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The EveryLeader

What is leadership?

Mark A. Hussey, Ph.D Vice Chancellor and Dean for Agriculture and Life Sciences

At its core, leadership is bringing others together to accomplish a common goal. Across Texas A&M AgriLife, our common goal is to promote education, research, service and extension in local communities and beyond ­– that’s the land-grant mission this institution was founded on, and the mission we still carry passionately today.

Why lead?

In my eyes, the answer is simple – to have a positive impact on Texas, the nation and the world. We are all a part of the Texas A&M University System because we want to make a difference. We want to feed the world, improve health, enrich our youth, grow our economy and protect the environment. Good leaders are essential to keeping that impact vibrant. If we all try to take a back seat, we will inevitably find ourselves on a road to nowhere.

To give our employees as many paths to excellence as possible, I have implemented several leadership programs over the past few years, such as the Administrative Leadership Development Program (ALDP), the Advanced Leadership Program and the Emerging Leaders Conference. These programs are designed to help participants develop the knowledge, management and skills needed to become an AgriLife leader.

As a participant of the AgriLife Advanced Leadership Program Cohort I, Susan Ballabina of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service took what she learned and initiated a unique partnership for an in-school nutrition and physical activity program called Fuel Up to Play 60.

“My experiences in the class challenged me to think carefully about how food, health and agriculture all fit together. A recent illustration of thinking bigger and working across disciplines took place in February as we kicked-off an initiative with Family and Consumer Sciences, 4-H and Youth Development, Dairy MAX and the National Football League in support of the Fuel Up To Play 60 Program to reduce childhood obesity. We announced this partnership through a high-visibility press conference and 5K fitness event which featured Sean Lee of the Dallas Cowboys. When we use the strengths of our land-grant system, and think big about our opportunities for impact, great things happen!”

A call for the EveryLeader.

My challenge to each of you is to empower yourselves and others to lead. It is to everyone’s benefit to instill interest in leadership in our colleagues and students – to lure the most competent, impassioned and effective leaders into paths that will ensure this institution’s impact for many years to come.

Leaders are more than just managers… they are visionaries; they are innovators; they are motivators. Leaders come in many forms and have a variety of styles. We all bring something special to the table. So the question isn’t who should lead; it’s what type of leader am I?

If you are interested in joining any of our leadership development programs, you can learn more by clicking here. What will your impact be today?


Mark A. Hussey, Ph.D
Vice Chancellor and Dean for Agriculture and Life Sciences

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