Leadership Spotlight: Dr. Sherry Early

October 16, 2017

Each month WISA will showcase individuals on the WISA Leadership Team to allow members to get to know the women in executive positions in both a personal and professional capacity.

This spotlight will focus on Dr. Sherry Early, the Research & Scholarship Co-Chair. Dr. Early works full time as an Assistant Professor of Leadership Studies at Marshall University – South Charleston Graduate Campus.

Who has been the most influential in the development of your career? Why?

The person who has been the most influential in my career development is Dr. Susan R. Komives. She is not only a leadership genius, but she takes pride in having been a practitioner and a scholar like myself. But most of all, she is so kind, gracious, and humble even though she is incredibly well accomplished.

When you wake up in the morning, and you’re mentally preparing yourself for another day at work, what excites you the most?

What is most exciting for me as I prepare for the workday is engaging with my colleagues and students, cleaning out my emails, and producing some type of scholarly or service contribution.

What advice would you give to someone aspiring to move into a position similar to yours?

Women in the academe are still very much underrepresented. My advice for aspiring junior faculty members is to have very thick skin, fund publishing partners, be ambitious yet remain humble, and never sacrifice spending time with friends and family.

What are your thoughts on work/life balance? Is there such a thing? If so, how do you achieve it? 

I will approach this one from two angles. As a practitioner, you’re a worker bee surrounded by other worker bees in student affairs. So, it can be a challenge – particularly if you are trying to make a name for yourself at your institution and beyond. As a faculty member, regardless if you are tenure seeking or not, there can be pressure to excel in teaching, research, and service – particularly as a woman. However, I have found I need to incorporate staycations and vacations into my life in order to achieve work/life balance.

How has your experience in your role been impacted by identifying as a woman?

As a cisgender woman of color in a tenure-track faculty position, I feel the need to set an example by being ambitious and successful yet remain approachable so I can impact and mentor underrepresented individuals.

We hope you've enjoyed getting to know more about Dr. Early! If you have a question for Dr. Early regarding anything she mentioned above or her role on the WISA Leadership Team, please contact her directly at [email protected]

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