A deep part of the Gonzaga experience includes time for reflection. On this section of the site, I’ll provide you with reflections on the competencies I developed while at Gonzaga. Each course offered new insights that I could immediately incorporate into my life. Many of the themes that emerged as being core to what it means to be a Servant Marketer were first discovered in these classes.
Mt. Everest Climbs
Original Discussion Posts Written
Books & Articles Read
Cups of Coffee Consumed
Courses & Competencies Developed
ORGL 600 Foundations of Leadership (Equiv.)
I transferred to Gonzaga after beginning my Master’s at another school. The first class I took was similar to the ORGL 600 course at Gonzaga in that it provided an overview of leadership philosophies. However, a key area that it was missing was strong reflection or assessment of my leadership style. There was a brief mention of Servant Leadership, which piqued my interest, but most of the course content focused on transformational leadership. When I took 605 at Gonzaga, one of my classmates shared the 600 syllabus with me, and I ended up reading a lot of the materials from the class. The books that struck me the most was Pedagogy of the Oppressed and Parker Palmer’s Courage to Teach. In Pedagogy, I began to reflect on how my work contributed to oppression. Since marketing is the storytelling mechanism for capitalism, the work that is produced is often meant to connect with one group while alienating another. But more often, decisions made around what will connect with an audience is made with no input from that audience. So how does marketing contribute to oppression? Marketing contributes to oppression by the lack of representation in not just the advertising or creative delivered, but in the lack of diversity in leadership and on marketing teams. It also contributes to unhealthy levels of consumerism, which is bad for the planet and the psyche of consumers.
To learn about an area of marketing that causes oppression, listen to:
ORGL 506 Leadership and Diversity (Equiv.)
While I took several classes before transferring to Gonzaga, I chose to transfer the intro class and a class I took on diversity. I chose these because I felt they had been the most valuable of the previous classes I had taken. The diversity course I took gave a good foundation in understanding why diversity and inclusion are so important in leadership and our organizations. I learned about how organizations approach diversity, how diversity influences performance and how lack of diversity and inclusion affect our organizations. Many of these themes were echoed in my Gonzaga classes, and I will leave this program with diversity and inclusion as a leg of my leadership philosophy.
This has become a key area of my capstone project as representation is a multi-faceted topic in marketing. As I have interviewed marketers, entrepreneurs, leaders and academics for the podcast, diversity, equity and inclusion has arisen as a key pillar of what it means to be a Servant Marketer. Guests have reported their lived experiences with representation not only in marketing creative and storytelling, but in their experiences as consumers and employees.
Here’s a few episodes where the theme of diversity, equity and inclusion is covered in depth:
ORGL 530 - Servant Leadership
Servant Leadership with Larry Spears was the first class I took at Gonzaga, and it lit me up. This class helped me reflect on the good leaders that I had had, and what made them so special. In particular, one leader really shaped who I’ve become and how I want to lead. Taking Larry’s class was the first time that I realized that I had created a mental model around being feminine and leading. I didn’t believe I could bring that part of myself to leadership and be effective, respected, or taken seriously. In Servant Leadership, I found a balance of masculine and feminine, and it helped me break down the mental model I had about being a female leader. I left the class with a foundation of understanding Servant Leadership, adult development theory, and how I could do a better job of showing up as a Servant Leader. Listen to Episode 2 of The Servant Marketer to hear more about the leader who showed me there was a way to be a mama bear, and an effective leader.
ORGL 605 - Imagine. Create. Lead.
Traveling to the Spokane campus and meeting fellow students was one of the highlights of my Master’s. While on campus, I recognized how my day to day grind pulled away from my ability to reflect and create connection. I am typically glued to my phone and this class helped me reflect on what I was missing by doing that. There was key moment when I felt like reaching for my phone, and I thought to myself, “No. I’m going to gift this time to myself.” 605’s premise – to see and see again changed my mindset. Dr. Gambrell presented about adult development theory and during her presentation she said, “There are at least eight solutions to every problem.” I have thought about that statement, used it with my team and family, and have become a more curious person because of 605.
The culmination of this course is a “creative project,” where students are challenged to create something new by seeing and seeing again. You can view my project, The Siren Box, here and learn more about how I am trying to live a more present, connected life.
