Tag Archives: Jodi Koslow-Martin

Making it Right After Getting it “Wrong”

by: Sara Hinkle, Jennifer R. Keup, & Jodi Koslow Martin

As we have referenced before, this blog is the descendant of an ongoing Women’s Leadership Book Club in which most of the regular #SAFeminist contributors engage. Our most recent book selection literally started with the daunting questions “When did you make a mistake in your career and what did you learn from it?” The rest of the book, aptly titled Mistakes I Made at Work: 25 Influential Women Reflect on What They Got Out of Getting it Wrong, is dedicated to sharing the stories told in response to that question for a number of female leaders from a wide range of professions, including Kim Gordon (bassist and founding member of Sonic Youth), Ruth Reichl (La Times and New York Times food critic, author, and editor of Gourmet magazine), Carol S. Dweck (Stanford psychology professor and motivation researcher), and Dr. Cori Lathan (Founder and CEO of the engineering research and design firm, AnthroTronix).

Reading the very real, sometimes embarrassing, occasionally painful stories was a fascinating and enlightening experience. Especially because it was such a raw insight into the taboo topic of women making mistakes, for which we rarely allow or forgive ourselves due to stringent and typically unrealistic expectations of women that are often self-inflicted but socially endorsed. Continue reading Making it Right After Getting it “Wrong”

Looking for a Job in Student Affairs? Show Your Potential

by Jodi Koslow Martin

Last week, I stayed late after work for a panel discussion on immigration, hosted by our Office of Diversity. Two of the speakers on the panel are current faculty members at my newest employee’s graduate school. NE (New Employee) is finishing up his dissertation, in his early thirties, and has been married for a couple of years. I asked NE if he wanted to go to dinner before the panel discussion and invited his spouse to join us. The restaurant I chose was near their apartment so I drove NE and his spouse met us there. In the car, NE noted that if we were in the late 1950’s, Mad Men era I would be a man and we would likely be going to his house where his wife would likely have made dinner for us. NE is right…this picture would have likely looked different 60 years ago. My gender was a noticeable factor in the context of this situation.

While I could write many blog posts on Mad Men gender politics (and how the residual effects are still subtly alive and well), I want to note how I appreciated that NE noticed the context of the situation, and that he was able to do so in an appropriate-for-the-moment way. Continue reading Looking for a Job in Student Affairs? Show Your Potential

Musings of a Vice President



By Jodi Koslow Martin

One of the pleasures of reading a blog is to get to know its author. If you read consistently enough, you get a sense of who she is and seeing if her experiences align with yours.  It’s been fun for those of us writing this blog to see what gets shared, what gets comments, and what gets people thinking.

To share a bit more about myself, I am coming up on finishing my first full year as a vice-president. There is a part of me that wants to write, “well, I work at a small school so it’s not a real vice-president position.” What? How about that for listening to nothing my co-bloggers have written so far? Then, there’s another part of me that wants to share with you that this year as a vice-president has been so different from every other year of my career. Vice presidents are the people I used to talk about…all the time. I used to analyze what they thought, what they did, what they said, what I thought they believed. Ugh. How is it possible that anyone would care to give serious thought to what I think? Who am I? And again…am I even reading this blog? But, then, I think again. I’ve worked towards this position and I’m proud to have it. Right?!?! Damn straight. The job fits my skill set and my love for higher education. I often think using the word “passion” for working with college students is overused; I, on the other hand, have a love for higher ed. I believe in it for its transformational power and am committed to it in spite its imperfections. Look at that. I’m in a committed relationship with higher education.

My friend, Jennifer Keup, recently posted her review of the book, Composing a Life. I love the idea of “composing a life.” We are all composing our lives. As we think about composing our careers in higher education, we may find that we thread together a bunch of experiences (and sew them up into a neat resume) and discover where we make the greatest of contributions in higher education. I’m finding that leadership in higher education comes together in large parts in the meetings we have, in the tones of our voices, and in making appearances. In Composing a Life, Bateson spends some time reflecting upon an instance where someone mentioned the pastoral role of an academic dean. Her colleague was referring to the listening, consoling, counseling, and ministering parts of leadership rather than to a bucolic way of living life.  One day after I read this section, a colleague of mine offered me advice to try to be more pastoral with staff. Working on a Christian campus, being pastoral is something many are familiar with.  The term “pastoral” struck me, admittedly not in a positive way at first. Yet, it resonated with me how Bateson managed to put the pastoral comment in context; she offered that being nurturing can include both concurring and agreeing with someone as well as offering a realistic version of the truth. She’s spot on. I’m continually striking the balance to sit next to someone and listen intently and quietly with clearly laying out my expectations and vision.

