In honor of Women’s History Month, we sat down with Rose State College President Dr. Jeanie Webb and asked her five questions to learn more about her and how she has gotten to where she is now. We hope these answers inspire you to never give up on your dreams.
Dr. Jeanie Webb - Rose State president
I would encourage women to stand up for what they believe in, to set goals and then go for them full throttle. I would tell my younger self and my daughter who’s 20, that it's so important to not forget to be kind and compassionate. It's okay to want the top position or whatever position you want, but what is most important is to treat people fairly and kindly. I think that you'll go further in life if you're nice. I will always tell my daughter that she can do anything she wants in life, get the proper credentials, go after your goals with passion, but never forget who you are in the process.
I am proud that I have had the opportunity to serve as president and to show what I could do as a leader, not just because I am a woman, but because I am good at what I do. There is nothing else I would rather be doing. I feel strongly about the community college – because it is the place that gave me my first chance.
My background comes from a very low income and there was never the talk of college. I’m proud that I went ahead and got my bachelor's, my master's and then my doctorate degree. I always had to work hard. This is the thing that people really must realize, you must put in the work.
My mother never got the opportunity to go to college. She grew up on a dairy farm and always wanted more for me. She would always push “career, career, career, you can do this, no one can ever take your degree away.” My saddest and most exciting moment was when I became president of Rose State College. I was so proud to serve as president at the place that made a difference in my life, but it was also bittersweet because my mom had passed away a few years before and never got to see it happen. I'm proud of my team, my family, and my faith, these are very important to me.
One of my greatest obstacles was that we had no money growing up. If I hadn't had the opportunity to go to NEO A&M College and do something as simple as being in the North Stars Drill Team, I wouldn't have an associate degree, nor would I have the confidence I have now. I've had a lot of fantastic role models – my grandmother, my mom and the people I've worked with, both men and women. When we were kids, my mom did not allow us to use the word “can't.” Can't did not exist in our vocabulary. So, I do believe there are a lot of obstacles, but I also think that if you work hard, get the credentials, do a good job, and always be kind, you’ll go very far in life.
I do think many female leaders are strong multi-taskers. However, at the end of the day, whether you are male or female, certain traits must be present in all leaders. For instance, do you have a vision? Are you trustworthy? Do you keep your word? Are you honest? Are you caring and compassionate? Do you put service and other people ahead of yourself?
Teamwork is key. I always tell my executive staff that it's never about you or me, it's about all the people that we work with. Our jobs are to make others and this institution better. Always remember, it's not about you, it's about service. It's about giving, caring, and compassion.