Creativity is key in marketing. Here are a few episodes that dive into how creativity can serve:
Episode 3 – Mitzi VanVoohis | Building a Servant Leadership Culture
Episode 8 – Trey Laverty | Print Inspired
Episode 12 – Amma Marfo | Creative Bravery
ORGL 610 Communication and Leadership Ethics
This class helped me examine my ethics, and understand the concept of dialogue and the idea of “other.” In marketing, we sometimes glorify the idea of the other because making a product or idea resonate with one group sometimes means excluding other groups. In particular, it made me think about group dynamics, and how often we take a hard stance one way or the other without having a full understanding of the other side. One emerging area of ethics for marketers is digital privacy and social media. Research shows that social media affects users mental health and recent events have shown the power of these social networks in politics, social justice movements and news consumption.
I wrote a lengthy paper about the ethical climate of Facebook, which you can download here.
ORGL 535 Listen. Discern. Decide.
Whoo-boy. This class challenged me in ways I had never imagined. I went into the class knowing that I struggled with listening, but what I had not realized was how deep that went. Not only did I struggle with external listening, but I realized that I often turned off my internal listening and did not understand or have a process for discernment. Through the course, I developed a deeper understanding of the importance of listening in creating belonging on my team, the reasons why I struggled to listen, and the self-awareness to see how my decision-making and discernment could make me a better leader. I realized during this class that I had moved far away from using prayer as a way to silence my mind or in my decision-making.
Great marketers know that listening is key to understanding. On Episode 4 of The Servant Marketer, I interviewed Dr. Liz Gross about her company Campus Sonar. Liz has built a company based on the power of social listening, but she’s also an amazing leader.
ORGL 615 Organizational Theory and Behavior
This course combined an introduction to systems thinking and team dynamics. It left me with a greater understanding of advocacy and inquiry, why systems exist and behave, and the role of ego and control in leadership. Senge’s work showed me the importance of curiosity in how we approach conflict and teams, how to challenge my own thinking, and having the confidence to ask others to “poke holes” in my ideas or thoughts.
In the Servant Leadership class, we learned about Adult Development Theory, and how the differences between stages often is tied to how we handle the space between stimulus and response. This class furthered my understanding of this space. In particular, the group climb of Everest forced me to stay present and immediately examine my thoughts and feelings about my performance and that of my teammates. Read my reflection on this class, and my thoughts on Turning Anger into Curiosity here.
You might also be interested in the following podcast episodes:
ORGL 537 Foresight and Strategy
This course has a reputation for being life-changing, and the only thing I had heard before taking it was that I would learn “Jedi Mind Tricks.” While I did not learn any new Star Wars moves, and wasn’t given a light saber, I did walk away with new thoughts on the universe, grief, community, and being seen. A theme that has emerged for me in several of my courses has been quieting the mind to make space for enlightenment and peace. While this course did not leave me feeling peaceful, it did leave me with a new understanding of the importance of grief, community, comfort and silence.
My artifact for this class will be a guest piece I am writing for Volt, a higher education marketing publication, about grief, healing and comfort marketing.
ORGL 620 Leadership Seminar
I started thinking about my capstone project over a year ago, after visiting Gonzaga for Imagine. Create. Lead. The idea for The Servant Marketer came to me out of nowhere, and I furiously scribbled notes about the idea and the podcast on the plane home from Spokane. In fact, I drafted two seasons worth of guest ideas. Then I took my notebook and put it on a shelf. All the while, the idea for the podcast sat in the back of my mind. I ruminated on it for almost a year.
Fast forward to the summer of 2020, I was burnt out, tired, and knew that I’d be starting my capstone course in the fall. I read Steven Pressfield’s “The War of Art,” and it resonated so deeply with me that I knew it was time to push beyond the resistance and create. I now recognize that this podcast and idea are my “karmic assignment.” It’s the work I cannot not do.
To read more about how Steven Pressfield’s book influenced my thoughts on Servant Leadership, read this guest piece I wrote for The Evolllution.
ORGL 510 Renaissance Leadership for the 21st Century
I haven’t taken this course yet, as I was hoping to use it as my celebratory, “I finished grad school” trip. So, humor me, and picture me writing in this space about Servant Leadership and legacy while eating gelato.