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Institute For Leadership In Technology welcomes inaugural class of 2024

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Category: campus experience Video duration: Institute For Leadership In Technology welcomes inaugural class of 2024
Rising tech and business leaders from Boeing, Amazon, Microsoft, and other companies are participating in this year-long humanities education program.  Launched in April of 2023, eleven fellows were chosen across the United States and four countries. Nine of those fellows came to Southwest Virginia to tour the university, including the Creativity and Innovation District. The fellows also toured the city of Roanoke, and made a visit to the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute.
The guiding kind of question that drove the founding of this institute is what's the superpower of the future? And our answer to that question is the humanities. Part of what I wanted to create was an opportunity for rising stars from the technology landscape who had maybe come of age studying business, studying technology. To have an opportunity to refresh their leadership skills and indeed their stewardship skills with an educational experience, a shared educational experience grounded in the humanities. I wanted to step back and learn and reengage through the lens of the humanities since I started through that path. Also build a covert and a network that's always wonderful in terms of learning, building relationships. What a great opportunity at Virginia Tech to do this, and so I wanted to take part. They're not coming to study technology, they're coming to study humanities in order to elevate their ability to excel as leaders. They're very successful people in the world who already understand the value of humanities. Who want to have an experience in which they're engaging with it closely. Because they're not debating its value, they understand its value and they want to come here in order to get access to it. I'm interested in knowing more about how technology impacts the human condition. Whether it's in a positive way or it's beneficial, or if it has any negative impacts. I wanted to learn more about that. I can only imagine the beautiful unfolding that will occur over the next year as we dive into subject text, as we dive into conversations with other subject expert leaders. To be able to bring that into my world and ponder that and to explore that I've no idea what seeds will be planted and what garden will grow from it. But I'm confident that what Rishi has created is a beautiful landscape that will flourish for years and years to come. I think it's needed as a professional recognition so other aspiring leaders can see themselves in those roles. Because, I think, I really like this motto that says that "It's difficult to aspire to be something that you cannot see." So I think we need more people in leadership positions, acknowledging themselves both as public interest technologies but also as humanists. We have a lot of available technology, a lot of ways that you can protect your data, protect your company. But managing the human beings in an organization can be very challenging. And I think that's where we need more of that humanistic thinking. We need to bring in more of that humanity's thinking. To really understand people, understand their motivations, understand how to communicate the importance of some of these topics within an organization, and really get people fired up and aligned. As we grow in our careers and as we get more immersed in what we're doing. I find that they're just just too many silos. So including in tech, you know, like you'll have the product team on one side, you'll have the sales and marketing, you'll have the engineers, and the partnerships teams. And we're not always speaking the same languages. We're not always seeing the same serendipitous moments to collaborate. And I feel like this program really appealed to me because it kind of connects the dots in a way that I don't think anything else does. And having like a varied field of interests, I felt that this might help me also, you know, put a few of those pieces together. I wanted to create the nation's first program for rising stars in the tech landscape. To feel seen and to feel like they could cultivate human skills and sensibilities. You know, I think that's one of the most important things about humanities. It deals with the human condition. And we're all human. It doesn't matter what your job is. As you go through your life, you get to experience more and more, the urgency and the importance of those human questions.