inspiration, a key group of campus leaders made a personal commitment to inclusive leadership and sketched out a roadmap to take that work forward into their respective units and organizations.”

Fox said, “Building a culture in which our leadership models and builds capacity for inclusivity is a requirement and an important measure of our success as a campus. I am looking forward to continuing this work in the fall with the passion, commitment and imagination I saw today.”