Leading Through Challenges Conversations

On April, 8 2020, COLE piloted the “Leading Through Challenges” conversations series, first geared towards our COLE undergraduate interns to help them make sense of the uncertainties that they faced as they came to the realization that their spring semester on campus has been cut short abruptly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From navigating the shift from face-to-face learning to online learning, to feeling out of control in the current situation and their willingness to still find a way to contribute and make an impact but not knowing how to.


Since then we have opened up these weekly conversations to a larger Duke student community, with conversations focused on staying positive, making an impact in our respective communities, navigating change, and leading from where we are.


These conversations have been rich and have prompted some action items, such as participants sharing stories and pictures of them leading from where they are as part of #BeTheGood#SeeTheGood campaign started by COLE executive director, Sanyin Siang. As we face these unprecedented times, it is important for those in our community and beyond to support one another, spread positivity, and share ideas on how we can help others. 


COLE’s Leading Through Challenges Conversations is a series for current students and recent graduates, done in partnership with Business Oriented Women, Baldwin Scholars, Duke Masters in Engineering Management Program, Fuqua’s Office of Community Engagement & Inclusion, and Duke Student Affairs. Watch the conversations below:

  1. Leading Through Challenges Conversation with Edith Cooper, co-founder of Medley; former Global Head of Human Capital for Goldman Sachs. She shared insights on how to lead through uncertain times, taking a pause to listen and be available and present with people, how students can prepare in the most effective way to enter the workforce now. 
  2. Leading Through Challenges Conversation with Ayse Birsel, co-founder & creative director, Birsel + Seck. She encouraged us to think of our lives right now through the metaphor of metamorphosis. We are currently caterpillars in the cocoon phase as we shelter in place, and in the process we are given the opportunity of deconstructing our lives. What everyone should be thinking right now is: What’s going to be my butterfly effect? What’s going to come out of this time period that will be strong and beautiful and help us fly to new places?

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