CUNY Leaders On Leadership: A Talk with Senior Vice Chancellor and Board Secretary, Jay Hershenson

March 1, 2013

Students from the Malave Leadership Academy (MLA) and the CUNY Council for Students with Disabilities (CCSD) enjoyed a unique opportunity and talk on Friday March 1st at John Jay College. Senior Vice Chancellor and Secretary of the Board Jay Hershenson greeted the group as the inaugural speaker in a proposed series of lectures titled “CUNY Leaders On Leadership.” The planned talks with students seek to engage and educate the next generation of leaders from among the student body, and expose them to lessons learned and the career experiences of exemplary University professionals.

Following a networking lunch, students were treated to highlights of SVC Hershenson’s career experiences, including the mentoring he provided to the late former Vice Chancellor Ernesto Malave, and his personal philosophy of leadership that stresses the importance of:

• expressing gratitude and appreciation by openly recognizing the contributions of others in your collaborations;

• possessing humility (also considered a political asset);

• stepping back at times and letting someone else be the first to voice your ideas, remembering it may help gain support and buy-in of your ideas if others first initiate the topic; and

• asking others you respect for advice, and remembering sometimes to take advice, another good way to get idea buy-in.

SVC Hershenson urged students to “step up and provide your A-game,” advising them that the three keys to success in advocacy and leadership are “Persistence, Persistence and Persistence.”

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Frank Sanchez also provided remarks earlier in the program. He shared his resolve to help students develop their skills and abilities and to expose them to ways of thinking differently about the world and its possibilities. Other senior staff members in attendance from the Central Office of Student Affairs (COSA) included University Assistant Dean Chris Rosa and MLA Director Kevin Tucker as well as MLA staff and students from the CCSD.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the luncheon talk with Senior Vice Chancellor Hershenson who so graciously shared his experience in leadership. I was touched to the core when he talked about how many of us are diamonds in the rough. This spoke to me because of the process in which a diamond is made, with high pressure and care until the diamond is formed.” – JP Villa, Brooklyn College

“I was deeply inspired by Senior Vice Chancellor Hershenson’s speech on leadership. He talked about how he used a simple and direct line of communication to achieve a goal. Senior Vice Chancellor Hershenson challenged what seemed to be a difficult situation which created social change for the students. This style of leadership is one that I would like to emulate as I continue to develop my leadership skills.” – Dorothy Williams Wallen, Lehman College