“The Gift of Leadership” by Dr. Bob Meyer, 2014 CTE Executive in Residence


UW-Stout hosted an inspiring event with the 2014 CTE Executive in Residence. This annual event focuses on inspiring students through the success, expertise, and experiences of visiting Stout alums. This year’s guest was Dr. Bob Meyer, President of Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College. The main event of the the CTE Executive in Residence is a TED Talkesque presentation to a large group of students, faculty, and administration. Dr. Meyer’s presentation was titled “The Gift of Leadership.” We are happy to welcome you to enjoy the event in the following ways:

A video of the presentation is available here:

The presentation slides are available here:

A presentation summary written by Kinga N. Jacobson, EdD CTE student:

Lessons Learned from Dr. Robert Meyer in “The Gift of Leadership”

Dr. Robert Meyer, Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College President gave students the Gift of Leadership at the 4th Annual Career and Technical Educator in Residence event held on March 26-27, 2014 at University of Wisconsin – Stout. The session unwrapped leadership lessons learned in four decades of post-secondary career and technical education, permitting students a glimpse into the realities of practiced leadership.

Dr. Robert Meyer’s teachings revolved around three major themes. Specifically, he emphasized the importance of participative leadership, innovation and holistic education, as well as career and technical education advocacy.

When unwrapping the issue of developing a culture of collaboration, especially in context of a culture change from hierarchical, autocratic management to a participative, empowered environment, he outlined the significance of trust. Trust is the essence of leadership, the absence of trust making management effectiveness and institutional progress impossible. To develop it, leaders are to be personally involved at all organizational levels, demonstrate caring for each subordinate, and allow staff members to develop solutions to internal and external concerns. In regards to employee authority, the resounding message was that career and technical education professionals are “a group of very talented individuals who will arrive at a good resolution” (Dr. R. Meyer, phone conversation, March 27, 2014), leadership’s role being to create the atmosphere that facilitates demonstration of workforce talents as means of continuous organizational innovation and improvement.

Holistic career and technical education encompassing academic, technical, and employability skills was the speaker’s second gift. In this regard, Dr. Meyer expressed that employers want to hire graduates with very broad skillsets as their needs are ever evolving. Technology advances, global competition, and customer demands are changing the jobs as well as the expectations, making the ability to adapt, think, and adjust some of the most prevalent skills workers need.

The third present Dr. Meyer brought to us related to the prominence of advocacy in career and technical education. He spoke of promotion of career and technical education teaching practices at local, state, and national levels, positing that we all have a role in creating awareness and in securing support from local industry and community leaders as well as state and national politicians. Underscored were the collaboration with the K-12 system and state leadership to assure that educators as well as decision makers gain a better understanding of the mission and potential of career and technical education for leading students, as well as the country, to long-term success.

The message of the Gift of Leadership session was powerful and clearly aligned with the outcomes of our degree, placing them into the realities of practice in our local post-secondary setting. It highlighted the relevance of the subjects in our program, offering guidance for key issues and responsibilities we will face in our leadership roles. Personally, I found Dr. Meyer’s demeanor and passion for our profession extremely inspiring, allowing me to realize that leadership and success start from one’s heart and are embodied by being future orientated, having a continually positive attitude, and seizing energy for endless renewal. All in all, the conference refined the particulars of my future role as a leader, providing motivation to seek a career path that will allow hand-off of my gift of leadership to the next generation in line, repeating the pattern of successful career and technical education leadership.



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