Episode 001: Jacqueline Taylor, PhD

Jul 2, 2020

Dr. Jacqueline Taylor

Dr. Jacqueline Taylor, retired Vice President for Development for Davenport University, has been in education for over 30 years. She is currently an Executive Coach and Leadership Consultant for Pondera Advisors, LLC.

“You may not get your way but you should be able to have your say.” Hear her tell her story, her views on important qualities in leaders and much more in this POWERFUL interview.

Full transcript:

>> Produced by women about women, powerful women, let's talk is a series of interviews with women who have helped shape our community and transform who we are and how we live.

>>I’m Shelley Irwin, today's powerful woman is no doubt a household name to our West Michigan, she holds the title of many firsts… first female vice president Lansing Community College, award-winning having worked with female and male educators across the nation to create support and leadership growth for women, she's helped to create a year long study abroad in Japan a program that's been in place for 20 years and she seems to have passed her scholarly DNA on to her granddaughter please welcome to the program doctor Jacqueline Taylor doctor Taylor, good day to you..

>> Good day to you too Shelley, thanks very much for having me.

>> What a pleasure personal disclaimer.

You are one of the reasons I've fallen in love with West Michigan's community I did say yes to invitations to your leads so thank you what you've done not only for me, but of course what you do and what you will continue doing for our human race and tell me about that DNA let’s talk about your granddaughter.

>>She's fabulous. My only grandchild the only one I’ll ever have an absolutely phenomenal in what she's doing she graduated from NYU went out to California to go to law school president of the U.C.Davis Women's lawyers group and she is managing editor of the law review. She works hard, she calls me Grandma Jackie.

>>Were you meant to be in education?

>> I think I was meant to be in education, I believe it was a calling I knew from the time I was 3 years old, I was going to be in education.

>>Let's talk about your professional journey.

it's a journey of caring, a journey of really hard work a journey of going to college late in life and a journey of knowing where I wanted to be what I wanted to do. And how I could help serve those students to build a better world so  it truly was a calling to have an opportunity to actually take a cut in pay and take a cut in title to get into higher ed  because I had been in K 12 and I was the controller of a school district, but I wanted to go into higher ed and so I did and I took a cut in pay. I took a cut in title and became the executive assistant to the president of Lansing Community College.

It was one of the best moves I ever made in my life to be able to get in to higher ed where I had a more hands on approach to really setting the strategy building the institution having an opportunity to create international partnerships, all of those things that opened doors for students ..that's the key ,opening doors for students to build a better world so I was fortunate. Then I went on and then became a president in a College in upstate New York , but I really chose to be in multi campus institutions so I had an opportunity to go into Pittsburgh work for Community College of Allegheny County where I had my own campus that I was responsible for and still had a say in the overall at Central administration for 23,000 students.

So it was planning. how do we plan ,how do we take our next moves how do we do what feels ,right at the same time gives us an opportunity for senior leadership.

I had an opportunity to come back to Michigan and be a major part of the senior leadership at Davenport University so I went from two-year community colleges that I loved into a four-year University that was continually growing at that time we had over 20 campuses when I first came here became a provost

of the 12 campuses on the west and north side of the state and into Indiana.

I loved every minute working with the Deans and the students and then they wanted me to become I'm the vice president of the entire University in that area of development.

>>Right, here in our very own Davenport campus.

>>Yeah, yeah, so I did it, I loved that it. It was it just that way I was bringing in

the dollars to help build a new campus that Davenport University now has and it is a fabulous campus and to know that I had a part in building that is absolutely phenomenal.

>>What do you do today?

>>Today after I retired from Davenport University. I spend my life helping people be the very best they can be. As an executive coach, a leadership consultant for Pondera Advisors which is an absolutely phenomenal group of individuals who devote their lives  to really helping organizations and senior leadership teams become high-performing teams so that experience that we bring helps organizations a trusted adviser to really really know that there's someone that they can trust to share and help support, guide and create a future for that organization and that individual.

>>So how do you do it doctor Taylor? How do you balance this work in this life?

>>I don't even think about balance whatever comes naturally, I'm so full of enthusiasm and optimism that I have a high energy anyway, but a lot of it is how we integrate not only what we do for a living or to help others but to interact with our community to interact with individuals to continue to learn, so I'm still learning, you know, an organization of learners and I'm part of that part of the community.So my life is open, but it's full and I I have friends, I have organizations I have boards I serve.

I'm fortunate and I want to ensure that everyone has those same opportunities.

>>This journey of life, this journey of finding our our way what's it take to find your own voice? How do we own our own voice? What’s your recommendation? 

>> Well we have our voice and I often say to individuals that I work with you always will have your voice you will always have your say you may not get your way but you should be able to have your say and it comes from respect it comes from leaders who are wise enough to listen who are wise enough to learn from the individuals that are part of their staff ,part of their team part of their organization and having a voice sometimes has to be earned but it by being respectful to others and by being knowledgeable by demonstrating that you care about that organization people ,are gonna listen to you more when you are there …not to get a paycheck.

Although those paychecks are important but you are there because you want to see that organization succeed, it's like you Shelley, you want this whole organization to succeed you're not here just for Shelley.

>>But this is all about Doctor Jackie Taylor. Dr. Taylor let's talk, what makes you laugh?

