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Intentional Leadership With Alabama’s Dr. Karin Lee & Clemson’s Natalie Honnen

Guest Dr. Karin Lee, Alabama; Natalie Honnen, Clemson
22:55 min watch


Alabama Deputy AD Dr. Karin Lee and Clemson Executive Senior Associate AD Natalie Honnen join ADU’s Steph Garcia Cichosz at the 2023 Women Leaders Convention to discuss intentionality as a leader and the importance of infusing purpose and presence into the fast-paced world of college athletics. Honnen points to the power of daily “joyful moments” to keep her aligned with her big picture purpose, noting that she spends more time reflecting versus goal setting, while Lee organically creates daily “action plans” to stay focused on making Alabama Athletics better. Both Honnen and Lee credit their athletic directors for setting the tone of their respective departments, with Lee sharing how Alabama AD Greg Byrne inspires staff to take ownership and accountability of the department’s success and Honnen crediting Clemson AD Graham Neff for creating an inclusive, family-friendly culture for the Tigers.

The conversation is indexed below for efficient viewing (click the time stamp to jump to a specific question/topic).

  • - How do you navigate peer relationships while also climbing the career ladder to a senior leadership role?
  • - How do your athletic departments take on the personality of its leader?
  • - How have you carved out a niche for yourself as a leader?
  • - How do you continuously evaluate yourself as a leader - and how do you set goals for yourself? 
  • - How do you infuse purpose into everyday activities and tasks for your staff? How do you ensure they still feel fired up for those everyday tasks?
  • - How do you build a culture of trust with your staff, the coaches and student-athletes and with your AD?
  • - We're talking about who we are as leaders... so how do you bring that home? Do you have a process or ritual for taking off your Clemson or Alabama persona before you walk in the door or are you not able to separate that part of yourself?
  • - What is a hobby or interest totally unrelated to sports that you continue to cultivate?