Kate O'Dwyer Randall is assistant director of The D. Abbott Turner
Program in Ethics and Servant Leadership (EASL), which is administered
by the Center for Ethics. Her job is to advance and support the
concepts of servant leadership among the varied members of the
after she explains what servant leadership means.
the reaction we get from someone who's heard the term 'servant
leadership' is, 'Huh? What? Servant leadership? What does that
mean? How do you do that? Servant and leader at the same time?
That's an oxymoron, right? That doesn't work,'" Randall said.
response to these questions clears it up pretty well.
are you a leader if you are not being attentive to the interests
of the common good?" Randall said, giving an example of her first
line of explanation. "There is always this sense of 'the other'
in servant leadership. It's not about how I am going to climb the
corporate ladder, it's about how we are going to do the best work
we can do while being attentive to both our own needs and the needs
of the community."
servant leader has to see herself or himself as one who serves
the organization and who serves those with whom that individual
works," said Edward Queen, EASL director and Randall's boss. Actually,
the term "boss" has nothing to do with what goes on at EASL, which
was created in 1999 with a gift from William Turner, a former Emory
trustee, founder of the Synovus Financial Corp. and supporter of
servant leadership. He named the program in the memory of his father.
a hierarchical management structure of the sort that servant leadership
aims to transform. The relationship of Queen and Randall is based
more on shared empowerment and camaraderie.
began his job July 1, and one of his first responsibilities was
hiring an assistant director. In the middle of the month, he interviewed
Randall, a new graduate of the Candler School of Theology who had
been working at Agnes Scott College where she assisted with its
volunteer office and alternative break programs. She also had served
as the lay Catholic campus minister. On the Emory campus, Randall
had worked with Candler's Youth Theological Initiative.
was excited by her abilities and competencies, her knowledge, and
her fantastic skills at working with students and other groups," Queen
said. "Our personalities, work styles, and our approaches to things
are remarkably complementary and also mutually strengthening. Please
forgive the overblown metaphor, but it is really like watching
a finely tuned jazz combo work--who can pick up the riffs at the
had a distinct impression of Queen upon meeting him for that first
interview as well. "My first impression of Edward was that he had
long hair. That was great," Randall said. "I think at the time
he didn't have shoes on, which was even more delightful." The long
hair, which Queen wears in a ponytail, is a constant, but the shoes
thing comes and goes.
had read a lot about him, his Ph.D., his J.D., everything he had
done globally," Randall continued. Queen holds master's and doctoral
degrees from the Divinity School of the University of Chicago and
a J.D. from the Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis.
He practiced law in Indiana for a time, but that is one of the
smaller bullets on his resume. He was the founding director of
the Islamic Society of North America's Fellowship Program in Non-Profit
Management and Governance; has worked extensively in the nonprofit
world; taught and consulted in Europe, South Asia and the Middle
East, and is the author, co-author or editor of four books, the
most recent being 2000's Serving Those in Need: A Handbook
for Managing Faith-Based Human Services Organizations.
fear was that he was going to be really unapproachable," said Randall,
who began her job Aug. 1. "That he'd have all this experience behind
him and be difficult to relate to, but that hasn't been my experience
at all. From the beginning we both talked about what our hopes
for the program were, how the program is going now and how we could
work together. It's been really seamless."
of Queen and Randall's primary responsibilities has been overseeing
the EASL Forum, which brings together 17 students for weekly meetings
about servant and ethical leadership and community building. Students
commit to the forum for a year. Not only do they develop their
own projects in order to build their leadership skills but they
also meet with speakers from outside the community who discuss
ethical leadership practices.
and Randall also work to spread the word and practices of EASL
around campus. The program already has strong ties with Employee
Council, which has its own servant leadership subcommittee, and
in the future EASL plans to more formally cultivate relationships
with the professional schools, Emory College and other staff divisions.
leadership is not the easiest concept to grasp, but once one does--especially
in the case of the people whose job it is to promote it at Emory--it
is difficult to let go.
be able to see the excitement in people committed to what they
do and passionate about what they do is really key," Queen said. "Otherwise
we waste so much of what a human being is about by grinding them
leadership was more a part of my formation rather than learning about
it then deciding to go after it," Randall said. "My parents weren't
obvious leaders but they were deeply community people and they knew
everything that went on in the neighborhood--whose child was sick,
who needed this or that. That made them leaders. When I got to college
and saw leadership training initiatives without knowledge of the
other, I thought it was missing something. The idea of being attentive
to other people and to societal concerns is crucial. And then I came
across servant leadership and saw that that was part of what they
did. So I was very fortunate that way."