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This College President Has a Lot to Teach You about Leadership

There are many lessons to learn from Montgomery College President DeRionne P. Pollard’s life as a leader. But for college women looking to define themselves, Pollard demonstrates the power of authentic leadership— perhaps one of the most relevant lessons for women today.

Pollard is a woman of firsts. The first in her family to attend college, she has since become the first known black lesbian college president. Pollard makes no secret of her sexual orientation; she wears her wedding ring proudly and lists her partner’s name on her official biography.

Pollard’s example empowers others to embrace who they are. Soon after she started as Montgomery College president, Pollard was approached by a young man on campus.

“I came out to my family,” he told her after some small talk.

“Really? How did that go?” asked Pollard.

“Not so well,” he said. His father didn’t want anything to do with him, while his mother told him his career would be stunted by his sexual orientation.

“But the day you were announced as college president,” he continued, “I took home the announcement and told my mom, ‘I may not be able to be anything, but I can be a college president.’”

Pollard’s authentic leadership is just one of the many qualities that make her a woman of distinction.

By:    January 29, 2014