Message from Dr. Belinda S. Miles: A special kind of L.O.V.E. – January 14, 2019
In last week’s message, we celebrated the New Year with the perspective of serving others. This week, as we mourn the loss of Carol Ann Zavarella-Vasta, who exemplified what it means to care about students and colleagues alike, our caring turns inward as a community united in sorrow, remembrance, and hope.
Carol Ann was a strong leader: she mastered her work and used her mastery to teach and guide others with kindness and approachability. She made immeasurable contributions to the college, not only in students served, but also in setting the example for uncompromising willingness to act and get the job done. We will miss her dearly.
Earlier this week in a gathering of our Executive Action Leadership Team (EXALT), we discussed leadership in terms of an acronym, “L.O.V.E.,” which stands for Letting Others’ Vitality Emerge. This notion relates to concepts found in Robert Staub’s book, The Seven Acts of Courage, where he explains one of the acts as the “courage to be vulnerable; to love” involving leaders who care enough about developing others that they get out of the way and allow the talent of others to manifest without taking over. This may make the more experienced leader feel vulnerable watching another explore new territory. It requires that the leader balance stepping in with the “best” or “right” way of doing things with allowing others to grow through struggle, trial and error, or mastery developed independently.
Carol Ann practiced this type of leadership in her guidance of students and colleagues just as we all do when we create spaces where others shine as they learn and hone new competencies. Special thanks to those who shined during the extraordinary memorial for Carol Ann. I believe that this event will be long remembered as one of the defining events of Westchester Community College.
With warmest regards,
Dr. Belinda S. Miles