Five Things with Helen Fagan
Diversity and inclusion are common buzzwords. But what’s the difference between the two? And what’s the benefit to creating an inclusive workplace? Helen Fagan is director of Leadership Engagement for the University of Nebraska Rural Futures Institute. She is an associate professor of practice in agricultural leadership education and communication at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. And her research focuses on how inclusive leadership helps transform organizations. Show Notes: Learn more about Rural Futures ›› ruralfutures.nebraska.edu; learn more about Dr. Fagan ›› alec.unl.edu/helen-fagan
icon search Searchable Transcript
Toggle between list and paragraph view.
[00:00:03.890]Large metal letters spelling the word hope
[00:00:06.770]are appearing at various locations in Wahoo, Nebraska.
[00:00:11.790]Students from the University of Nebraska Lincoln
[00:00:13.920]haul the letters into a floral shop.
[00:00:16.088](camera shutter clicking)
[00:00:16.921]They take pictures and interview the owner,
[00:00:18.940]Kathryn Nygren, for a social media post.
[00:00:22.230]It's called the Hope Campaign,
[00:00:24.350]spreading good news about how the community hangs tough
[00:00:27.640]during the coronavirus pandemic.
[00:00:29.840]Nygren is inspired.
[00:00:31.810]They've gotten so much traction on social media,
[00:00:33.890]all the stories of the people in Wahoo
[00:00:35.650]that you don't think about everyday.
[00:00:40.870]The students are Rural Futures Fellows.
[00:00:43.630]Every summer, students are matched with Nebraska communities
[00:00:46.840]to help with projects,
[00:00:48.070]including workforce and economic development.
[00:00:51.040]And do you want this one first?
[00:00:53.071]That one first.
[00:00:54.737]In Wahoo, UNL junior Amanda Most is working on a project
[00:00:58.340]to recruit and retain employees at the medical center.
[00:01:01.630]I've learned lots of different leadership skills
[00:01:03.550]this summer that I'll definitely carry with me
[00:01:05.540]in the future, as well as gained a new perspective
[00:01:08.070]on what it takes to run and operate a rural community.
[00:01:11.412]Wahoo Chamber of Commerce President Josh Kruger
[00:01:13.990]welcomes the student contribution.
[00:01:16.901]So, to get a fresh set of eyes on things
[00:01:18.650]adds a lot of value to be able to see.
[00:01:20.560]What could we do differently?
[00:01:21.770]What can we do better?
[00:01:22.957]"Kruger's perspective is just what
[00:01:25.180]a rural community needs," says Helen Fagan,
[00:01:27.690]Director of Leadership Engagement
[00:01:29.590]for the University of Nebraska Rural Futures Institute.
[00:01:32.940]She coordinates the Fellows Program.
[00:01:38.280]I think the most important element you need to have
[00:01:40.390]is an inclusive mindset.
[00:01:41.900]Who's not at the table?
[00:01:43.380]Who do we need to include?
[00:01:44.920]And what is the benefit of hearing
[00:01:46.700]from these young students?
[00:01:47.980]What's the benefit of partnering
[00:01:50.890]and bringing in these energetic students
[00:01:53.480]who have a totally different perspective.
[00:01:55.470]They're going to help you to see your community
[00:01:57.480]through a new lens that you never thought about before.
[00:02:01.120]This is Faculty 101,
[00:02:02.950]Five Things about Inclusive Leadership.
[00:02:08.200]Helen Fagan is an Assistant Professor of Practice
[00:02:10.810]in Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication
[00:02:14.070]at the University of Nebraska Lincoln.
[00:02:16.270]She is a leadership and diversity scholar
[00:02:18.670]whose research and outreach helps strengthen
[00:02:20.930]organizations and communities.
[00:02:25.660]Fagan says rural Nebraska needs inclusive leadership
[00:02:28.970]to solve complex problems from economic development
[00:02:32.270]to recruitment and retention issues.
[00:02:34.600]Some of the unique challenges that's happening
[00:02:36.510]in rural Nebraska is a demographic shift.
[00:02:39.050]The aging population, right?
[00:02:42.370]They have broadband issues.
