Beka Adair is the Associate Director of the Quad Innovation Partnership. She comes to us as a graduate of Colorado College. As Project Manager for every project that runs through our doors, Beka wears a superhero cape on a daily basis as she guides students to create amazing outcomes for our partners.
Admit what you don’t know, learn what you can, ask what you can’t. We go through this process over and over again at the Quad. With each new project, we have more unknowns, new groups of people, and more opportunities to allow our teams to come up with answers on their own. This process isn’t usually smooth. In all 4 of the projects this past semester, there were times of excitement, anxiety, hopelessness, and triumph. This is what happens when very different people come together to do important work. Solving complex problems that affect the community involves making hard decisions. Each team had moments where they realized they had just as much capability to solve the problem as anyone else in the professional world. Each team member had moments where they lead, where they followed, and where they tried something on their own.
Good leaders empower people to utilize their own strengths. This is at the core of what we do at the Quad. We want everyone who works with us to figure out new pieces of their own strengths, and to have the space and resources to build on them. Experience matters, experience will always matter, but in this new age of ever accessible information, every person has the chance to learn whatever they need to in order to succeed. Never done a financial analysis before? We had a student this past semester who taught herself how using YouTube. She worked through it as much as she could, projected to the best of her abilities, and then brought in an expert to help her the rest of the way. That’s leadership. It’s trusting in your own judgement enough to learn, take a stab at it, and then being humble enough to bring in an expert to add what only experience can. Then you do it all over again. Each time you go through this process you become more of an expert yourself. You’re making the hard decisions, uncovering your strengths in the process, and creating marketable skills.
At the Quad we encourage our students to make decisions and to develop their own strengths, especially when they don’t have much experience. Make the decision, and if it’s not the best one, learn from it and move onto the next one. This is where the growth happens. Admit what you don’t know, learn what you can, ask what you can’t.