>>You know, I was thinking about that and I'm just full of joy and so I I don't think about it as separate laughter.But I love to hear Niel Marshard laugh.

>>Oh he's the outgoing president of Rotary of Grand Rapids.

>>Yes, when he laughs everybody can laugh.

>>What do you do for fun?

>>I actually love bridge.Let me tell you.

>>Are you good at it?

>>Some of my partners would say I'm not but I think I'm pretty good.

>>Nice, let's talk about the community in which you are a rich part of ,talk about building community relationships.

>>I love being a part of of Grand Rapids and West Michigan.

I chose to come here, I didn't have to I could have stayed in Pittsburgh.

But I love this area and all of the board's all my connections whether it's Porter Hills Foundation or Michigan Women Forward or the Rotary charity's board.

Whether it's the YMCA whether it is a Renday capital progress and I serve on that microloan committee and I still serve on the micro loan committee, for Michigan women's woman forward all of those connections that really demonstrate the caring the investment that we are willing to make and all of the organizations that we’re a part of and I love Saint marks in Saint Mark's Episcopal Church. every state I’ve lived in, every cityI’ve lived in, I have found the right Episcopal church before I even make my decision to accept a position.

>>So I must follow up, where does faith play its role in your life?

>>Faith to me has been there all my life God has been there the whole ability to believe, to believe that there's a higher power to understand that God is there for us is really important to me and it's important to my whole family it is important to know that there is that higher power that guides us, I wouldn't dream of going to sleep at night without reading from a little booklet that I have that reminds me about that higher power.

>>Did you always say yes?

>>No I did not I said yes more than I should have at times because I took on more than I should have but I always was able to achieve.

I'd say yes when you really feel that you can follow through. But when you say  yes and you do it too lightly and don't know that you can keep that commitment then I think  that causes problems and it causes problems with yourself because you feel inadequate when you can't keep that commitment. But you also let down an organization so I try never to say yes, unless I can really really follow through.

>>What’s  your advice Doctor Taylor  if one is entering a male dominated position? And obviously I’m speaking from the female side.

>> I think that some women have trouble with that. I want them to pursue a male dominated president's Cabinet, I was first female that ever served on the president's cabinet, took them a few months to understand that it was ok for me to have my say, but I stuck in there and proved to them that I was knowledgeable I proved to them that I was a good thinker and a good strategist and a good  voice that deserved to be heard.

So that makes the difference , doesn't mean that I haven't had my problems over my 30 year career with both males, but also with females. I've had some male mentors.I've had some female mentors, they've all been wonderful and I'm extremely grateful for that. I've also had some women who have let me down over the years as well as men so I hold an openness to males and females working together.It's the team that really counts.

>>What do you look for in your leaders?

>>I look for integrity, integrity to me is the bottom line along with trust and an ability to listen, but I also look for those who inspire who have a vision and to me that's critical to have that someone who supports, inspires, guides and who has a vision I’m more apt to follow someone who has a vision that I can buy into that vision and help them strategize and plan to get there.

>>Besides the little book you mention Dr. Jackie Taylor, what are you reading? What are you suggesting for recommended read?

>> I just absolutely love this latest book by Patrick Lencioni called ‘The Motive’ and it is really focused.on 2 different kinds of leaders, the leader who is really there to lead because she or he really cares about the organization and the individuals and is there to build. The other type is what we call a reward leader. They're only there because of the title and they're not really truly invested and this this book really talks about the value of good good leadership and what it takes and I love Brene Brown and her ‘Dare to Lead’, absolutely phenomenal and ‘The team player, the ideal team player’ by Patrick Lencioni, absolutely. These are the books that I encourage everyone to read and learn more about leading from reading those.

A reading by leading, leading by reading is really a way to keep going and I also read many articles from the Harvard Business review from Deloyd all of those things there's a not a day that goes by that I don't read the fortunes CEO Alan Murray and has material that comes out every single day because these are the things that helped me with guiding other leaders and with making suggestions to them, I read about emotional intelligence, all of those things and again it's continuous learning. Then at night or on my radio with my audio books I get to read these wonderful things by Ellen Hildenbrand, Daniel Silva, a John Muskroy, David Baldacci, Mary Kay Andrews, those are books.JD Rob, Nora Roberts, so I never go to bed without reading at night and keeping a book in my car going and a book beside my bed going.

>>And I bet you get your 8 hours of sleep. Now, here's your toughest question now that we conclude with. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

>>Purple cow Salted Caramel

>>Thank you very much Dr. Jacqueline Taylor for  your participation, for your words on our ‘Powerful Woman, let's talk’.

>>Thank you Shelley.

>>Thanks for joining us that does it for this edition of ‘Powerful Women, Let’s Talk. I’m Shelley Irwin.

>> Produced by women about, these powerful podcasts focus on powerful women and how their strength transforms who we are and how we live. Want to hear more ‘powerful women, let's talk’? Get additional interviews at WGVU.org or wherever you get your podcasts please rate and subscribe ‘powerful women, let's talk’ is produced by WGVU at the Meijer public broadcast Center at Grand Valley State University, the views and opinions expressed on this program do not necessarily reflect those of WGVU, its underwriters, or Grand Valley State University.