Dr. Kaye Bernard McGarry (LC 8)

Leadership Charlotte Class:  8

Title/Company:  Educational Consultant

Hometown:  Charlotte, NC for 48 years

Education: University of South Florida–B.A. Business Administration; University of North Carolina at Charlotte–M.Ed. Guidance and Counseling; Northeastern University–Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

If you could describe your Leadership Charlotte experience in a few words or phrases what would they be? 

Exploring and discovering community.  Seeking and accepting leadership roles.  Providing purpose, focus, and depth.

What’s a lesson that you learned through LC that has stuck with you and why?

Leadership Charlotte Class VIII, 1986, helped me focus on seeking and accepting leadership roles. At the time I applied and was accepted into this 10-month program, I was raising four children, ages 9, 12, 15, and 17. I wanted my volunteer work to be more than just busy work. Some of it needed to have a broader purpose that would have some depth in the extent it helped others in my community. On my diploma it stated that graduates of Leadership Charlotte “have shown concern and interest in the Charlotte community and a willingness to assume a leadership role.” This experience helped me explore my community, discover the many needs, and search for a place where I could contribute in a leadership role. By observing how a city works, the various elected offices, the volunteers needed for all the non-profit organizations, the corporate community, the academic community, etc.  I began to see how it all fit together. I then analyzed and pondered how it could work better and then the big part was what I could do about that to make it a better place to live and work and raise a family. I was also curious to learn about people different from myself, yet celebrate the commonalities we all had as citizens in the State of North Carolina, in the county of Mecklenburg, and the city of Charlotte.

In his book, Leadership in Organizations (2013, 8th edition), Yukl stated that research doesn’t agree on any one definition for leadership, but he posed the following working definition as: “Leadership is the process of influencing others to understand and agree about what needs to be done and how to do it, and the process of facilitating individual and collective efforts to accomplish shared objectives.”

Greatest personal accomplishment and why:

Much of the involvement that I have had since graduation from LC in seeking and accepting leadership roles, I attribute to LC. In 1998, I authored the book, A NEW BEGINNING…A Survival Guide for Parents of College Freshmen, and spent 12 years presenting seminars to College-bound high school students and parents on the transition from high school to college in North and South Carolina. From 1993-2005, I served as a member of the Board of Trustees at Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC), at a time when it grew from one to six campuses. With my background in both business and education, I have been able to use this as a strength while serving on the Mecklenburg County Board of Education as an at-large elected member from 2003-2011. The issues are very complex. I could understand the financials, the bottom-line, so to speak, with my business background and experience, but I could also empathize with the broader underlying issues in involving what is most important in the K-12 education process, our children and families, and our teachers, with my educational background. That served me well and earned me the respect of the greater Charlotte-Mecklenburg community.

I recently graduated from Northeastern University, Boston, MA, with a Doctor of Education degree. It was an awesome and incredible journey culminating in the defense and publication of my dissertation (Proquest Dissertations), An Examination of Perceived Employability Skills between Employers and College Graduates. I am a lifelong learner and want to continue to use my time, talent, and energy to help make a difference in people’s lives, particularly in the field of education.

What do you hope to be doing (differently) in five years?

I am currently exploring opportunities to utilize my educational background, experience on governing boards, and my passion for education. My goal is to earn an appointed seat on the University of North Carolina Board of Governors. 

Three of my favorite quotes, keeping the LC theme in mind:

~ Taken from John Quincey Adams: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

~ As a lifelong learner, I do believe, in the words of Goethe, “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”

~ In the words attributed to Helen Keller, “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do, so help me GOD!”

Thank you, Leadership Charlotte, for planting the seeds of leadership in my life. Some have sprouted; some are yet to sprout in the next chapter of my book of life!

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