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Authenticity in occupational therapy leadership: a case study of a servant leader


Objective: The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the leadership of occupational therapy educator Sr. Genevieve Cummings at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minnesota, from 1960 to 1994.

Method: In-depth interviews were conducted with faculty, staff, administrators, and friends who knew her work intimately. Themes regarding her leadership were synthesized from the interview data and compared with trends in the leadership literature.

Results: The predominant themes representing the major elements of her success as a leader were enabling others, focusing on the greater good, collaborative visioning, and leadership through caring and service. The findings indicate that Sr. Genevieve led in uniquely authentic manner by serving the needs of students, faculty members, and the profession.

Conclusion: Sr. Genevieve was an effective, authentic, and accomplished leader throughout her career. Her contributions had a significant impact on the field of occupational therapy and occupational therapy education. The legacy of her leadership serves as a model for others in occupational therapy who must balance multiple challenges, pressures, or roles and be able to work effectively with others.

Dillon, T.H. (2001) Authenticity inoccupationaltherapyleadership: a case study of a servant leader, American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 55(4), pp441-8.

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