The LeaderSHPE View, Part 2 – June 2022

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

Today I’m going to introduce a philosophy that informs much of my leadership and organizational approaches. It’s a lens with which I look through often – whether I am considering a substantial strategic move organizationally, or negotiating with my 10-year-old daughter.

As y’all have probably figured out by now, I’m from Texas – born and raised. And sometimes the phrasing I find normal, might seem quaint or folksy to those living outside of the South. Now that I represent a national organization like SHPE, I find myself translating these otherwise common Texas sayings.

At the same time, it would be a mistake to think that the Lone Star State has not been drastically influenced by Hispanic culture. In fact, Latinos and Hispanics make up nearly 40% of the Texas population. Their contributions can be seen in every industry and way of life. So while the language I use might not indicate a Spanish origin, the values and concepts they represent certainly do.

So back to this philosophy of mine. I call it Grit, Grace & Grillin’.

Now grit and grace are words used frequently in our day to day lives, but you usually hear them referred to separately. They are seemingly diametrically opposed ideas. But I find that the tension they create when used together constitutes a perfect balance of toughness and tenderness.

To be honest, there is nothing regarding grit that I can teach SHPE members, because much of what I have recently learned about the meaning of this word has come from them. The tenacity, perseverance, and resilience our students and professionals employ to achieve their dreams and change our communities is inspiring. What I hope to encourage, however, is how they can utilize this muscle to further their STEM careers and become the leaders our industry needs.

And grace? Well, grace is showing kindness when someone is struggling, makes a mistake, or fails to meet expectations. And you know what? That someone can be you. The pressure to succeed – to get that internship, to pass that class – can be intense. Grace is about believing you did your best given the circumstances. Grace is also about extending that belief to others. Grace is ultimately about leading with empathy and compassion.

I believe as leaders, no matter what area of life we are talking about, we have a responsibility to deliver a profound experience of growth, success, and happiness to those we serve. Approaching each situation with grit and grace helps me do this.

Finally, let’s talk about grillin. I love food. I love the art of cooking, the combination of flavors, and the feeling of kinship it brings to any situation. When you’re at my table, you’re family! And when I tackle a recipe, I find that it is the perfect place to practice employing grit and offering grace. Sometimes the preparation is long and exhausting. Sometimes the technique requires careful finesse. But the end result is always an achievement we can share and celebrate together.

Y’all, Grit, Grace & Grillin’ has made me a better leader, coworker, father, and friend. I use these combined theories every day at SHPE, and I look forward to showing you how over the next few months.

As I mentioned in the last edition of The LeaderSHPE View, 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 more! Oh, and there will be food. Lots of food!

Until next time, take good care, Familia!

Chris Wilkie

The LeaderSHPE View – June 2022

Hello Familia! And welcome to the first edition of The LeaderSHPE View!

You may be familiar with the CEO Corner articles that were published once a month under Raquel and Miguel’s tenure. Similarly, after six months in my new role as CEO, I am eager to start communicating more directly with members and stakeholders about the state of SHPE, current events, organizational vision, and even some personal thoughts and philosophies.

But I want to make sure you are hearing not only from me, but other leaders from SHPE’s executive team. So The LeaderSHPE View is an avenue to start publishing key organizational voices in a more casual way. Our goal is to keep you – our members, supporters, and advocates – informed while giving you real insight into the incredible people behind SHPE’s C-suite. We are so excited for y’all to get to know us better!

And this monthly column is just one part of an overall executive communications strategy. As you may have heard, we are starting a podcast in July! I’ll be interviewing industry experts and featuring member stories on a monthly basis. We aim to provide enlightening and inspirational content that will help bring your STEM journey to the next level. We believe Hispanics belong at the highest levels of leadership in our corporate and academic institutions, and SHPE wants to get you there with real-life examples of success.

We’ll also continue to hold our quarterly Town Halls – or, as we’ll be calling them moving forward, Familia Meetings. We’ll use this forum to solicit feedback and thoughts from our members on important issues and current events relevant to SHPE. While we’ll usually feature a brief presentation from a SHPE staff or board member, we’ll always have a Q&A component so that we can hear directly from you. Keep an eye out for digital invitations on our socials and emails, and make sure you RSVP.

Lastly, if you’re interested in more personal, opinion-based, fun content, please connect with me on LinkedIn. I’ll be digging deeper into the concepts presented here, on The LeaderSHPE View, and as discussed on our podcast. I’ll also be posting about some of my favorite things, and as a self-proclaimed foodie, you know there’s going to be good eats. I’ve got some grilling recipes that will blow your mind! And I’ll be responding directly to comments and questions on these posts, hopefully opening up a more free flowing dialog between me and our members. I truly look forward to these conversations to come!

Now that I’ve given you a sense of what to expect from your executive team moving forward, I’m going to already deviate from this carefully laid-out plan. While The LeaderSHPE View will usually be published on a monthly schedule, in June there will be two! So, check out our June 29th SHPE Nation issue for the next installment where y’all will learn a little more about my personal leadership philosophy, and why I think it compliments SHPE’s mission so well.

Until then, take good care, Familia!

Chris Wilkie