Who is Bridges? His words show he’s a caring leader

For the first time in OCCC history, the college conducted a live-stream forum to help select the vice president of Academic Affairs. 

Held for under two hours Feb. 19, six candidates spoke to the OCCC community to explain why they should be chosen for the post. 

The finalists were selected from a national search, and included three candidates from OCCC and three from outside the state.

The forum consisted of four rounds of questions with 141 viewers watching. 

Afterwards a survey was sent out to all faculty and employees asking their favored candidate, if they watched the forum, and if they had any comments. 

After meeting with interim OCCC President Jeremy Thomas, Health Professions Dean Vincent Bridges was chosen for the VP slot.

So what did Bridges say during the forum, and what kind of leader is he?

The first question that Bridges was asked inquired about the qualities he looks for when adding new members to his team.

Speaking for two minutes, Bridges explained that a person’s motivation and mindset has to be looked at.

The leadership types that are not wanted are those that think a title or degree gives all the answers without input from anyone.

“So, I look for their ability to be open, honest, being themselves, listening to and respecting others, that is the most critical piece. So that collaborative approach is so instrumental in my book,” Bridges said.

He was then asked about what skills he would use to move the college forward when faced with outdated procedures. 

Modifying procedures has to be a collaborative process and no entity can be successful without that, Bridges said.

When everyone has a buy-in and an understanding then the process of change becomes a more transparent and respectful process, he said. 

“So my bottom-line answer is, you must assess best practice, take best practice and modify it to the institutional idiosyncrasies and from there you are good to go as long as you have the buy-in of all of your stakeholders,” he said.

If that is done on a continuous basis, then the operational aspects within the institution run more smoothly, Bridges said.

Another topic that Bridges spoke about was if he had any reservations about the VPAA position, and if so what they might be. 

“None. Absolutely none. You must have confidence in everything you do. And that confidence is what builds you and what gives you that stamina, the wherewithal, the ability to,” Bridges said.

“There is nothing that I’m frightened of, there’s nothing, there’s nothing that I cannot accomplish and that’s because I’m confident. If you try something and it doesn’t work or you fail, oh well, every successful person, every single one was a failure,” he said.

OCCC is an awesome institution that has gone through remarkable change over the last six months, Bridges said.

So there are no reservations or concerns about the position, Bridges said.

He also spent time addressing what uniquely qualified him for the position.

Leadership is not hard, rather people make leadership difficult, Bridges said.

The key to the process is working with people, respecting the person, and also what they bring with them, he said.

Bringing his humanity and commitment, Bridges said he believes in people and what they can do even when they don’t believe in themselves.

Those qualities in particular are the keys to success, he said.

“We[leadership] want to go straight to theory-based aspect that will try to implement all of the theories, and it just doesn’t work because you are missing that very important piece,” he said. “So that’s what I bring to it. Self-respect and respect of others, giving them a chance to grow, expand, explore.”

Leadership isn’t magic nor rocket science and a doctorate isn’t needed, he said. It narrows to simple skills that are often overlooked, if your motivation and heart tell you something is correct then it is correct, Bridges said.

To read his full remarks visit http:// pioneer.occc.edu/bridges-forum-answers/