All of this is part of my reflection — a year into this job as vp — of my continual journey to be an authentic leader. I’ve mentioned authenticity a few times in past blogs and I still connect with the concept. It’s only in being most genuine do I find that people can trust you. Just last week, I made a new hire. I always begin interviews with candidates who will be direct reports with breakfast and then end the day with the candidate to assess what she or he has learned. One candidate recently told me at the end of the day, “So…you’re different.” Yes I am. There is only one way for me to be VP and it’s as me. I know no other way. I have to keep that in mind. And, I like being different. So much so that I hired the person who noticed.

To Cry or Not to Cry? That is the Question.

by Jodi Koslow-Martin

I cried at work last week. Not the “close your office door to release the tears of being overwhelmed” kind of cry… though those can be cathartic. Not the “I just found out something sad” cry. My tears were shed with my peers who, at this point, are other vice presidents and the president of my institution. In my career, the cries that I’ve experienced in front of someone who is, organizationally, at the same level or higher than me have been caused by the same reason. It’s injustice. Let me say that I don’t use the word “injustice” lightly. The reasons and the details in the moments I have shed tears are not the same but when I see what I perceive as unjust action at my workplace, my eyes and my cheeks get wet.

I would not classify myself as a crier. I worked at my last institution for almost 14 years and cried in front of my boss in that job twice. Once, I was upset a group of us were discussing an employee with some critique when I knew she had the evolving, unbearable reality of a child who was losing a battle with a terminal illness. Where is the justice, I thought, in critiquing a person job’s performance when she was living life’s worse nightmare?

Continue reading To Cry or Not to Cry? That is the Question.

Fill the Confidence Gap with Confident Hope

by Jodi Koslow Martin

I really like the magazine, The Atlantic. It delves deep into topics that are of interest to me and has some good writing. I’m a fan of Variety Fair, too, for the same reasons. It is The Atlantic, though, that retreats from the celebrity arena and instead has had some pretty interesting cover stories on women and gender. Ann-Marie Slaughter’s “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” Jean Twenge’s “How Long Can You Wait to Have a Baby?” And, now “The Confidence Gap” by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. If you are reading this blog, you likely have experienced the confidence gap. You may have refrained from applying for a job or pursuing a promotion because you thought you weren’t ready for said job or promotion. Then, when you got the job or promotion, you may have thought, “Wow, the candidate pool must have been pretty small.”  And, you have likely never said the following words: “Yeah, I got that job because I know I was better than everyone else.” The confidence gap is the idea that women have significantly less confidence than men. In turn, the argument that women aren’t at the upper echelons of power is due, in part, to our lack of confidence.

This idea reminds me of a meeting I was in this week. I was at the table with all the vice presidents of the university (I am one of them) and the president. The only other female vice president was not there. I noticed it instantly. Continue reading Fill the Confidence Gap with Confident Hope

Feminism of Today and Faith from Long Ago

by Jodi Koslow Martin

I’ve always, for as long as I can remember, been drawn to the story of Mary the mother of Jesus. It could have been playing her in the 3rd grade Christmas play that ended with the big finale – not the birth of Christ, as you’d expect, but rather the entire class singing Bette Midler’s The Rose. Even after I took off the pillowcase sewn into a veil for my starring role, Mary and her story have stayed with me even into adulthood.

All of my favorite biblical stories involve Mary. The angel Gabriel telling her she’s going to be a mom.  “Are you kidding me?” is essentially her first response. Mary telling Jesus to fill up the wine glasses at the wedding at Cana. “Mom, it’s not time.” “Yes, it is. I’m your mother and know best.” I’m paraphrasing, of course, but her responses are always so authentic.  It’s Mary’s visit to Elizabeth that I think about often.  Two women, both pregnant, one as the older mentor to the young girl. Continue reading Feminism of Today and Faith from Long Ago