[00:02:44.970]They maybe have great jobs, but an inability
[00:02:48.940]to be able to tell the story of the community
[00:02:51.750]as a way to attract people to the community.
[00:02:56.950]Diversity without inclusion isn't enough.
[00:03:00.360]Our worldview is limited to the places,
[00:03:03.510]the experiences we've had.
[00:03:05.200]And in order for us to be able to create, innovate,
[00:03:10.060]and move the needle forward, we need to have people
[00:03:13.650]whose worldview is very different than ours.
[00:03:16.260]So we need to have diversity at the table, right?
[00:03:19.060]But how do we take that diversity and create innovation?
[00:03:22.380]Because the greater the diversity,
[00:03:24.220]the higher the likelihood we're not gonna get along, right?
[00:03:27.910]So we need inclusion.
[00:03:29.390]Inclusion is the answer to making diversity work well.
[00:03:36.690]An inclusive mindset powers effective leadership.
[00:03:40.310]So we know, from research,
[00:03:41.710]that if the leader perceives differences
[00:03:43.770]as a challenge to overcome,
[00:03:46.000]then, more likely those differences between the team
[00:03:49.270]will divide the team.
[00:03:50.610]But if the leader perceives the differences
[00:03:53.010]as an opportunity to innovate and create something new,
[00:03:56.800]then the messaging and the connection
[00:03:58.660]that they're making with individuals,
[00:04:00.320]they're saying, "Hey, isn't it great that we are different?"
[00:04:03.130]So it's that synergistic effect that happens
[00:04:05.550]because of our differences,
[00:04:07.090]but that doesn't happen without the catalyst
[00:04:09.530]of that inclusive leader mindset.
[00:04:14.210]An effective leader is open to challenge.
[00:04:17.120]Community transformation, organizational transformation,
[00:04:20.470]educational institution transformation,
[00:04:22.470]whatever it is that we're trying to transform doesn't happen
[00:04:26.060]until the leader transforms their mindset to be inclusive.
[00:04:31.040]And so, that's what the research is showing
[00:04:32.740]is that it's crucial in the ability,
[00:04:34.970]and I mean, stuff we're facing right now
[00:04:36.720]with social justice issues,
[00:04:38.670]that is an essential piece of organizations being successful
[00:04:44.450]is that the leader has to be able to come to the table
[00:04:47.250]and say, "I don't know everyone's perspective.
[00:04:50.630]I'm willing to listen, and I'm willing to be challenged.
[00:04:54.440]I'm willing to say who else needs to be at the table
[00:04:57.960]and that our systems need changing.
[00:05:01.320]And number five.
[00:05:02.990]In Nebraska, young people can help transform communities.
[00:05:06.620]And that's why Rural Futures Fellows are so important.
[00:05:09.980]In the past eight years, 90 students have served
[00:05:13.130]53 communities across the state.
[00:05:15.970]And sometimes they returned to rural areas
[00:05:18.510]to make a lasting impact.
[00:05:20.710]Young people, if they have ability,
[00:05:23.963]a connection to technology,
[00:05:25.840]and they can work from anywhere,
[00:05:28.610]the rural communities offer them the opportunity
[00:05:31.530]to have affordable housing
[00:05:34.140]or the ability to be able to speak
[00:05:36.960]into designing the future of their community.
[00:05:39.690]They are listened to.
[00:05:40.610]If you want to get involved in your community,
[00:05:43.170]rural communities are absolutely the best place.
[00:05:45.610]And I have seen, time and time again,
[00:05:48.010]students who have moved into a rural community
[00:05:51.070]and have been movers and shakers in that community
[00:05:53.880]in helping shape the future of that community.
[00:05:56.100]And this excites students who never would have thought.
[00:05:59.770]We have students who come from urban cities
[00:06:02.210]that are experiencing rural life and saying,
[00:06:04.247]"Wow, I had no idea this is what it is like.
[00:06:08.120]This is what I want for my future."
[00:06:14.870]That's Five Things with Helen Fagan.
[00:06:19.930]Faculty 101 is produced
[00:06:21.550]by the University of Nebraska Lincoln.
Log in to post comments