Anna Borgerding, PMP

Portrait of Anna Borgerding in a striped black and white shirtLeadership by definition is the action of leading a group of people or an organization. Although leadership is hard to quantify, it’s often measured by the presence of many traits such as integrity, accountability, and gravitas. Up until 2019, I had operated under the notion that if I worked hard and did everything that was asked of me, I’d be recognized for my leadership skills and then opportunities that I valued would become available. As naïve as this approach was, it worked for the first decade of my career. I was promoted and provided opportunities to grow, but not necessarily in areas that correlated strongly with my core values.

Attending the Professional Leadership Program for Women at Towson University was a pivotal paradigm shift in my career development. The program provided a great foundation to think about how to align my core values, talents, and desires with opportunities, as opposed to thinking about how to round out my talents to fit a certain leadership model. Since I was a little girl, I was socialized to be a “well rounded” leader: to master all things or try to. This type of thinking leads us to keep looking for our deficits instead of uplifting our strengths and capitalizing on them.

The program incorporated a refreshing viewpoint — I was complete as a leader. It encouraged me to use that perspective to think about what I truly wanted to accomplish — to question my current career progress, to challenge what I thought I knew about leadership, and to give myself permission to ask for the opportunities I am seeking. Too many women go through their careers on autopilot, accepting the current situation because of a variety of factors that deal with comfort and achievable “challenges.”

Throughout the program, each speaker and panel resonated profoundly with me and challenged me to take a personal inventory of my unique skills and ask what opportunities I want as opposed to being presented with an opportunity and saying yes. I learned that opportunities that I want do exist if I continue to ask for them and communicate to different individuals my goals.

This experience was highly valuable and transformational in the way I view my professional journey and how I support others in theirs. I’m truly grateful for this opportunity and hope to be able to pay it forward to other women at the University. 

Anna Borgerding, PMP
Director, Operational Excellence and Sustainability, Facilities and Operations, University of Maryland, Baltimore