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On Leadership: Pam Sutton-Wallace on Leading from a Place of Meaning

November 14, 2023
by Daryn David

In the latest edition of the Yale Child Study Center (YCSC) “On Leadership” blog post and newsletter column, Daryn David, PhD reflects on the first lecture in a new leadership-focused series launched at the center, Exploring and Enhancing Leadership in the Academy.

On Monday, October 30, 2023, Ms. Pamela Sutton-Wallace, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for the Yale-New Haven Health System, launched our new “On Leadership” Grand Round series.

With tremendous heart and soul, Pam shared about her career journey to her current position, her embrace of the power of mentorship granted and received, and her service-minded mission of developing others.

Referencing the book Drop the Ball by Tiffany Dufu (which I ran out to buy immediately after the Grand Rounds!) Pam described the importance of identifying and acting in accordance with the deeper legacy of our work – that most fundamental purpose that helps us gift something larger to those we serve.

Pam described her own legacy as three-pronged: nurturing her daughters to become strong and independent while being compassionate in service to others; promoting and inspiring women in the workplace; and creating an organizational culture of excellence and service at YNHH.

Simply put, Pam’s talk was hugely inspiring!

As a mother of a strong-minded and fabulously lively school-aged daughter – and also a wonderful son – I found Pam’s valuing of parenting to be very affirming.

As a woman faculty member at YSM who has benefited and grown enormously from the mentorship of female leaders, Pam’s embrace of women bringing one another up left me feeling so grateful for this larger network of support.

And as an academic involved in leadership development work, I wondered how to further encourage those I serve to follow the North Stars guiding their own professional aspirations.

In that spirit, I offer the following resources to our readers, intended as a starting point to help you connect with the deeper meaning behind your work.

  • When was the last time you asked yourself about the fundamental “why” behind your work? How are you behaving, and what deliverables are you producing, that resonate with your “why”? For more in this vein, please check out Simon Sinek’s Start with Why.
  • How in touch are you with your deeper sense of calling? Leadership coach and thought-leader Tara Mohr sheds light on this concept in How to Recognize Your Calling.
  • To what degree have you identified and drawn upon your deeper values in your daily life and job? What is one thing you could do, today, to align your work a bit more closely with these values? Brené Brown offers a great related exercise, Living Into Our Values.

I encourage you to bring your full heart to these questions and to speak with your colleagues, loved ones, and friends about what you may be discovering.

The YCSC “On Leadership” blog, which was launched in 2022 to address the importance of connection, collaboration, and embodying a service leadership mindset in professional and personal contexts, further highlights the department’s commitment to rich conversation about community and leadership. Specifically, blog posts call attention to the importance of connecting with others and adopting a service mindset within academic medicine.

Submitted by Crista Marchesseault on November 14, 2023