This time last year, I was navigating my final issue as editor in chief of the Leadership Forum having no idea that 2020 would bring the greatest leadership challenge in generations to all of us. The COVID-19 global pandemic rolled through our institutions, and our colleagues led through medical, scientific, logistical, and emotional turbulence. Economic turmoil continues to threaten our systems and our neighbors. Then, like all other organizations in the United States, academic health care met racial injustice head on, as the killing of George Floyd and others ignited a long overdue reckoning. Through the year, the Leadership Forum continued to produce issues under the expert guidance of 2020 Editor-in-Chief David Margolius and 2021 Editor-in-Chief Maureen Lyons. I have had the opportunity to contribute to issues and reflect on the following leadership lessons I have learned while serving on the editorial staff:
- Leaders need sponsors. I was fortunate to participate in the 2015-2016 ACLGIM LEAD program, and was pleasantly surprised to receive an invitation to meet with April Fitzgerald and Neda Laiteerapong to discuss the Leadership Forum. April was a key member of the LEAD team and the editor of the Leadership Forum at the time. I will always be grateful that she believed in my ability to take on this new role and risked asking me to contribute.
- Leaders need mentors. Taking on an editorial role involved a steep learning curve for me, and I was very fortunate to have the excellent guidance of Neda Laiteerapong. Organized, creative, efficient, and decisive, Neda taught me many lessons about the role of editor. Through her, I also received valuable instruction helping me to become a better writer and fearless petitioner of ideas and content.
- Leaders do not exist without followers. In the case of the Leadership Forum, we exist to bring value to our readers. The many members of ACLGIM shape and inspire each issue, and the editors strive to highlight the tremendous work that each of you do in your many roles with ACLGIM, SGIM, and your home institutions.
- Leaders need a team. The Leadership Forum is only made possible by a team of talented individuals including the many contributing writers, ACLGIM presidents and officers, and especially the multi-talented, focused, and organized SGIM staff member Jillian Gann. The team approach allows for diversity of background and perspective—key ingredients for effective leadership. Dave and Maureen are the first editors selected through an open SGIM application process, and they met the many challenges of 2020 with dedication, passion, and heart. I am in awe of their capable leadership and know the Leadership Forum will continue to thrive under them with the addition of Lauren Block to the editorial team in the next issue.
As we continue to struggle through an unprecedented era in academic healthcare and in life, I feel reassured that publications like the Leadership Forum will steadfastly highlight the exceptional work of leaders who are forging the way. I look forward to applying these lessons learned from my time at the Leadership Forum to other aspects of my work, and to enriching the relationships I have made on this journey.
Thank you for reading!