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In late November, Chancellor Donde Plowman sat for a wide-ranging interview covering her first 14 months in the job, including her effort to build trust and communication with faculty and staff and how her priorities quickly pivoted in March when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic.

The conversation with Rick Skinner, a senior consultant for Harris Search Associates, was recorded for the executive search firm’s Innovators podcast, which features timely interviews with leaders in education, research, technology, and health sciences.

Headshot of Chancellor Donde Plowman taken in the Communications Studio on October 16, 2020.

“I hope I bring to this [role] an appreciation for leadership. I think you have to be intentional to be good. I don’t think you just show up, and because I’m smart and have a lot of good credentials, that makes me a good leader,” Plowman said during the interview. “It requires thinking and reading and learning and working at the job of how do I inspire people?”

As part of the conversation, Plowman described what it was like to return to UT nine years after she first served as a business professor and chair of the management department. Skinner asked Plowman how her background and training in management had prepared her for the current challenges, how the pandemic will alter higher education going forward, and how she calls on relationships with peers at other institutions.

“In a lot of ways every job I’ve had in my life has prepared me for this moment—every single one of them,” she said.