Leadership Learnings with Dana H. Born, Ph.D.

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A Conversation with Dana H. Born, Ph.D., Brigadier General, USAF Retired
Co-Director, Center for Public Leadership, Chair, Senior Executive Fellows (SEF) Program, Lecturer in Public Policy

 

Dana Born, the Immediate Past President of the Massachusetts Women’s Forum is a leader of leaders. Holding a Doctor of Philosophy degree in industrial and organizational psychology from Pennsylvania State University, Born has a long history of social science education. Combined with nearly 30 years of military service, Born is an effective leader and has applied this knowledge to a multitude of positions throughout her career. At the beginning of her journey, Dana became the first woman to hold the presidentially appointed position of Dean of Faculty at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Currently, Dana works at the Harvard Kennedy School where she holds the position of co-director for the Center for Public Leadership. At Harvard, Dana has built a legacy as an educator, teaching leadership to students and fellows from all around the world. Dana’s background as a leader and her incredible knowledge of female professional development made her the perfect president of the Massachusetts Women’s Forum in 2017 and 2018. 

     We recently had an opportunity to speak with her and reflect on her career. 

     

Q: Looking back through your career accolades, what has been your proudest moment thus far?

DANA: “Professionally, having had the extraordinary privilege of leading and serving alongside this country’s best, brightest and bravest men and women in service to our nation for thirty years. Personally, the raising of two beautiful daughters also dedicated to serving in the military and having a close-knit family grounded by love, faith, and friendships.” 

     

Q: Throughout your life, and your career, what has been the most effective piece of advice you’ve received? 

DANA: “In the long run, you will be judged only by your character…as without that, it doesn’t matter how high up the corporate ladder you’ve climbed, how much money you’ve earned, or how many awards you’ve received. You will be remembered not by WHAT you accomplish in life…but by HOW you accomplish it.” 

     

Q: Work like yours is not for the faint of heart. What has been your driver all of these years — what has kept you going?

DANA: “As Winston Churchill once said, ‘You make a living by what you get, you make a life by what you give.’ My drive over the years has been inspired by those I have had the privilege of serving for – dedicating themselves to making a life instead of a living.”

     

Q: How has this mission-driven you to the Massachusetts Women’s Forum?

DANA: “I have been the beneficiary of, and am now a huge proponent of the sacred obligation each of us has to pay it forward to the next generation and/or those less fortunate than ourselves. The MWF provides an ideal community enabling us to do just this. We are women of power and influence. We support and co-mentor women leaders, champion future trailblazers, and advance a better world. We are a community of dauntless women who share intimate connections, conversations of substance, and contributions to a better world.”

     

At nearly every point in her career, Dana Born has worked selflessly to protect, serve and better those around her. Whether they are her students, friends or colleagues, a woman who knows Dana Born is an empowered woman. It is our privilege to call her a member and a part of our community at MWF. 

Massachusetts Women’s Forum
Madison Shaw, Communications Associate
May 2019