Matthew J. Gurka, Ph.D., associate director of the Institute for Child Health Policy and professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, has published an article in the American Statistical Association’s membership magazine, Amstat News. The article, “Statisticians as Leaders,” discusses the apprehension many statisticians feel when taking on leadership roles and the need for more statisticians to assume leadership positions.
“We need to abandon the phrase ‘I’m just the statistician’ and actively think about opportunities in which our unique skill sets can contribute to our larger organization,” Gurka said in the article. “The skills we inherently have as statisticians—listening, patience, flexibility, integrity, the ability to communicate difficult concepts to others—are also the characteristics that make good leaders in general.”
The article includes information about an upcoming course that Gurka will co-facilitate at the 2016 Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM) in Chicago. The class, “Preparing Statisticians for Leadership: How to See the Big Picture and Have More Influence,” is taught by known leaders in statistics and provides guidance on personal leadership development, which can then be applied in larger organizations. The annual meeting takes place June 30-July 4; the class will run the first two days of the conference. Gurka will teach the course in conjunction with Gary Sullivan, senior director of global statistical sciences at Eli Lilly & Company, and Vaneeta Kaur Grover, manager and statistician at GlaxoSmithKline.
“Having taken this course two years ago, I know the profound impact it can have on someone’s mindset and career,” Gurka said in the article. “I have welcomed the opportunities to continue to do statistics, but also to help lead in the larger environments where I am located.”