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The LeaderSHPE View, 3rd Edition


Hello again, Familia! And welcome to the third edition of The LeaderSHPE View!

Even more than usual, I’ve got leadership on my mind. 

It makes sense, I guess, since August is the month for leadership at SHPE. We kicked things off with NILA’s President Summit from the 3-7th, held our first Familia Meeting introducing our next Board Chair, Fernando Paz on the 15th, and we’re wrapping up the month with the launch of our new podcast, SHPE Out Loud – where we amplify the voices of Hispanic leaders in STEM. 

I find this topic so important because I believe that increasing the number of Hispanics in STEM careers just isn’t enough. To see true change and realize all the benefits of diversity, we need to see Hispanics at the highest levels of decision making and strategy setting. This is how we transform the industry and our collective futures.

Encouraging our members to develop their leadership skills and find their unique approach is one of my favorite parts of this job! And there is no shortage of styles out there. Finding what you personally align with is a critical part of being the best and most effective leader you can be. I’ll use myself as an example. 

In my last essay, I spoke about my own personal leadership philosophy – Grit, Grace, & Grillin’. However, as I leaned into it more and more, I found myself needing a proven framework to drive execution. Ultimately, it was by combining three popular leadership styles – Inclusive, Authentic, and Enterprise – that I created the right recipe to deploy my philosophy on an organizational level and effectively lead SHPE. I define them as follows:

  • Inclusive Leadership – This method is for individuals who are aware of their own biases. They actively seek out and consider different perspectives to inform their decision-making and collaborate more effectively with others.
  • Authentic Leadership – This approach emphasizes being genuine, open, and honest. Authentic leaders build authentic relationships and inspire trust and motivation in their employees. They practice self-awareness, balanced processing, relational transparency, and integrity.
  • Enterprise Leadership – This style addresses the ever changing social, political, and business landscapes your organization is operating in. It focuses on performing while transforming, ultimately resolving the tension between profit and purpose.These leaders understand that to accomplish this, top-down directives will not work. It is now a team sport.

For me, it was exploring, practicing, and integrating all three of these models that helped me find an overarching style that embraced Grace, Grit & Grillin’ and worked for my staff.

And this tracks. In today’s environment you have to be rounded. Enterprise accounts for the business side – growing membership, increasing corporate partnerships, diversifying revenue,  and upping event attendance. But the workforce expects more than impressive metrics and financial success. They are demanding environments that actively promote and foster inclusivity and authenticity, and offer maximum work/life balance. These have become key factors in employee retention. 

All for good reason! Enterprise might publicly “show” DEI, but if it is not backed by a leader who upholds inclusivity and authenticity, it will just be “diversity theater.” And there’s nothing transformative about that. Thus these three styles are truly complementary and collectively take care of BOTH the employee/volunteer workforce and the organization. They are the embodiment of grit & grace. 

I hope this gives y’all something to reflect on with regards to formulating your own leadership path. But regardless of what resonates with you, be sure to leverage your strengths, be true to your values, and consider the needs of your team. 

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ll be offering more examples, insights, and personal reflections about all of this on my LinkedIn. Please check it out and follow if you want to explore these styles further! And if you haven’t already, please check out SHPE Out Loud on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts!

Until next time, take good care, Familia!

Chris Wilkie