April De La Rosa is Chief of Staff to the Dean at Marshall School of Business. We asked her to share her perspectives on being a member of the USC Culture Network, and on our Unifying Value “Accountability”.
- What made you want to be part of the Culture Network?
When I was first introduced to the Culture Journey a couple years ago it quickly became clear that the initiative’s inclusive approach aligns with how I operate generally. I am by nature a relationship builder and problem solver. I also consider myself to be highly empathetic. Those qualities combined with my work in collaborative domains are the basis of my motivation in faculty and staff advocacy generally, and the Culture Network felt like a natural place to continue that work.
- What does the Unifying Value “Accountability” mean to you?
I think at first blush one can perceive accountability as an opportunity to draw lines in the sand, point fingers and callout imperfections of others, but I have a different perspective on this value. I see accountability as a personal value that enables us to embody other values. Accountability and the aligning behaviors provide us with a framework to take a personal inventory of our own beliefs, biases and behaviors that make their way into our teams and workspaces, and ultimately impact everyone in our sphere of influence. To me, accountability is a personal responsibility to bring our best selves.
- What are some ways you practice/promote accountability in your work at USC?
I believe accountability starts with articulating and understanding expectations. With that in mind, I strive to clearly communicate, ask questions and proactively share what I can deliver and when. If I am unable to make a deadline or produce a specific result, I escalate appropriately and timely. I am also the first person to take responsibility when I make a mistake, drop a ball or make a decision that wasn’t quite right. I also ask for feedback often and try to be approachable, so others feel they can share their thoughts without shame.
- What are your thoughts on how we can live out the value of accountability as a Trojan community?
Living accountability begins with self-reflection as individuals and an institution. It’s a reminder for us to acknowledge when we could have done better, learn from it and grow. We can further live accountability by embracing our humanity and offering grace when it’s needed. We are ever growing as individuals, as a team, as a University, and it’s ok to have a misstep if you learn from it and course correct.