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Preparing For The Big Chair With LSU’s Keli Zinn

Guest Keli Zinn, LSU
15:17 min watch


LSU Executive Deputy AD/Chief Operating Officer Keli Zinn sits down with ADU’s Tai M. Brown at the 2023 Women Leaders in Sports Convention to discuss the evolution of leadership as a senior administrator prepares for the Big Chair. Zinn breaks down the strategies she tapped into when transitioning from West Virginia to LSU, including how she got to know a 350-person staff and how she established alignment with new AD Scott Woodward. Zinn emphasizes the importance of autonomy and shares how she deliberately empowers her staff.

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

  • - Tell me about working with a new AD and understanding the culture of a new department while also coming in as a new person on staff who has the seniority and authority to make decisions.
  • - What was your process for getting to know your staff and letting them get to know you?
  • - How many people did you try to get to know in your first six months?
  • - What was your strategy for studying people before you come in, to make sure you know key members of your staff?
  • - Did you surprise people with the depth of your knowledge about them and their roles?
  • - What was your process for establishing a relationship and alignment with your new AD?
  • - As you've grown as a leader, do you lead others in a way that grants them the maximum amount of autonomy in their respective roles?
  • - When you come into a new place and there's automatic alignment between expectations and empowerment, do you see and feel relief from your new staff?
  • - How are you prepping for being an AD or organizational leader - a role that is almost impossible to truly be prepared for until you've experienced it?