The University of Olivet to Honor Barbara Fulton, Ph.D., – Bringing Passion and Heart to Leadership

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The University of Olivet’s 22nd annual Leadership for Individual and Social Responsibility Awards Dinner will be held Wednesday, May 16 at 5:30 p.m. at the Country Club of Lansing. The 2018 honorees are leaders in their chosen professions and reflect the college’s vision of Education for Individual and Social Responsibility. Patricia Brumbaugh ’76, conductor of Northwestern Michigan College/Community Band and interim director of bands at Traverse City West Senior High School; Paula Cunningham, state director of AARP Michigan; and Barbara Fulton, Ph.D., director of community development at Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital, are celebrated for bettering the communities they live in and encouraging others to do the same.

Collaboration for a Strong Community

Barbara Fulton, Ph.D., is the director of community development at Hayes Green Beach (HGB) Memorial Hospital. She has been a member of the HGB team since 2006, and her duties focus around exploring ways the hospital can affect community vitality. Fulton played a large role in developing AL!VE in Charlotte, an experience-based, destination health park.

Both Barbara’s personal and professional work includes pursuit of innovations in philanthropy and community development. She serves on the boards of directors for the Charlotte Area Networking for Development Opportunity (Can Do!); Charlotte Rising, a select-level Michigan Main Street organization; Friends of Charlotte Performing Arts Center; and Women Giving Together Eaton County. Barbara has worked for many years on a community approach to collaborative generosity, incorporating the seven elements of healthy communities and the Kaiser Institute approach to building a culture of generosity.

“Giving back to my community is a way of life, not a rule or resolution for me,” Barbara explained. “I am most drawn to opportunities to make a difference at a broader level. In other words, while I do enjoy helping one person to be more healthy, successful or to receive needed resources, I am even more motivated to work with teams of people to make changes that benefit whole groups or communities. I enjoy seeing results from collaborative efforts that lift all boats.”

What Makes a Leader

Barbara says the key to making a difference is to be both intentional and situationally aware in everyday life. By seeking a deeper understanding of the world around you and those within it, you will find opportunities to serve others, rather than falling into a solely self-serving routine. One of Barbara’s keys to navigating life is imagining she has an advisory board, comprised of her own greatest role models and historical figures, that guides her in making big decisions. She says her board includes her mom, as well as Amelia Earhart, Leonardo Da Vinci and Jimmy Buffett, among others.

“To me, individual and social responsibility has to do with how we are in the world, not just what we do,” Barbara emphasized. “And even more importantly, it means being thoughtful about why we do what we do. Living a life of purpose for me has required a lot of thought at a high level about what matters and then a day-by-day, or moment by moment, intention.”

For those who aspire to become leaders, Barbara advises to observe what other leaders do and say to create engaging experiences and an environment that instills confidence in those they serve. She says it is essential for developing leaders to think through their purpose and plan for their way of living, similar to a business creating a mission statement and code of conduct. However, you cannot become a leader simply by copying others. Leading authentically is also important and can be achieved by sticking to your own values and following through with plans. Lastly, Barbara says leaders always take responsibility for their actions and must be lifelong learners, ever growing and evolving.

Evolving Leader

“I set goals in my work and home life for things that are tangible and measurable, like budgets, projects and timelines. Goals for being more responsible are a bit more abstract,” Barbara said. “I am working now on a goal to create more impact from fewer commitments. I want to be able to go deeper on some community initiatives, which is difficult when I am spread across too many projects, committees and commitments. Being responsible as a leader sometimes means saying no, after careful thought. Saying no is not my forte and I am working on that.”

Barbara reflects that she has had many mentors, colleagues and friends who helped her become a responsible leader, and she appreciates all of the ventures that have helped her learn and grow. In addition, she says others helped her cultivate opportunities to grow into the leader she is today, and added that the best things in life are those who want to make us better. Her measure of success is helping her community grow, as well as inspiring others – and herself – to ask better questions in order to make a difference.

“I often find inspiration in the words of others,” Barbara said. “I have a framed quote on my desk that has been with me for many years. In the words of Rabindranath Tagore it says, ‘I slept and dreamt that life was joy; I awoke and saw that life was service; I acted, and behold… service was joy.’”

Join the Celebration

Tickets to the Leadership for Individual and Social Responsibility Awards Dinner are $75, which includes a $40 tax deductible donation to The University of Olivet. For more information, contact Carol Flanigan, senior director of annual giving and donor services, at 269.749.7625 or cflanigan@uolivet.edu.


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