When Paul Kotz, Ph.D., Ed.D. leadership core associate professor, released his inspirational book this spring, he didn’t anticipate the timely nature of the message, or the corresponding thirst for the stories of leadership and resilience with today’s challenges.
The book, “Profiles in Kindness: Stories of Inspiration and Everyday Leadership,” is filled with anecdotes of seeing the good in the midst of adversity, having difficult conversations when needed, and realizing that we all have strengths and something distinct to offer.
“I was encouraged to write this book as a follow up to my earlier publication, ‘Something Happened Today’,” Dr. Kotz shared. “This text is a little more on the serious side, asking how you deal with adversity and how you can do some kind things in very simple moments. It may be as simple as reaching out to a tired mother with three active children at the grocery store. You have done something remarkable in my mind. While you might wonder why that is something worth applauding, that reflects an act of servant leadership.”
Dr. Kotz addressed the role of resilience and what it looks like as the nation faces unrest and instability, “Resilience to me is the ability to adapt to life’s challenges in a more graceful manner. Earlier in life, it’s about survival. As I’ve matured, I can say that plenty of it is about making mistakes, being able to adapt and reflect on things you learned in the past, and identify what you don’t want in your life. You experimented and sampled earlier in life. You can get smarter if you identify how you will apply those experiences in the future.”
While no one could have anticipated the convergent timing of the COVID pandemic and the heightened Black Lives Matter movement, he addressed how appropriate this book’s message is for the Saint Mary’s community and the Saint Mary’s Twin Cities Campus, located in the heart of the Phillips neighborhood.
“The Phillips neighborhood has been identified as one of the most diverse communities in the United States, reflecting a mix of residents and a variety of industries. My students come from many walks of life, from all over the world. They have made so many sacrifices, and I strongly believe they can use their gifts to thrive and lead in a grand manner. Leading in a grand manner can be those multiple small incidents when the actions of servant leadership make our homes and society better.”
Dr. Kotz concluded, “Everyone needs to be recognized by fellow human beings and know you have relevance. Ralph Waldo Emerson said our chief desire in life is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be. That is fundamental to who I am as an educator. I hope this recent narrative assists people in bringing this resolution into their daily lives and relationships”.