The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

RLF Recap: ReThink Health Director Kate Hilton '99

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This ongoing series explores sessions of the Rockefeller Leadership Fellows (RLF) program. RLF provides fellows with resources in leadership theories and practical skills. Selected their Junior Spring, these Seniors take part in the workshops, dinner discussions, and team-building exercises as they gain a better understanding of the qualities and responsibilities necessary for leaders and successful leadership styles.

The Rockefeller Leadership Fellows had a great session on February 12th with Kate Hilton '99, a Director at ReThink Health and an expert in issues such as designing organizing efforts, teaching leadership skills, and strategizing with multi-stakeholder teams to take collective action. After graduating from Dartmouth in 1999, she worked with various groups and organizations, discovering the importance of leadership and team dynamics along the way. Hilton's session focused on these lessons she had learned and specifically the importance of emergent and distributive leadership.

ReThink Health Director Kate Hilton '99 leads a discussion on leadership and teams at a recent session. Photo by Malika Khurana '15.

We began the session in a reflective manner, taking time to think about the values for which we would want to be remembered as leaders. Hilton shared with us a particularly memorable commencement speech for her and explained that understanding our values and why we hold them was a crucial first step to effective leadership. Fellows then considered what power we had to effectuate change, both at Dartmouth and after we graduated. This discussion brought forth the importance of creating networks, identifying stakeholders in our shared goals, and finding others to work with.

Rockefeller Leadership Fellows discuss leadership theories at a recent session with Kate Hilton '99. Photo by Malika Khurana '15.

Hilton then turned to a more theoretical discussion of leadership, discussing the importance of distributed leadership. She pointed out the power of snowflake-structures in leadership, or the ability to work with interdependent connections to achieve aims by keeping everyone involved and excited. More discussion followed about our own experiences with leading teams, and the Fellows were pushed to think about how having the right structure for a team could improve outcomes and the achieving of core values. Lastly, Hilton provided a set of metrics upon which to judge teams of which we were a part. She encouraged us to reflect seriously and identify weaknesses and areas for improvement, particularly in areas such as gathering the right team, fostering a shared purpose, and creating a leadership structure that allowed everyone to work to their potential.

The session concluded with a reflection on how these ideas of leadership had made the Fellows feel about their leadership both at Dartmouth and afterward. In hearing words such as "excited" and "hopeful," it became clear that the session had been influential not only in identifying theories of leadership but in motivating us Fellows into actualizing our visions for value-based leadership.

-Written by Tatsuro Yamamura '15, 2014-2015 Rockefeller Leadership Fellow  

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