March 9, 2020

EmpowerED to Lead podcast highlights academic leadership, makes connections across campus

Katie Turner and Angela Zanardelli-Sickler discuss the importance of trusting the process in creative collaboration.

Listen here. 

Now in its second season, Wayne State University’s EmpowerED to Lead podcast has found its stride. The podcast, developed to highlight leaders from across campus, has sparked a broader dialogue about the definition of leadership and helped make new connections.

EmpowerED to Lead launched in fall 2019, following the inaugural Academic Leadership Academy, to broaden the conversations around leadership and help identify colleagues for networking and mentoring opportunities. To date, the podcast has featured 16 guests on 14 weekly episodes. Each episode features current and emerging academic leaders in an informal conversation about their personal leadership paths and experiences.

Annmarie Caño, associate provost for faculty development and faculty success, developed the podcast, which she also hosts. The podcast’s production and development has also been supported by the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts and the Office of Marketing and Communications. 

“There is no single type of leader, or any one set path to leadership. Everyone should be able to envision and empower themselves as a leader,” said Caño. “EmpowerED to Lead is continuing this mission in shining a light on leaders across campus — some of whom are very public-facing and some of whom lead from behind the scenes.”

Ricardo Villarosa, pictured here with EmpowerED to Lead host Annmarie Caño, discussed collaborative leadership
and the appreciative inquiry approach.

Aimed at starting meaningful — and easily accessible — conversations, EmpowerED to Lead guests have discussed myriad topics, including the development of their own careers, how they have been able to empower themselves and others, leadership as a team sport, creative tension, humility and expertise, communication styles, diversity and inclusion, learning from failure, authentic collaboration, the power of mentorship, and more.

Caño said the podcast has also helped unite the Warrior community.

“The podcast has, in many ways, made Wayne State feel like a smaller, more connected campus,” she said. “EmpowerED to Lead has helped to humanize leaders through personal, intimate conversations and by celebrating individual experiences and authenticity.”

Ashley Flintoff was featured on a recent episode of the EmpowerED to Lead podcast's second season, where
she shared insights about expertise, humility and professional tension.

Guests have cited increased outreach, from both current and new colleagues, following their participation. Ashley Flintoff, director of planning and space management, was featured on the podcast’s third episode this season.

“Participating in the EmpowerED to Lead podcast gave me a platform to share not only my experiences as a relatively new leader, but also to broaden the understanding of of the role that Facilities, Planning and Management plays in the campus community," Flintoff said. "In the same way I hope others learned about what I do, I've truly enjoyed learning more about my colleagues across campus." 

In addition to Flintoff, previous Season 2 guests have included: 

  • Kidada Williams, associate professor of history in the College of Liberal Arts and Scinces (Listen here
  • Clay Walker, senior lecturer in the English department, within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Listen here
  • Katie Turner, academic initiatives coordinator for Housing and Residential Life, and Angela Zanardelli-Sickler, associate director of the Academic Success Center's Study Skills Academy (Listen here)
  • Kristin Chinery, reference archivist at the Walter P. Reuther Library of Labor and Urban Affairs (Listen here)
  • Marquita Chamblee, associate provost for diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer, and Leonard Savala, director of the Office of Multicultural Student Engagement (Listen here)
  • Ricardo Villarosa, coordinator of student life (Listen here)
  • Wei-Zen Wei, professor of oncology and president of the Academy of Scholars (Listen here)

Season 3 of EmpowerED to Lead is slated for fall 2020. Listeners are encouraged to nominate future guests here.