Accepting the Call to Lead--Conversations on Leadership: Photogallery
“All of us have potential. It’s not about being a good female leader or a good male leader, but just being a good leader,” said Dr. Laura Zumdahl ’02, CEO at New Moms, during a March 3 interview for the business department’s Conversations on Leadership.
New Moms is an organization that serves at-risk adolescent parents and their children. Zumdahl spoke about her role as president and CEO and talked about not only discerning God’s call but answering the call.
“At Trinity, I knew what I was good at, what I was interested in, and where the greatest need existed,” said Zumdahl. “Finding the nexus is the career plan.”
Once discerned, answering a call to lead, she said, puts one in a place of vulnerability. “Leadership is ‘I see a need for change, and I’ll make it.’ Or ‘I see a problem, and I have a solution. I’ll step up.’”
Zumdahl has “stepped up” to answer that call. Before joining New Moms in 2013, she served as the vice president of nonprofit services at Donors Forum and in a variety of leadership roles in the nonprofit sector in legal aid, higher education, and child welfare. In 2010, she was named a 2010 Emerging Nonprofit Leadership Fellow by the Chicago Community Trust and received a 40 Under 40 Award from the Association Forum of Chicagoland in 2013.
“We ask God to ‘Send me!’, but we have to then be willing to say okay,” Zumdahl said, emphasizing to students the need to keep faith at the core and pray for wisdom, especially in ministry when the work that needs to be accomplished can feel “bigger than you.”
“I walk into my calling each day, and trust God to give me what I need,” she said.
Zumdahl earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Trinity; her master’s degree in social work from the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration; and her doctoral degree in leadership from Cardinal Stritch University.