Leading Self, a Vision for Personal Growth and Public Health Leadership in Practice

By Ashlie White

As I take stock in how far I’ve come in my career, I would be remiss not to acknowledge the attributes that I believe got me this far. My passion and commitment to cause are the first characteristics that come to mind. Many still compliment me on these attributes today. 

I am almost certain that it was solely my enthusiasm for the orthotic and prosthetic profession and the patients we serve that opened so many doors for me over the years, but once those doors were open, I was motivated to take advantage of the opportunities that I was offered. 

I also had the good fortune to learn from and be guided by several accomplished mentors who were transformative leaders in the profession, mentors that I continue to learn from today. They created opportunities within their organizations and invited me to tables where other leaders were gathered that I likely would not have not had access to otherwise. I always showed up when invited, and often when I was not. Peter Thomas, general counsel for the O&P Alliance and a long-time mentor, recently commended me for making the most of the opportunities that have come my way. 

I always showed up when invited, and often when I was not.

I believe in myself and my ability to make a positive impact in this world, and I am passionate about working towards goals that are bigger than myself. However, Koh and Jacobson emphasize the need for public health leaders to move beyond passion and to develop skills that are more expansive than those required to run a single organization. In this paper, I will outline my leadership philosophy and goals, and my commitment to personal growth in the pursuit of becoming a more effective public health leader.

Leadership philosophy, guiding principles, and commitments 

I strive to be an adaptive and dynamic leader who facilitates the engagement of an inclusive and diverse community of stakeholders to build commitment to and support for the mission of improving patient access to orthotic and prosthetic care. I strive to lead with integrity, to communicate openly and honestly, and to accept responsibility for my actions as I work to develop health policies that reflect the needs of individuals living with limb loss, limb difference, and limb impairment, and the orthotic and prosthetic clinicians providing their care.

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This was originally published for Dr. Vaughn Upshaw’s Principles of Public Health Leadership (PUBH 791) at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. I am endlessly grateful for the opportunity to grow as a leader through UNC’s Public Health Leadership program.

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