NEW ORLEANS - The Alliance for Diversity & Excellence (ADE), an organization that advocates for quality schools and offers support and mentorship for educators, continues their "Leaders Who Inspire Us," digital campaign. The campaign highlights educational leaders who are guiding and influencing other educators in their field. This month, ADE recognizes Troave’ Profice, Chief Executive Officer of Bricolage Academy.
1. How do you encourage creative thinking within your organization?
Oftentimes, you'll hear me "ban" words from meetings, words, and phrases such as "but" or "I want to pushback." However, I encourage my team members to replace those words and phrases with "yes and..."
We're so busy trying to prove our idea is the best that we thwart the ideation process. Saying "yes and..." is a simple exercise in getting self out of the way, accepting another person's perspective or idea, and saying to yourself, "You know what, I'm going to build on what you just said and/or offered." This process doesn't always produce an earth-shattering, amazing idea, but it always reveals a new idea or a different way of thinking that we had not explored before.
2. Name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as an educational leader.
There are so many. Mrs. Gail Parson, Mr. Ted Irving, Mrs. Diana White, Dr. Yvette Blake are just a few of the phenomenal Black educators that helped shaped me into who I am. They made learning exciting. They weren't afraid to show you that they truly cared, and sometimes that meant pushing you to reach heights you never thought imaginable. They motivated me and made me believe that I could truly be anything I wanted to be, regardless of my background and/or circumstances. I try to offer the same motivation for my students and all the families that I work with.
3. What are a few resources you would recommend to someone looking to gain insight into becoming a better leader in the educational sector?
Find time to educate yourself on the policies of the system in which you work. There's so much power in that information. You'll often find that that power will sustain you when you find yourself in a position to advocate for yourself and others. Also, consider connecting with organizations like ADE. This is soul-work, and it's not easy to do alone. It would help if you had the support of like-minded individuals to see you through.
4. What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time or looking to pursue a leadership role?
Ask yourself, “Why?" and honestly assess your answer. If it's not rooted in love for the children of this city, then consider other ways you might be able to make a difference. Leadership is difficult and it's often thankless. You are typically the last thanked and the first to make sacrifices. If you don't approach this work with the purest intentions, it will show, one way or another.
5. Why do you think it's important for Black educators to participate in leadership programs such as Alliance for Diversity and Excellence?
Absolutely, it's important to connect with like-minded, proven leaders. There's no need to go at this alone when you have a team of people right here waiting and rooting for you to win.