Catherine Bass Black and Teresa Coyan Talk Servant Leadership

Service hours, meet servant leadership. Two 417-land leaders appointed by Governor Mike Parson share how they’ve used their professional skills to achieve greater purpose and impact by serving Missourians on large-scale boards.

by Ren Bishop

Mar 2020

illustration of a business woman giving a presentation
Illustration courtesy Shutterstock

Tip 1: Find the Right Board

Catherine Bass Black is an executive talent acquisition expert, and she was appointed as Chair of the Missouri Workforce Development Board in October 2019. But first, she found local boards that paired her personal interests with her professional knowledge. “Become familiar with organizations or boards that could most benefit from your professional expertise—that is where you will have the greatest impact in servant leadership,” she says.

Tip 2: Make a Plan

CoxHealth Vice President of Public Affairs Teresa Coyan was appointed to serve on the Mental Health Commission in September 2019. But before the appointment, Coyan applied for the position and sought support. She recommends interested leaders reach out to their state senator, who can help navigate the appointment process. “If you have even a slight interest in serving, take the first step,” she says, “and start identifying a path to take to get your seat at the table.”

Tip 3: Champion an Effort That Complements Your 9-to-5

Coyan’s work with patients and stakeholders of CoxHealth aligns well with issues addressed by the Missouri Mental Health Commission, which helps her to be more impactful in both roles. “Several of the strategic priorities I am responsible for at CoxHealth pertain to the opioid crisis as well as working with community and internal stakeholders to better understand mental and behavioral health needs and the barriers that exist in accessing care.”

Tip 4: Say Yes

If the opportunity is the right fit, make room in your calendar and say yes, Black says. Almost everyone is busy, so it's easy to say no. That's why evaluating the time you actually have gives you the chance to say yes when an opportunity arrives. “My first piece of advice is being open to saying yes when called to be involved or engaged in a community or public service opportunity. You never know where it may lead.”

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