My Personal Ethos of Leadership

My institution recently lost a great leader, Joshua Feldstein. He was an alum, faculty member, administrator, our seventh president, and a trustee. He was passionately involved with Delaware Valley University for over 75 years until he passed at age 97.  

He was so proud that I was the first woman president of DelVal. You see, when he was president, he opened the doors to women at DelVal in the 1960s. He said, “To teach is to mold minds and to influence people forever. If you don’t extend an opportunity, they will never be able to accomplish what they could.” 

Over the course of my career and through the mentorship of generous people like Feldstein, I have developed a personal ethos of leadership. And the overarching truism of it is authenticity.

To be your authentic, true self is to model strength through vulnerability and compassion, to inspire teamwork and innovation through a willingness to share credit and reward risk, and to demonstrate that success is based in our flawed humanity, not unreachable perfection. 

So like Feldstein, open doors and extend opportunities to those who look, think, feel, and decide differently—it is not only acceptable, but preferable.

Maria Gallo, President, Delaware Valley University