Friday, December 11, 2009

Dr. Terri Maue: Director of Academics
Cincinnati Campus Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Bio: Dr. Terri Maue is Director of Academics at the Cincinnati campus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. She also serves the university as Discipline Chair for English and Humanities. Terri has been married to her high school sweetheart Eddie for 40 years and is the mother of 38-year-old Chuck and grandmother of 13-year-old Chuckie. She and Eddie live on five acres of beautiful, rolling, wooded land with their dogs, Max and George, and cats, Cindy and Tiger. Terri has been a practicing meditator for almost 50 years. (You’d think she’d have it right by now J.) She is the author of short stories, poems, essays, and a novel-in-progress. Most recently, her essay titled ‘Dad’s Legacy’ was featured in WVXU’s series This I Believe.

FCL: How would you define a leader?
Terri: A leader is someone other people want to follow; that’s the simplest definition. But a good leader is someone worthy of being followed. A good leader is that rare combination of integrity, true concern for the well being of others, and skill in producing desired results. Integrity because without it, a person is a charlatan or worse, rudderless, swayed by opinion or circumstances, unable to guide herself, much less others. True concern for the well being of others because it is a great responsibility to exert an influence on another person and such responsibility should never be taken lightly. Skill in producing desired results because without skill, even the most beneficial goals remain unmanifest. All three are necessary. Integrity without concern can lead to narcissism. Concern without integrity can lead to the end justifying the means. Integrity and concern without skill can lead to frustration and burnout. And skill without integrity and concern can lead to selling one’s soul.

FCL: Who are your biggest influences as a leader?
Terri: Jesus, the Buddha, the African Goddess Oya, and the Bodhisattva Tara, also known as Kwan Yin. Jesus because he was the first to teach me about living according to one’s values. The Buddha because he taught me how to see the human condition with compassion and clarity. Oya because she taught me that shaking things up is sometimes a good thing. Tara/Kwan Yin because she hears the cries of the world and pours healing compassion on suffering human beings.

FCL: What gives you the greatest joy in being a leader?
Terri: My greatest joy is when I accomplish an objective by getting people to work together. I strongly believe that ‘we are all in this together’ and a ‘victory’ that comes at the price of a ‘loser’ is no victory at all, only a future problem festering.

FCL: What is your biggest pet peeve as a leader?
Terri: People who use their rhetorical skill to mislead. I’m a writer and an English professor, and I deeply love and respect the power of words. I abhor the way language is so often used to mislead people. It is a violation of integrity to write or speak in a way that maintains adherence to the letter of truth but not to the spirit. We are responsible for the perceptions we create.

FCL: What is your biggest challenge as a leader?
Terri: I’m not comfortable dealing with confrontation, and it can knock me off balance. Thankfully, I am learning some skillful ways to handle aggressive, confrontational people.

FCL: Who has impacted you the most in your life as a leader?
Terri: Personally, my dad has had a profound impact on me. He was an engineer with many professional accomplishments, but first and foremost, he was a great father to me and my nine brothers and sisters. He taught me the value of family and the preciousness of sharing our lives. As my older brother said when we celebrated Mom and Dad’s 60th wedding anniversary, he showed us ‘the Face of Love.’

Professionally, I’ve had managers who have taught me by their example what not to do. They have had a great impact on me. I am extremely fortunate to work right now for a person who is teaching me what to do. He is an outstanding manager, a person who is so mild mannered that it is easy to underestimate him. Yet he achieves his goals, and he has provided me with guidance and opportunities to grow in my professional life. When I grow up, I want to be just like him!

FCL: What are your favorite books and what are you currently reading?
Terri: I have two kinds of favorite books. I love books that awaken in me the awe of living on this incredible planet among all these beautiful beings. I’m not talking about airy-fairy stuff; I’m talking about science, physics and nature. ‘The Tao of Physics’ by Fritjof Capra is still one of my favorites. The Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh said the miracle is not that we walk on water, but that we walk. He’s right.

The other kind of book I love is the one that reminds me of my potential as a human being. I just read ‘The Success Principles’ by Jack Canfield, the author of ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul.’ ‘The Success Principles’ is a blueprint for achieving one’s vision and goals, and it relies not so much on techniques as on aligning oneself with one’s truest desire. How do I wish, in my heart of hearts, to spend this one precious life I have? What gives me the deepest joy? The most profound satisfaction? The answers to these questions provide the touchstone for living an authentic life. It’s so easy in our modern world to get caught up in all that we feel we should do or must do. I am grateful to find a book that reminds me that life is about more than that, that the desires of my heart are my direct connection to the best contribution I can make to the quality of my life and the life of all beings. I also love reading Ken Wilber’s work. I’m listening to an audio course right now called ‘Kosmic Consciousness.’ It lays out an extraordinary map of the evolution of human consciousness. (Kosmic with a ‘k’ includes consciousness and spirit as well as the physical universe.)

And for fun, I love to read a good mystery novel, like ‘Playing for the Ashes’ by Elizabeth George.

FCL: What is your vision for business and community leadership in Cincinnati?
Terri: Although I live 40 miles north of Cincinnati, just outside of Morrow, proximity to the city still means that the quality of life there impacts me. I am so saddened to hear of all the violence and economic struggle. Call me na├»ve but I think what’s missing is trust, trust that people from different social, economic, and educational strata will work together for the greatest good for everyone. Imagine how different our lives would be if we started from the standpoint that no matter what the other person does, he or she is doing it because he or she wants the best for everyone, including me. It seems all too often that we start from the adversarial position, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Imagine what life could be like if we agreed from the outset to give each other the benefit of the doubt

FCL: Where do you see yourself five years from today?
Terri: Five years from today, I see myself more engaged than ever in fulfilling my purpose as I presently understand it: to use my creativity and imagination to write and teach so that we all take care of each other and every person flowers.

Closing remarks (from Herman): I like how you closed the interview by talking of your continued engagement in using your creativity and imagination to write and teach, "... so that we all take care of each other and every person flowers." I normally contribute at and my last post there was on how we can flower in life. Here's the link: The Secret to Blossoming in Life. I agree with you regarding confrontation. Our lives are in constant motion. Motion causes friction. What I've learnt is that self-confrontation should precede the confrontation of others. I have to make sure that my spirit is right before I confront another human being. It's important to start on a positive note, clearly outline the problem then encourage a response. I have to demonstrate that I understand the other person's position by repeating what they said (this does not necessarily mean that I agree with them). The next step would be to explain what was wrong and indicate the desired action to be taken. A lot of people get emotional and this never helps in fixing the problem. Through the confrontation, I try to reiterate the positive aspects of the person. At the end of it all, I lay the issue to rest and put it in the past. True confrontation, I've learnt, leads to growth. Thanks for such a wonderful interview. This is truly first class!