SGS Holds Virtual Town Hall on Leadership


What better time to host a discussion on gender, race, and leadership than after the historic inauguration of Kamala Harris as Vice President of the United States? Our very own Wendy Ewbank, SGS founding faculty member, moderated the discussion, directing questions from the audience to the panelists Andrea Caupain Sanderson, Jacquelyn Howard, Phelana Pang, and Adriana Hernandez. Our amazing panel of alumna, staff, and parents gave thoughtful answers about their experiences as leaders and how SGS cultivates leadership not only among students, but with every member of the community. 

In case you missed the event, here are a few highlights:

“What characteristics or attributes make a strong leader and what inspired you to lead?” 

SGS Alumna Adriana Hernandez: 

“What makes a leader is someone who is driven, creative, respectful, but most importantly has empathy and is able to work with the community. That is so important. It can range from your classmates to your coworkers, to the whole country! Just being able to have empathy and work with your community is so crucial. Keeping in mind that it’s not like ‘I’m up here and you’re down there,’ but how can we work together to achieve this goal.”

Starbucks VP of Direct Sourcing Jacquelyn Howard:

 “Courage is a really important trait. It sounds hard for people who thinks it’s big, but it comes in all forms. Whether that is speaking to someone you don’t know or raising your hand and speaking dissent in a meeting. I think Seattle Girls’ School has been remarkable allowing everyone’s voice to be heard and giving people that foundation of ‘your voice matters,’ and courage is important for everyone to exhibit.”

Phelana Pang, Assistant Head of School: 

“When I talk about having values and finding an organization whose values align with yours, that’s what I’ve found with SGS. It felt like such a mutually beneficial relationship because SGS believed in me and supported me in becoming a leader. SGS allowed me to take those courageous steps and think about how I can own my power and make a bigger impact in the broader community.”

Byrd Barr Place CEO Andrea Caupain Sanderson was asked about how we can make female empowerment more of a priority in other schools, and she said:

“WIIFM. What’s in it for them? COVID is a really good example to show, when we all do better, we all do better. We’ve got to help people understand from different experiences and different backgrounds that it is our responsibility to help the less fortunate and less capable, because then we’ll all do better ultimately. So I think it’s finding a way to bottom line it.” 

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