M: What made you want to attend this particular RAL Professional Development event?
V: Although I grew up in San Diego, it wasn’t until I went to school and worked in Los Angeles for a few years that I really discovered my connection with Arts and education as a more cohesive career interest. I moved back to San Diego last year and felt as if I had no idea how the Arts community worked here, and after having establishing connections where I previously lived, I was a little intimidated by the idea of starting over. I had come across RALSD through simple rabbit hole searches on the internet, a few months ago. I found this PD relevant to my life at the moment (applying for graduate school and looking for more ways to be included in the arts leadership conversations in San Diego), and it fit my schedule! I was excited to finally be able to go to an RALSD event, as I hadn’t been available for others. The content of the workshop, leadership style, was intriguing because there are so many ways to be a leader, and define a leader. I was intrigued by a different perspective, and open to learning something, and learning the Arts community here.
M: What do you think your leadership style is? After the PD, did you feel like you learned something new about yourself?
V: My leadership style is inclusive, and Socratic. I think taking initiative and problem solving are really great skills to have, and being able to include a lot of question asking, and evaluating the team I’m working with, and their needs is also incredibly important to me. I’m a big believer in leadership being held accountable to advocate for the voices involved while learning constantly. I’m able to work from the core, meaning I’m able to see the big picture and problem solve, and learn based on what seems to fit the core of the mission. I would say a few things were confirmed for me, such as the ways in which I need to care for myself in order to be a beneficial leader. Physical activity and general stress reduction are huge areas of improvement for me, and the activity and discussion we did around that were helpful. They were helpful as another reminder for why those things are important and what impact on others it can have if you don’t put effort into addressing your needs, as well.
M: Are you currently employed? If so, are you a leader in your current job? If not, would you like to be at some point?
V: I’m a classroom assistant at a charter school, and to varying degrees I would say I’m more of a mentor, than a leader. It’s important that the students continue to cultivate their independence (academically and also personally) and feel supported, so being able to serve them in the individual areas they need are more, to me, felt more as mentorship. It is possible that the idea of leadership is built in, because of the dynamic that exists already (youth vs adult), but it can be a very reciprocal too. In relation to my other coworkers, I wouldn’t say I have a leadership role, and I don’t aspire to have more opportunities for leadership just yet, because I’m looking to further my learning in other ways I’m not sure it can offer me, and that’s okay, because I am building an entire skillset where I am, and that’s great right now.
M: Who are some leaders you admire and why?
V: Folks I admire demonstrate resilience and cooperation with a sense of understanding and openness. My admiration moves, too, based on where I am in life. Right now, I admire Laverne Cox, and some leaders in my community who are constantly working to develop a sense of self while building community and committed to their activism, the ways they find themselves most able!
M: What were your greatest “take-aways” from this event?
V: Taking care of yourself is a contributing factor to practicing good leadership. I was surprised that the workshop dedicated so much time to the concept of a good leader stemming from a more personal level. I’ve gone to leadership camps and trainings before, where the focus was more based on how to affect other people via fearlessness, communication skills, charm, intelligence, and even a sense of martyrdom. The ideas I’ve seen in the past have been about taking so much on that you bear the brunt of all work involved, rather than focusing on ways in which you’re able to carry and effectively share skills and work. I was glad to have taken away such an important emphasis on what it means to look internally and evaluate yourself and your health, and relationships to inform your leadership style.
??Victoria graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre in 2012. With a background in Stage Management, Victoria has worked in numerous USC School of Theatre shows as well as with various Los Angeles companies, including The Los Angeles Theatre Center, Son of Semele Theatre and most recently, San Diego’s North Coast Repertory Theatre. Victoria served as the Program Assistant for the award winning youth outreach theatre company The Unusual Suspects in Los Angeles, and currently works as a Resource Center Associate for the Charter School of San Diego. Victoria aims to continue to bridge the gap between art, theatre and storytelling with education and using art as a tool to navigate identities, self and community building through the education system.