Insights to Action: How Ross Leaders Academy Alums Are Putting Their Skills to Work

by | Aug 28, 2018 | Ross Leaders Academy

It’s only been four months since we wrapped up last year’s Ross Leaders Academy (RLA) and said “good luck and go blue!” to the University of Michigan Class of 2018. Our talented alums are already putting their insights into action and making a big difference in the workplace!

We checked back in with Dexter Moore, Jr. and Daryl Brown to see how RLA has impacted the start of their new careers. Our interview is below.

What are you up to since graduating?

DEXTER: Shortly after graduation, I relocated to Boston to participate in a summer fellowship with Education Pioneers. During that time, I worked with Boston Public Schools’ system-level leadership team to design a strategic implementation plan for social and emotional learning across the district. This fall, I’ll begin a program management role with the University of Michigan’s School of Education. In that capacity, I’ll be supporting the school’s effort in building strategic and sustainable community partnerships in the city of Detroit.

DARYL: I started my post-MBA career at the Dow Chemical Company as the North American Regional Sales Manager in Dow Home & Personal Care. In my role, I manage a team of account managers and work to increase revenue and improve the customer experience.

How has RLA uniquely prepared you to be successful in your current endeavors?

DEXTER: During my time at Michigan, RLA was a gem. It exposed me to an innovative framework that pushed me to reflect and reimagine my personal and professional leadership practices. RLA also connected me with current and aspiring change-makers across academic disciplines. In my group alone (shoutout to team one!), I shared learning with leaders from the public health, information science, and business sectors.

Most importantly, RLA provided me with invaluable time to pause, reflect, and revisit the reasons why I’m so driven to equity, justice, and transformative education for communities that are most marginalized and under-resourced.

DARYL: I participated in RLA to learn more about my authentic leadership style, but I did not expect to lead a team right after graduation. When I joined RLA, my goal was to prepare myself for future “people leader” roles, but I had no idea that would be a people leader in my first role! My experience in RLA has helped me tremendously because, through RLA, I now understand my authentic leadership style and what it means to truly be a servant leader.

What are the most important lessons/insights you gained from RLA that you frequently revisit?

DEXTER: EMPATHY. In today’s society, I think we oversimplify both the true definition and the true value of really understanding someone else’s experience… Not for what we perceive, or want it to be, but for what that individual believes it to be. One of my memorable RLA moments was when I listened to another student who intimately reflected on her complicated relationship with her father. Hearing the reflections of a stranger through a headset forced me to listen in ways that I may not have otherwise. I remember closing my eyes and trying to visualize the story being told, and the implications of the past on the present and future. When the storyteller and I finally had a chance to meet, I realized that she also heard my reflection. I spoke about fear, injustice, and invisibility. Our stories could not have been more different, but when my partner and I had a chance to meet, what connected us was our intent to listen and to understand; even if we could do nothing to change each other’s circumstances. In a solution-oriented world, I realized that sometimes just being heard is enough to keep people moving forward.

DARYL: Some of the most significant insights I gained from RLA are that leaders live their purpose and make values-aligned choices. Since graduating, I continue to revisit my leadership legacy statement to inspire me to never stop developing my leadership skills.

How has reflection remained a part of your journey post-RLA?

DEXTER: For better or worse, reflection is something that I often cannot get away from. I’m always calculating my next decision and assessing the contributing factors that led me to be where I am. The value of RLA for a reflective person like myself is that it focused my process. For example, during my time in Boston this summer, I knew exactly what I wanted and needed to get out of my experience—both personally and professionally. In the past, I likely would have scripted these goals in my mind, and revisited them whenever they came back to my attention. That could have been during my flight back to Detroit, or while laying on the couch watching Power. Instead, what I did was create a “running document” that outlined my summer goals, reflections, and accomplishments. Every two weeks, I revisited this document and annotated my experiences while they were still fresh. I thought about the things that contributed to me successfully “checking off” a goal, or the barriers that prevented me from accomplishing what I had hoped. I also regularly re-assessed my summer goals and critically reflected on how and where they fit into my long-term interests. Looking back at this document makes me smile; not because I accomplished everything I said I would, but because I now have a place to chart the random musings that often float across my mind.

DARYL: “Self-excavation”, which is an important aspect of the RLA experience, is now a major part of my journey. RLA taught me that my development as a leader first starts from within. I will continue to use reflection as a mechanism to pull valuable life lessons from my personal and professional experiences so that I can continue to evolve as a person and a leader.

We are always inspired to hear how RLA alum put their learnings into action! If you are an RLA alum, we’d love to hear how you’ve been doing since graduation!

Interested in becoming a Ross Leaders Academy fellow? Applications for the 2018-2019 year are open until September 19, 2018. 

The 2017-2018 RLA Cohort and facilitators during the Closing Celebration at Deloitte in April 2018

The Ross Leaders Academy (RLA) is the Sanger Leadership Center’s premier leadership development community for select students across campus. During the year-long program, 50 students make leadership development a primary focus of their Michigan experience. RLA is sponsored by the Deloitte Foundation.

Daryl Brown

Daryl Brown, MBA, Michigan Ross, April 2018. Currently: North American Regional Sales Manager in Dow Home & Personal Care


Dexter Moore

Dexter Moore, Jr.,  M.A. Educational Leadership and Policy, School of Education, April 2018. Currently: Special Programs Manager, Detroit School Partnership at the University of Michigan