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Remaining Rooted In Your Why With The MAAC’s Jessica Grasso & UNT’s Jessie Gardner

Guest Jessica Grasso, MAAC; Jessie Gardner, University of North Texas
25:37 min watch


MAAC Deputy Commissioner Jessica Grasso and University of North Texas Executive Senior Associate AD for Leadership and Culture Development/SWA Jessie Gardner sit down with ADU’s Tai M. Brown at the 2023 Women Leaders Convention to reflect on the evolution of their respective leadership philosophies and how they seek to impact future generations of leaders. Gardner shares her “People, Passion, Purpose” leadership statement and the impact of mentors on her growth in the industry. Grasso explains her “Leading Beyond The W” philosophy, emphasizing the importance of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into leading a department or conference office. The trio also discuss the trickle-down effect of leadership, leading by example and operating from a big picture perspective.

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

  • - As you grow as an administrator, you can get responsibilities that pull you further away from student-athletes; how has that affected your core inner purpose of working in college athletics?
  • - How about for you Jessica?
  • - Does it help scratch that itch to develop student-athletes when you have the chance to hire and develop staff in terms of becoming leaders?
  • - Are there things in the past that have helped you develop who you are as a leader? Do you have any stories that have fed into your growth as a leader?
  • - When you think about your mentors, were there specific examples of how they led that helped you develop how you lead now or were there things that they specifically taught you?
  • - Jessica, what were some inflection points that helped develop your leadership philosophy?
  • - How would you explain "leading beyond the W" to someone just coming into the Jessica Grasso sphere of influence?
  • - How would you work, within your leadership philosophy, with a coach, administrator or constituent whose priorities are more focused on wins and losses?
  • - Jessie, tell us about your leadership statement or philosophy and how it has evolved since you created it.
  • - How do you remain rooted in your philosophy when you face the challenges of leadership?
  • - How do you see yourself evolving as a leader? What do you want to work on, to improve as a leader?
  • - How about for you Jessie?