Leadership : Up Close and Personal

Vol. 12, No. 1
ISSN: 1546-2676

Guest Editors: 
Virginia L. Clark & Frances E. Andrews

return to KON home page

browse other KON publications

Kappa Omicron Nu FORUM,
Vol. 12, No. 1. 
1546-2676. Editor: Dorothy I. Mitstifer. Official publication of Kappa Omicron Nu National Honor Society. Member, Association of College Honor Societies. Copyright © 2000. Kappa Omicron Nu FORUM is a refereed, semi-annual publication serving the profession of family and consumer sciences. The opinions expressed by the authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of the society. Further information: Kappa Omicron Nu, PO Box 798, Okemos, MI 48805-0798. Telephone: (727) 940-2658 ext. 2003

Interested in submitting an article to KON FORUM? Papers are now being accepted for review.


return to top of page


Kappa Omicron Nu


Turning Points: Circumstances Leading to Leadership

Virginia Clark, Guest Editor

Dr. Clark is Dean, College of Human Development and Education, North Dakota State University

Everybody is a story. When I was a child, people sat around kitchen tables and told their stories. We don’t do that so much anymore. Sitting around the table telling stories is not just a way of passing time. It is the way wisdom gets passed along. The stuff that helps us live a life worth remembering. Despite the awesome powers of technology, many of us still do not live very well. We may need to listen to each other’s stories once again.

Rachel Naomi Remen in Kitchen Table Wisdom

Higher education leaders, who have a background in Family and Consumer Sciences, were asked to describe the people and events that made a difference in their professional lives. These leaders were asked to describe their “turning points” informally, in a few brief paragraphs. The format chosen for each response varied from very formal (a past publication) to very informal (a quick list on e-mail). Regardless of the format, however, responses provided some very similar points.

Like Phyllis O. Bonanno, President of Columbia College, all respondents indicated that “. . . leadership was not about implementing any one theory or plan, it was about life and the way you choose to live it. To succeed as a leader it is important to understand first that you cannot separate your role as a leader in your place of business from your role as a neighbor, parent, church member, or any other place you interact outside the boundaries of your professional life” (Bonanno, 1997, pp. 5-6). In all cases, these leaders mention people who made an important difference in their leadership growth. It is interesting to note that situations and circumstances lead to leadership, not a “finely tuned” plan. In addition, all statements indicated that one of the key motivators to taking a leadership role was the desire to “make a difference.”


Bonanno, P. O. (1997). Empowered leadership: A kitchen table conversation. A Leadership Journal: Women in Leadership—Sharing the Vision, 2(1), 5-9.

Remen, R. N. (1996). Kitchen table wisdom: Stories that heal. New York: Riverhead Books.