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We’re incredibly excited to welcome incoming Professor Elizabeth Leiba to Presidio Graduate School. I recently sat down with her to learn more about her journey, why she decided to teach at Presidio, and what she’s most excited for her students to take away from her course. Here is our conversation.

Maggie: What attracted you to join the faculty at Presidio Graduate School? 

Elizabeth Leiba headshotPresidio’s mission and program are so in sync with everything I believe in and everything that’s important to me personally. In the last year, I have become vocal and outspoken as a social justice warrior and have used my platform to advocate for equity and change in education, healthcare, the workplace, the criminal justice system, and every other area of society.

Presidio’s mission to educate changemakers to build a flourishing future for all resonates with exactly how I live my truth as an educator for the past decade and as a social justice advocate across any platforms I have available to me nationally and locally. I have a responsibility to use my voice to change the world and make it a better place for the next generation.

Maggie: What are the main takeaways you hope your students will carry with them? 

The main takeaway I always think about in advocating for social justice is for everyone to operate within their own spheres of influence. All of us have a role to play as changemakers. But we don’t have to change the world in one day or even on a national level initially. We can all operate in our respective spheres of influence. That may be in our home with our family members or children. It may be in the workplace or our local communities. Like ripples on a pond, we can all start to make an impact on the greater society at large.

Maggie: What are you most excited for them to learn? 

I’m most excited for students to learn about the importance and power of their own individual voices. I can’t emphasize that enough! When it comes to societal change, there tends to be a pervasive narrative about how large and ongoing these problems are. But conversely, I think about the power of one person. As my hero John Lewis said, if you see something, say something. Do something! We can all start “good trouble.” Doing so will create the change we are all looking for.

Maggie: Our public and private sectors urgently need a new type of leadership to bring us into a flourishing future. What mindset and skills do public and private sector leaders need now? How does your course shape the type of leaders the world needs today and tomorrow? 

I believe our public and private sectors need leaders who are empathetic, aware, and intentional. I think for a long time, there was an emphasis on profits and outcomes. But what many leaders have failed to realize is that you can’t have those outcomes without people. People are the core of any successful business endeavor and understanding how to manage with that in mind is essential.

My course will shape the types of leaders the world needs by delving into the characteristics of intentional leadership through a diversity lens. By understanding what that looks like, we can determine practical ways to implement those practices in the workplace and throughout society.

Maggie: What would you like to say to people who are considering earning a degree at Presidio? Why should they come here?

Come to a school that is focused on social justice, change, sustainability, and creating leaders who will forge a better society and world for all of us! I’m looking forward to being a part of a learning community dedicated to those amazing efforts and grateful for the opportunity to continue making change.

Want to learn from other distinguished leaders and activists like Elizabeth Leiba? Explore our Master of Public Administration, Master of Business Administration, Dual MBA/MPA Degree program, and Certificates, and get in touch to start a conversation.

About the Author / Maggie Winslow

Dr. Winslow is a founding faculty member of Presidio Graduate School, where she spent nine years teaching managerial economics and macroeconomics through an ecological economics lens and serving as MBA Program Chair and Academic Dean. In 2012, she moved to the University of San Francisco, where she managed the MS in Environmental Management and the undergraduate Environmental Studies program. In 2016, she created and founded the MS in Energy Systems Management program, an interdisciplinary program focused on supporting the transition to the clean energy economy. Until 2021, she was the Program Director and Professor of Energy Systems Management, teaching Renewable Energy Economics, Renewable Energy Finance, and Quantitative Methods. In January of 2021, she returned to PGS as the Academic Dean. Her research interests span renewable energy, sustainability, democracy, social justice, and ecological economics.

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