Stokes honored at Leadership Summit

February 22, 2013

PLAINVIEW – "Leading with Civility" was the topic for Friday’s High Plains Leadership Summit at Wayland Baptist University. The annual summit is a forum to recognize leaders and the qualities that make them successful ‑- challenging students, faculty, staff and administrators to exhibit those characteristics in their daily lives. This year’s them was Leading with Civility.
Dr. Vernon Stokes and junior Aubrey Pedigo were recognized for their leadership roles.
Pedigo was recognized as the recipient of the Leroy Walker Champion of Character nominee for Wayland. The Leroy Walker Award is a national award that recognizes a student athlete of strong character each year. Pedigo was not only the Wayland nominee, but she also was recognized by the Sooner Athletic Conference.

Stokes, a trustee of Wayland and longtime educator in West Texas, was recognized for his leadership during his 42-year career in education. He was presented with the Legacy Leadership Award by Dr. Claude Lusk, Vice President for Enrollment Management at Wayland.

Stokes shared a few of the things he learned during his time in leadership. He said it is important to remember that you are a leader only as long as people are willing to follow, and that people always reap what they sow.

Rob Miller, a ProActive Coaching speaker and former administrator for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, served as the keynote speaker for the event. Miller spoke on seven keys of leading with civility.

First, he said a good leader leads by example. In a world where it is easy for people to tear others down in a mob mentality where they feel it is Ok to say anything, Miller said it is important to “be the example Christ asked us to be.”

Miller’s second step was to lead by communication, being sure to listen to others and to be honest with them. He said in a world of seven-second sound bites it is important to think about what kind of message one is sending out.

“What is your seven seconds going to be?” he asked.

Third, Miller said it is important to praise others. He challenged those in attendance to go out of their way to find and share positive stories and to praise the people with whom they are in contact.

Miller said it is also important to protect and defend the people who others are not civil toward. He used the example of his daughter starting high school. He said she was very shy and introverted, so he worried about her on her first day of school. However, as she started at a new school away from her friends, two upperclassmen sat beside her during lunch to make her feel welcome.

“They were protecting her,” he said.

While some might say civility is the avoidance of confrontation, Miller said one of the most important steps is to confront those behaving in an uncivilized manner.

“Tell them what they are doing is not acceptable. It is demeaning and it needs to stop,” he said.

The sixth step in Miller’s process is to encourage others. He said encouraging involves being a relationship builder, not divider; a confidence builder, not a confidence cutter; and an energy builder, not an energy zapper.

“Come in every day, whatever you are doing, and give your best effort,” Miller said.
He concluded by saying leading with civility includes having an attitude of service toward others and remembering that while everyone plays a different role, they all have equal value.

“Each one of us as we start impacting the circle around us, can make a huge difference in this world,” Miller said. “One athlete of character can change a team. One team of character can change and institution. One institution of character can change a community. And one community of character can start changing a region.