We had a chance to sit with Kathy DesRoches, Program Director for our Master of Science in Leadership, and learn more about her experience, special interests, and what excites her most about representing Granite State College.
Tell us about your professional background.
Prior to joining the Granite State, I worked at Manchester Community College (MCC) as the Director of Workforce Development where I connected numerous companies with New Hampshire Job Training Grants, which provided training for thousands of employees across New Hampshire.
What's your educational background and as a student, what was your favorite class?
I received a master's degree from the University of New Hampshire and a Doctorate in Education from Plymouth State University.
One of my favorite classes was in my doctoral program. It was called Vision: Synergy and Synthesis. It was a summation of everything we had learned. It incorporated each of our courses and their take-aways. We created vision boards that explained our plans for our final project. There were great group discussions and interactive lectures.
What was the focus of your doctoral research?
I focused on how we can build educational programs to support women in politics. During the time of my research, New Hampshire became the first state to elect an all-female delegation. Our Senators, members of Congress, and Governor were all women.
What advice do you have for emerging leaders?
Improve your listening skills and focus on your emotional intelligence. This can help you become more self-reflective, be more aware towards others, and make you a much stronger leader.
And what are some things that people can start doing today if they want to become more self-reflective?
This is a nerdy answer: meditate. It's a good way to become more self-reflective. People tend to think, "I can't meditate. My brain works differently and I just can't focus." We're all capable of meditating. It's a skill everyone can learn.
When you were a child, what were some of your goals and aspirations?
When I was a kid, there weren't many choices open to women. I could become a wife, school teacher, nurse, or secretary. All the school teachers I knew worked in the same little town where I grew up (Lee, NH). Back then, I watched the Mary Tyler Moore show and I decided I wanted to become a secretary. She lived in the city and worked as part of a team on a newspaper so to me, it was much more exciting than the other options.
What are you listening to in your car right now?
Again, nerdy. I listen to audiobooks on my Kindle.
Who are some of your favorite authors or thought leaders and why?
One is Jennifer Lawless and another is Richard Fox from Loyola Marymount University. Jennifer Lawless studied under him and they both write about leadership for women in politics.
Also, Joseph Raelin. He wrote, Creating Leaderful Organizations, which all of our graduate students read when studying leadership. He writes about developing a different brand of leadership that will carry us into the 21st-century where leaders will serve at the same time and all together.
What excites you most about working in the Office of Graduate Studies?
I like working with students on capstone projects and helping with research. Right now, I'm working on a project in graduate studies where we will slowly incorporate more Open Educational Resources (OER). This will help bring the most current research and knowledge to students, as well as the additional benefit of cost savings through the use of free OER resources.
What’s your favorite thing about New Hampshire?
It depends on the day! New Hampshire is small so everybody knows everybody. It's relatively easy to get on a call and get an appointment with whoever you're hoping to meet. Over the years, I've networked extensively and I enjoy helping students make connections, too.
How do you define success in your new role as the Program Director for our M.S. in Leadership?
My top goal is for our program to be recognized as one of the premier leadership programs in the country.
Any final words of advice for prospective graduate students?
If you want a master's degree, it's within your reach. We have people who will help you. The professors are really passionate—they'll support you.