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Dr. Young Shares Her Crisis Leadership Experiences with Business Club

November 12, 2021

More than 40 members of the college community joined in-person and via Zoom to hear Dr. Kristine Young, SUNY Orange president, discuss “Leading in the Time of COVID” on Tuesday, Nov. 2. Her discussion was presented as part of the Business Club’s weekly meeting and was moderated by business club advisors Jonathan and Daryl Goldberg, and Student Trustee Kira Pedicini.

Young, who has drawn accolades for her guidance of the College’s response to the global pandemic, has acquired a broad cross-section of higher education leadership experiences. In addition to regular interactions with SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras and her fellow SUNY presidents in response to the pandemic, she is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Association of Community Colleges, where she shapes the organization’s advocacy for more than 1,200 community colleges nationwide. She serves on the AACC Executive Board and is currently the chair of the AACC Commission on Infrastructure. Last year, she chaired AACC’s Commission on Public Relations Advocacy and Advancement.

Additionally, she was tabbed by former New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo to serve on the New York Forward Re-Opening Advisory Board, a blue-ribbon panel of more than 100 business, civic, health care and education leaders tasked with shaping and guiding the state’s re-opening strategy as it responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Her SUNY and AACC leadership connections, along with the College’s strong partnership with Orange County, most specifically the OC Department of Health, helped her pilot the College’s pivot to remote delivery of academic content and subsequent return to campus in the new post-pandemic era. The pandemic provided her with significant leadership examples which she shared with the gathered students.

Young told attendees that as future CEOs and organizational leaders, responding to a crisis such as COVID-19 will require “that you surround yourself with people who are better than you in every regard,” she advised. Those should be “people who know more than you. Then create the space and trust for them to acquire the information they need to make great decisions.”

When reflecting on where she learned her crisis response skills, Young credited her parents. “I wish I could tell you it was a book or a class, or a great leader that I looked to,” said Young. “But in retrospect, I learned the skill from my parents. They are great in a crisis.”

She concluded the session by fielding questions from attendees.