ODI staff awarded
leadership certificates

ODI staff awarded<br>leadership certificates

Recently, Jacob Gillam, Program Manager for the Ohio State ATI Upward Bound Program, and Colby Taylor, Program Manager for Administration/Special Programs, received the John Glenn College of Public Affairs Certificate in Public and Nonprofit Leadership. Additionally, Colby Taylor was selected by his cohort of professionals across the state to speak on behalf of the class at graduation.

Jacob Gilliam
Jacob GIllam

Colby Taylor
Colby Taylor

The four-course, six-credit, professional development program is designed for working professionals to strengthen their management and leadership abilities. The program is cohort-based and is structure to be completed in 14 in-class sessions held at The Ohio State University.

How has the program strengthened your management and leadership skills?

Jacob Gillam: The John Glenn certificate program provided me with regular intervals to reflect and plan as I navigated the personal and professional changes accompanying a shift from a mission-facing role to a managerial and supervisory role in my program. The readings were particularly useful because they helped me unpack the received wisdom of what effective leadership looks like and provided resources to help me be intentional as I crafted my ethos as a burgeoning leader.

Colby Taylor: The program allowed me to examine the concepts and practice of leadership from a number of different viewpoints and determine how they fit into my own personal style and approach to being a leader. It certainly offered me a more in-depth understanding that not all leadership approaches work to motivate and maximize the output and effectiveness of those with whom you are charged to lead. One must remain flexible and be willing to use multiple styles given the circumstances and individuals you are working with/for.

While attending the program, did you learn anything about yourself that you didn’t know before?

JG: I’m a first-gen, low income college success story from a family of ditch diggers, heavy machine operators, marines, and pastors. I inherited deeply-held beliefs about the nature of work including some antiquated notions of self-sacrifice, misguided stoicism, and a deep distrust of institutional language games. While my education has helped me move away from those working-class ideological touchstones, my definition of what it means to work/lead was defined largely by the inverse of leadership. That is to say, I knew what I shouldn’t/wouldn’t do in a leadership position, but I didn’t have a language or method of how to lead. My certificate program provided language(s) and methodologies which helped me cobble together a philosophy for how to comport myself as a leader.

CT: I’m a little bit older and have had enough life experiences to know myself pretty well. I also have typically been fairly vocal when necessary. However, it has helped me focus in and hone my natural strengths. Also, the program has absolutely encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone and become more visible and approachable than I would have before participating in it. 

If you could narrow it down, what was the biggest takeaway from the program for you?

JG: Quality professional leadership rises from the inclusive and clever application of the formal and informal tools available to make change in a work environment. Clear and intentional communication with the intent to persuade (rather than coerce) is difficult and an admittedly front-heavy investment, but is critical when building a work culture which promotes strong teams, engaged employees, and a healthy day-to-day environment.

CT: Through the program, it made me examine a few things in my professional and personal lives. As a result of some introspection, I find a way to incorporate this quote as motivation into much of what I do. “There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only if circumstances permit. When you’re committed to something; you accept no excuses, only results.” (Author unknown)

How will what you’ve learned through the John Glenn program help you in your position in ODI?

JG: I’m a fledgling leader/manager, and the resources I’ve acquired from the John Glenn program have already helped me through some of the growing pains that come with a step up the hierarchical ladder. I recently had to onboard a new hire, and several of the readings (particularly about what empowered work is vs. how empowerment is framed by management) changed the way I approached the onboarding process.

CT: Hopefully, some of the leadership insights, principles and strategies have afforded me new tools to be a better coach and supervisor as well as seek opportunities to be of better service to those with whom I am charged.

Congratulations to Jacob and Colby on completing the John Glenn program!