How Context, History Can Teach Leadership During Pandemic
Clay Jenkinson, Governing’s editor-at-large and humanities scholar on Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt, tells us how literature and history can help inform leaders in this time of global national crisis.
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Clay Jenkinson, Governing’s editor-at-large and humanities scholar specializing in Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt, helps to provide a historical context to this spread of this coronavirus and provides hope for what is to come.
He understands that everyone is scared of what might happen in the coming weeks and months of this pandemic, but he also knows that the humanities provide us with reassurance that there is never an experience, even global pandemic, that is happening for the first time. Through the studying and reading of humans’ pandemic pasts, Jenkinson has grown to trust that “the human spirit is so extraordinary that it rises to effervescence even in moments like these.”
Jenkinson offers books that might provide solace for social distancing, viral spread and a community’s plans for containment; he describes how current government officials can find inspiration for strong leadership, bold actions, science-based serenity and an optimistic faith in the American people through the study of Theodore Roosevelt and Thomas Jefferson among others; and he believes that some of the best methods of combating COVID-19 are support, tolerance and positivity.
Jenkinson steps In the Arena to discuss pandemic history, that literature can teach leaders how to respond to crises like this, and how life offers more good things than bad.
- Bryan Barnett, Mayor of Rochester Hills, Mich. and President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors
- Ryan Coonerty, County Supervisor of Santa Cruz, Calif.
- Lydia Mihalik, Director of Ohio's Development Services Agency
- Chris Cabaldon, Mayor of West Sacramento, Calif.
- Affie Ellis, State Senator, Wyo.
- Beth Niblock, CIO of Detroit, Mich.
- Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles, Calif.
- Ed O’Keefe, CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation
- Blair Milo, Ind.'s first Secretary of Career Connections and Talent
- Phil Bertolini, Co-Director, Center for Digital Government
- Jo Ann Davidson, Ohio State Representative
- Dow Constantine, Executive of King County, Wash.
- Harry LaRosiliere, Mayor of Plano, Texas
- Rebecca Rhynhart, City Controller of Philadelphia
- Michael Crow, President of Arizona State University
- Mayors Melvin Carter of St. Paul, Minn.; Jenn Daniels of Gilbert, Ariz.; Jacob Frey of Minneapolis and Francis Suarez of Miami
- Chris Castro, Director of Sustainability for Orlando, Fla.
- Kim Foxx, State's Attorney for Cook County, Ill.
- Doug Burgum, Governor of N.D.
- Nan Whaley, Mayor of Dayton, Ohio
- Steve Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia, S.C.
- Kristen Cox, Executive Director of Utah Office of Management and Budget
- Acquanetta Warren, Mayor of Fontana, Calif.
- Greg Fischer, Mayor of Louisville, Ky.
- Themis Klarides, Minority Leader of the Conn. House