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Looking to Role Models for Inspiration

Professional journeys are marked by the successes we achieve through our learning experiences, our challenges & obstacles, and the people around us that make it possible. While a lot of our journeys and successes are attributed to mentors, career coaches, and adopting actions based on our strengths; we do so when following the lead and guidance of someone else. Those we follow are who we see as our role models.
Role models offer insights into industry trends and best practices and lead through direct action that we want to emulate. Role models possess a repertoire of soft skills, hard skills, charisma, and experience that we want to follow. These relationships often occur by happenstance, group and teamwork, supervisor/supervisee, communities of practice, and returner/new employee working relationships. Once we get past the core business that these working relationships set up for us, we acknowledge the strengths and contributions of our colleagues and will likely follow their lead to make our mark for the next chapter in our professional journeys. 
This week’s edition of Wisdom Café Wednesday gives us time to reflect on our colleagues who we have seen as our role models and gives us some insights into how we can become role models to others. A common exercise used in icebreakers and team builders involves describing a role model. This gives us a chance to celebrate our role models and tie it to how their leadership and representation have impacted us in our journey. It is both humbling to recognize someone else and also serves as a benchmark for our practices.

November celebrates National Inspirational Role Models Month and can take shape in a variety of ways. Berkeley People & Culture, in partnership with other campus departments, recognizes employees year-round. In addition to the Compensation and Benefits resources available to employees, Staff Appreciation also takes shape by customizing personalized appreciation to your colleagues.

As we start November, Wisdom Café Wednesday invites you to submit a nomination for someone whom you have had as a role model, describing something positive for your work or career growth. Recognition of others serves the purpose of offering praise and validation for them to continue their efforts.


Furthermore, our knowledge and understanding of the Berkeley employee community grow when our submissions elevate the spotlight of employees who otherwise might not be as visible on campus.

Beyond celebrating our role models, we can also pay it forward. So what does this look like? There’s a common trope that role models get identified by their ability to listen, empathize, and be present for someone in need. Yes, and at the same time, not all role models are exactly alike. What makes them stand out is their individuality.

How do we trademark our role model capabilities you ask? The following e-course Inspirational Leadership Skills: Practical Motivational Leadership offers a sub-section called Role Model. Providing insights as to how we can show our humble and authentic selves to our colleagues, supervisees, students, clients, and constituents with examples from our experiences. Presented by Chris Croft, Lecturer, Thought Leader, Project Manager, and Leadership Consultant; he brings a background in Material Sciences & Engineering to Organization Excellence. His insights help us take a values-based approach to build relationships with our teams and constituents. If role models are effective internally, their team’s accomplishments shine outside when they can carry their mission and vision forward.

Wisdom Café Wednesday invites you to look at yourself from the lens of your teams, your colleagues, and your clients/students. Much like how we strive to do better for ourselves, how can we be better for someone else’s needs? Our teams and brands are as successful to the rate we invest in ourselves to provide long-term needs for others.  As part of a mission and vision for your organization, what long-term need do you want to address? That is where role modeling comes not just to achieve a short-term transactional goal, but to represent a transformative opportunity.

Wisdom Cafe Wednesday Featured Ways Role Modeling Gets Noticed

Growth or Fixed Mindset

Role models' influence on the actions and mindset of others can go in two pathways. A fixed mindset maintains a status quo and sets us to work within the boundaries outlined to us. Whereas a growth mindset expands our reach to do better, do more, invest in new opportunities, and change what is not working. As one signifies comfort, the other signifies risk, they both work hand-in-hand and role models can set the tone for which to employ at the right intervals of time.

Brand Affinity with a Reputation for Potential

Take a moment to think of a brand that you are loyal to. That branded item has the backing of employees and teams to assure that your experience remains positive and a return of your business. The same can be said about you and the members that make up your teams. The role models that represent a brand look at their clients, customers, and students' experience from multiple lenses. The work that we do is about supporting someone else’s experience, hence having our contributions represent ourselves and our brand. 

Name a Practice That You Attribute to a Role Model

As we embrace comfort in our work, we likely have a practice that we learned from someone else in the past. Be it a practice of efficiency, project management, communication, technology, cultural competency, etc. We all have reached certain points in our careers because of the strengths and practices we have embraced from the guidance and leadership of someone else. Reflect on your own best practices and comfort points as to how this is the result of someone that role modeled that for you in the past.

Reminder: As we start the final stretch of the fall semester and inch closer to the holidays, we reflect on the time that has passed and look to the future. Many role models have inspired us in ways that they may not be aware of. Please remember to use this month to reach out, celebrate, recognize, as well as elevate yourselves. Just as you look up to others, others look up to you.

Be a team MVP & forward this newsletter to a colleague

Note: Fame, and superstar status not guaranteed, but appreciation is likely.

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How to Share Your Insight on Wisdom Cafe 

Discover the benefits of sharing your professional insights on Wisdom Café Wednesdays and how to do it here.
-Reading about and reaching out to featured colleagues.
-Finding supportive communities.
-Using resources to start your own network.
-Signing up for this Wisdom Café Wednesday Newsletter to ensure you get a message that you can use to support your development every week!
Don't have time for everything? Add time on your calendar to use these resources by using this link.

The Wisdom Café Team
PS - Want to see specific content or staff member featured? E-mail us at
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