BeALifter Leadership Interview Series #2: Dr. Sandra Reid

BeALifter Leadership Interview Series: Sharing Leadership Lessons with Bruce Waller…

10 Questions from Leaders who make a difference!Leadership Interview Serries

Jim Rohn once said, “Your success in the next 5 years will be determined by the books you read and the people you meet.”

This is a testimony to my personal leadership growth over the past 20 years. I continue to learn each day by connecting with some of the most talented people in business. In this series, I want to add value to your leadership growth by introducing you to leaders that make impact as they share challenges, successes, and perspectives on their journey as a business leader or in their personal life. So lets get started…

Today, we are going to hear from Dr. Sandra Reid, Chair, Graduate Business Programs and MBA Program Director, Dallas Baptist University.

Dr Sandra Reid 2016

Dr. Sandra Reid has made impact in a variety of leadership positions from inspiring graduate students at Dallas Baptist University to serving as a volunteer leader for DallasHR, the largest SHRM chapter in Texas. Dr. Reid served as President in 2011, then went on to chair the Board of Trustees in 2014 and is currently serving as a Board of Trustees leadership team member focused on driving strategy to help elevate the organization for HR professionals in the DFW community.

Now, let’s hear from Dr. Sandra Reid:

1. Where did you grow up?

In Fort Worth…graduated from Richard High.

2. How did you get started in business/career?

My parents were entrepreneurs…unusually, my mother worked right after I was born so I never knew anything else…even my grandmother, in a very small west Texas town, was an early entrepreneur with making wedding dresses & finery for the elite then in to owning an exclusive type clothing shop in town…the wiring of entrepreneurs is to serve others, to look for business opportunities or ways to satisfy needs.. my other grandmother had a “beauty shop” as she tried to support herself and 2 boys by herself…business in the private sector was just all around me and part of my DNA.

3. Do you remember a challenge or life lesson that you had to overcome early in your career which made you a better leader?

Nothing is ever accomplished alone. No matter how badly I may want something, believe I’m right about something, if I can’t convince others to buy in to the vision of a better tomorrow as I see it what I want would just not matter. Never to ask what I was unwilling to do myself. Give a favor first, before you ask something of others. Vulnerability was very hard for me to learn, or rather to accept…I
already felt vulnerable…incompetent in so many ways so often to expose it, to acknowledge it…to even embrace it…was very hard. I believe this is really my perspective from being a woman leader in male worlds common to the airline industry and academic administration, too. I learned not to be a machine as the world is too full of that lack of passion, emotion, investment. Being a machine, too, made others around uncomfortable as it set unreal expectations that sooner or later could not be met. I guess what I have really described is a lifetime of lessons learned.

4. What was that moment when you knew that you had found your lane, your purpose?

The first time someone told me they “could not have done it without me. They had wanted to give up on xyz, but they knew they could do it because of my “investment” in them.” Because of the faith in them I had shown. I’ve had 2 really distinct careers in leadership, one in the airline industry and the one I have today in the business of higher education. Hearing this in both places has reinforced to me the power in serving others so they can be the best they can be…being in the relationship, the engagement of leadership….and the incredibly amazing things that can be accomplished when unique gifts & talents come together to maximize impact by weaving all together.

5. What is your most favorite achievement in your current role?

Connecting high potential graduate alumni with their dream career paths and watching their success! Having corporate HR leaders give me a high 5 in relation to these extraordinary hires…having the flexibility to really hear what is unique about the person in front of me & to be able to help them in that same spirit of uniqueness…our mission which is also my passion is to produce servant leaders. I have many of all ages, nationalities & they universally want to go out to make a better life for themselves, their families, and all those with whom they come in to contact…so every graduation day is a huge achievement I share knowing they will be called to the farthest corners of the world. If I’ve made a tiny difference in them, I’m grateful. I have a wonderful team, most of them are graduate students, who I have for what feels like a very brief moment. It is my joy, responsibility, to also not forget they are going out to do purposeful work in the not too distant future, and to pour in to them as best I can, to invest in the future of the world now through the ones in my care for this brief moment…to lead them to being the best they can be. I have got to be the best model of leadership I can be for them. A highlight of my life has been serving as a volunteer leader with the DallasHR organization. We are an organization that stays true toits core values, leads its members to do purposeful work, and lives out its mission of enhancing the value of HR for the professional and the community. Surrounded by the most amazing people, serving with an inspirational purpose, and striving for excellence in all we do, as part of an organization that is celebrating its 75th year, with the opportunities I’ve had to be involved in committees, to be a director, DHR President, and in leadership with the BOT? It just doesn’t get any more rewarding than that!

6. Is there any one person that inspired or mentored you along the way?

My grandmother! She taught me to serve, to love others, to take care of my own family, and that I could be anything I really wanted to be! I am also grateful to my own father who taught me entrepreneurial thinking in absolutely every aspect of my life. I admit to having never appreciated either enough!

7. Do you have a saying or mantra that you live by?

Serve others to be the best they can be first for there is no other way your own potential can ever be realized.

8. What book are you reading or audio to help grow your leadership right now?

I’m reading work by the retired National Geographic photographer, Sam Abell. There are so many parallels between the art of both photography and leadership. Sam’s position is to compose and wait. Compose the setting and wait for the subject; to be “intimate” with the outcome, involved and leaning in, not out. Strive for good for it is through good that you find great. His written words are like listening to the music of a great musician, or rather they are like hearing a great visionary. If I picked one it might be the Photographic Life. I like the illumination of thought that comes from something so totally different than one’s typical daily life. Great leaders are great teachers and Sam Abell is definitely a great teacher.

9. Can you sharer any of your daily disciplines that help you stay focused as a leader?

I love DarrenDaily! Powerful, simple, quick! I participate in a small round table sort of group who all share when something especially resonates with us personally. It is a quick “shot” of relationship, connectedness, engagement, support. I find this very energizing and inspiring. I can’t wait to find out what the current day’s message will bring.

10. What advice would you give others to help them on their leadership journey?

Never stop learning!

Thank you for sharing your wisdom, Dr. Sandra Reid. Lots of takeaways include; Serve first, nothing can be accomplished alone, and never stop learning… These are actions we can all put into our daily discipline to grow our leadership. THANK YOU!

What are you doing for leadership growth? Please share, or recommend others to be featured in this leadership series. It can make a difference!

Bruce Waller, CRP, PHR, SHRM-CP is the Vice President of Armstrong Relocation and Companies in Dallas, Texas. You can visit his BLOG “A Relocation Minute Update” with Bruce Waller at for more information on employee relocation resources, call 972-389-5673, or email Follow @brucewaller on Twitter too!

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