Stanislaus County CEO Recalls Pathway to Leadership at CSU Stanislaus Annual Women’s Leadership Forum

Monica NinoStanislaus County CEO and CSU Stanislaus alumna Monica Nino offered words of advice to attendees at the Women’s Leadership Forum at CSU Stanislaus recently. Nino stressed the importance of clearly defining and communicating one’s core beliefs and values, modeling success for future leaders, and women being their own best advocates when pursuing leadership roles.

The third annual event was hosted by the university’s College of Business Administration. Guests included CSU Stanislaus business students, staff and members of the community. Previous keynote speakers have included notable women such as Stephanie Gallo, Virginia Madueño and Paula Zagaris Leffler.

While Nino mentioned specific strengths and abilities often attributed to women — such as empathy, compassion, and comfort when acting as mediators and facilitators — many of her keys to success in leadership could apply to either gender:

• Know yourself: Understanding one’s own core values and beliefs informs decision making and gives one the confidence to take risks, an important ability for leaders.

• Commit to transparency: In an effort to better understand the public’s perception of county offices, Nino used the building of her own home as a way of evaluating the process of securing building permits. “In county government, we can never forget that we serve the public every day,” she said.

• Chart your goals for the future: Nino said building a career is similar to building a house. “Having a plan can help you decide what’s most important to you, where to focus and how to spend your resources,” she said.

• Think rationally, and lead by example: “Model the values you want to see in your organization,” Nino advised. "Effective leaders educate, inform and anticipate."

Nino encouraged job seekers to apply for positions in county government, noting a troubling dearth of young applicants, especially women. “As women," Nino said, "we need to be conscientious about mentoring and bringing women along behind us, sharing our knowledge and providing insight.”

Denise Nordell