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The Power of Sharing Experiences: Building Meaningful Connections in Education

In a world filled with deadlines, emails, and meetings, losing sight of the human element in our professional lives is easy. However, Dr. Jackie Mullen, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs at Mississippi State University, reminds us of the importance of real conversations and sharing our experiences with colleagues. In a recent podcast discussion with Dr. Duguid, she emphasized the value of empathy, connection, and support in navigating the challenges of educational leadership.

Although time-consuming, Dr. Mullen believes that genuine conversations hold far more significance than a quick email or message. She advocates for face-to-face interactions to foster understanding, empathy, and solidarity among colleagues. By sharing our own experiences and challenges, we create an environment where individuals feel seen, heard, and valued.

At the heart of Dr. Mullen's message is embracing the experience and journey of growth and development. She acknowledges that everyone faces stepping stones in their professional and personal lives, and it's essential to be relatable and supportive during these times. By offering a listening ear, encouragement, and practical advice, we can help our colleagues navigate their challenges with confidence and resilience.

Moreover, Dr. Mullen emphasizes the importance of allowing colleagues to experience productive struggle. While support and guidance are valuable, she recognizes that authentic learning often occurs through hands-on experience and overcoming obstacles. By taking one day at a time and encouraging colleagues to embrace the process, we empower them to grow and develop at their own pace.


Central to Dr. Mullen's philosophy is the concept of "being present" and meaningfully engaging with colleagues. By demonstrating that we care, support, and value their contributions, we foster stronger connections and serve as unofficial mentors and champions for their success. A simple gesture or word of encouragement can be a turning point or boost confidence for someone facing challenges.

In conclusion, Dr. Jackie Mullen's insights underscore the importance of sharing experiences, fostering empathy, and building meaningful connections in education. In a fast-paced world where deadlines and tasks often take precedence, it's crucial to prioritize human connection and support. We create a culture of collaboration, growth, and resilience in educational leadership by engaging in real conversations, offering empathy and encouragement, and embracing the journey together.

Remember, as a leader, you don't have to know it all—you just need to lead the way for others to shine.  I hope you visit to connect for more ways to Exponentially Elevate your Impact in Leadership.


To hear the full radio episode with Dr. Jackie Mullen, click here:

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