Sandy Fales is a UCCS graduate, Quad Alumni, current Research Fellow as well as Project Manager on our El Paso County Public Health Food Access Team.
What does it look like to be a leader? Am I a leader? What qualifies?
These are questions I asked myself when Beka, our Associate Director, suggested that I take a turn writing our weekly Leadership Thoughts post. Me? Really? I was scratching my head at the prospect and it forced to me really think about the topic.
When people think of the word Leadership, I think the majority envision suits, dresses, high class meetings, Presidents and CEO’s. If you know me, you know that I am none of these. I mean, I try to wear my Chuck Taylors to work as much as possible. How do I qualify to be a leader? The more I thought about it and connected the pieces, the more I saw that perhaps I was a leader afterall.
My official title with the Quad is Research Fellow. I take on projects for area businesses and organizations completing scope work for them. However, over the past seven months, my title and the work associated with it has transformed into something else. Yes, the main portion of my work involves research and crafting solutions to meet deliverable outcomes however, a new element has been added this semester. I have morphed in the Project Manager for the El Paso County Public Health Food Access project.
My previous experience with project management has been within my own small business as well as managing COS Job Day for the Chamber & EDC. Jake and Beka, the directors of the Quad have entrusted me with the ultimate, managing one of our consulting teams. From application selection to conducting interviews, weekly team management. as well as client interfacing. They give me the freedom to do it all. To be honest, it feels good. It feels really good.
For those of you who are not familiar with my story. I was a student on our Social Services Access Project, Spring 2018, and now I work full time for the Quad spearheading projects on my own and managing students. It has come full circle and it could not feel better.
So to answer my own question, I guess I am a leader. The harder I thought about it, the more I discovered that I have been a leader all along. I am a leader to my children, my animals, my friends, family, strangers. Leading by example. By holding a door open. By saying thank you. By showing compassion and love.
It doesn’t take a suit and tie, a management position, fancy boardrooms or a title to make you a leader. If you help others in their journey through life, you are a leader. A Shepard through the maze. A light.