Leaders cannot lose sight of the importance of fostering an inclusive and equitable work culture, even during a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic.
That’s one of the key takeaways from “Leadership in the Time of COVID-19,” an essay written by Ball State University Provost Susana Rivera-Mills and published in the ADVANCE Journal. ADVANCE publishes peer-reviewed articles about inclusion, equity and justice in higher education.
According to Provost Rivera-Mills, inclusivity and equity are among the most important values for decision-making during a crisis, along with courage, accountability, shared governance, and transparency.
“As a Latina, my experience comes from years of strategically navigating structures that were not created for women of color,” she wrote. “My goal has been to educate others, learn by listening to their diverse experiences, influence positive change with each opportunity to leverage my position, and elevate the voices of those who are not always included in decision-making.”
Rivera-Mills ended the essay by pointing out that the burden of caregiving for children or elderly family members fell disproportionately on the shoulders of women during the pandemic. Women in leadership, she wrote, must remember to care for themselves, too.
“We tell ourselves that this too shall pass and then, and only then, will we take a break,” she wrote. “But this pace is untenable and unsustainable.”
Read the full essay on the ADVANCE Journal website.