Fireside Charla with SDSU President Adela de la Torre


 June 1, 2019

#006 - Charla about Compassionate Leadership at SDSU and beyond

Episode Summary:

In this episode, President de la Torre chats with Dr. Luke Wood, Chief Diversity Officer, and two of our phenomenal student leaders, Ayesha Kosaka and Michael Wiafe. They discuss their individual perspectives on Compassionate Leadership from their respective leadership roles at SDSU and beyond. 

Approximate running time: 30:49
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Transcript available

“A compassionate leader will understand that when they're in the workplace, that leadership can be anywhere and it may not manifest in the way you express leadership”-President de la Torre.

“It's important that as we come into an environment and continue to diversify and be inclusive” -Luke Wood.

"I think compassion means to just really empathize with one another and understanding where someone is coming from and just really understanding the perspective outside of your own" -Ayesha Kosaka

"A lot of people think about diversity as ethnic diversity or just the way you look. But it goes so much deeper" -Michael Wiafe

About Dr. Adela de la Torre

Dr. Adela de la Torre joined San Diego State University in June 2018, as the first woman and Latina president. She brings 30 years of service and leadership roles within institutions of higher education and shares these experiences with open arms. She has two daughters who are both married, a grandson, a husband, and three dogs! Adela discusses the challenges she faced in college, her mentors, her heart-led leadership style, and her vision to help all types of students at SDSU feel confident in their goals.

About Dr. J. Luke Wood

J. Luke Wood, Ph.D. is the Associate Vice President for Faculty Diversity and Inclusion and Distinguished Professor of Education at San Diego State University. Formerly, Wood served as the Director of the Joint Ph.D. program in Education between San Diego State University and Claremont Graduate University and Director of the Ed.D. Program in Community College Leadership.
Wood also serves as the Co-Director of the Community College Equity Assessment Lab (CCEAL), a national research and practice center that partners with community colleges to support their capacity in advancing outcomes for underserved students of color. CCEAL houses the National Consortium on College Men of Color (NCCMC) which hosts trainings, information sharing sessions, and provides resources to colleges with initiatives and programs supporting college men of color.

About Ayesha Kosaka

My time in college has been a special one. I have become confident in my creative passions and have been able to release that energy through filmmaking. I have been fortunate enough to kindle relationships with like-minded friends who would soon become dynamic business partners for our very own film label that we founded in our sophomore year: Plugged Productions. Through cinematic storytelling, we have been able to use our projects to spark conversation locally and nationally for social change. The best part: I’m just getting started!

About Michael Wiafe

I am a first-generation immigrant and hope to move on to pursue a joint degree in Law and Public Policy to learn to evaluate the current effectiveness of the policies that are currently in place in our society and more specifically in the state of California and start to redesign them to make them more effective to serve our communities.

My experience has translated to my immediate past role as SDSU AS Vice President of External Relations, where I served one of the most diverse student body in the nation. I managed government relations on behalf of over 34,000 students, including advocacy to the CSU Office of the Chancellor, CSU Board of Trustees, California State Legislature, United States Congress, College Area Community Council, and the California State Student Association. The experience and passion that I gained in that role for student advocacy propelled me to get elected to be President of the Calstate Student Association, representing the over 480,000 students of the California State University on its 23 campuses. The largest and most diverse 4-year university system in America. Students across the nation face barriers including food insecurity, housing insecurity, and mental health issues - all of which are detrimental to the pursuit of quality education. I fight for new solutions to support the communities that I represent and fight to ensure our voices are heard and our communities are supported. These experiences have built my capacity to engage with a diverse constituency and turn their concerns into concrete policy action.