Patrick Hale had been working in higher education for a decade when he crossed paths with Lawrence P. Ward, now vice president and dean of campus life at Babson College, at a conference. Hale was captivated by Ward’s presentation and thoughts on leadership, and that encounter led to Hale joining Ward at Babson. Now, as the director of Multicultural and Identity Programs, Hale influences the student experience and ensures that all students are seen, heard, and valued in the College community.
What motivates you to work so closely with college students?
“I was a first-generation college student. I also struggled as a college student, navigating being one of the few Black students in a predominantly white institution and being one of the few out LGBTQ members. So, I knew I would like to ensure that students, especially underrepresented students, are set up for the success they deserve, and also making sure that the rest of the community is supporting these populations by actively creating spaces on campus to make sure that they feel fully part of the community. For me, that’s been a huge motivator and what led me to pursue higher ed in the first place. Higher ed is something that has opened a lot of possibilities for me. I genuinely believe that higher education really does more than just prepare you for a career; it offers you the opportunity to find yourself and create a sense of wholeness and understanding that you are more than just your degree. You are a whole human being who is going to be making contributions to the world, and you get to decide, while you’re in college, what those contributions will look like and you get to go into the world and make those contributions, and do so with joy and hope, and with wholeness and understanding. That’s what I try to do and what I try to instill in any of the relationships that I have with the students.”
How have the events around racial injustice over the past year impacted students and the work you do?
“The thing that continues to surprise me is how quickly our students are able to mobilize around these causes, particularly with the Babson Students for Black Lives Matter fundraiser that was led by some phenomenal student leaders and was supported by dozens of student clubs and organizations on campus. The community effort and organizing that took place to make that happen was just really powerful, and it was a reminder to me, as a director, that I want to do more to support our students. I really want to make sure that our students understand that we are showing up for them, and that we’re here to amplify their voices as much as possible. Where I see an opportunity, though, is for our community to continue to talk about the role that we can play in correcting some of the injustices that so many of our community members from across the globe are experiencing. How all of those things are connected to the bigger picture of diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and justice, that it’s important that we’re creating spaces for those conversations. My hope is that as we continue to advance our mission in our office that we’re creating those spaces for our students to be able to have those conversations and also creating a culture of understanding where students are actually learning from each other and understanding someone’s point of view and perspective in an effort to see them as fully human and fully part of this community, not just the Babson community but the global community as a whole. That’s the vision, that’s the goal, and that’s what I hope will continue to do going forward.”
“My hope is that as we continue to advance our mission in our office that we’re … creating a culture of understanding where students are actually learning from each other and understanding someone’s point of view and perspective.”
Patrick Hale, director, Multicultural and Identity Programs
How has this past year affected you personally?
“Personally, it’s difficult to be a Black person in this country, particularly when there seems to be a lot of folks, myself included, who feel as though despite our calls for wanting to be treated justly, respectfully, with dignity, that we continue to feel a deep sense of … gosh, I mean, it’s hard to even put into words honestly. This year was really difficult, because it was hard to know how to support students, and it was simultaneously difficult to stay focused and take care of myself, too. I had a lot of support, thankfully, and I have such a tremendous and supportive team. I think it’s really important that I do what I need to do to fill my cup in the best ways and make sure that our students are keeping their cups full as well as having the connections that they need. It’s OK if I’m not the person that they come to because quite frankly it should take a community to support our students and it should not just be on me or my team.”
How does diversity, equity, and inclusion meld with entrepreneurial leadership?
“When thinking about diversity, equity, and inclusion, it is really critical that no matter what you do in an entrepreneurial leadership space, that if diversity, equity, and inclusion is not folded into your mission, your bottom line, if it’s not part of your core philosophy of how you do what you do and how you lead the way you lead, then I think that would make it harder for you to set yourself apart from other organizations that really are doing that well. … I’ve been appreciative of organizations that have stepped up to move us closer to a more equitable and just society. Entrepreneurial leadership requires that boldness to step into that truth, and a willingness to not only make the right investments to identify ways to eliminate barriers, but to invest in the people and communities that are impacted to make sure that they have a seat at the table, that they are rewarded and valued for their labor, and that they are prepared to be entrepreneurs in their own right. And, I think that’s really important. If we genuinely want to ensure that everyone has a chance to be the kind of leader that they deserve to be, I think that’s where I think entrepreneurial leadership and diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging interconnect. It’s about the ability to not just nurture your own leadership but to be willing to use the best knowledge that you have to do the same for those people who often don’t get the opportunity to lead.”
Two More for Patrick Hale
What does Babson mean to you?
“For me, Babson is a place where we invest the best of our knowledge, tools, resources, and systems into those who have a deep commitment to changing the world for the better, especially for those often on the margins. Babson is a place that has the potential to enhance the human condition in powerful, meaningful ways.”
Right now, what are you …
- Reading? The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown
- Watching? “I’m rewatching ‘Scandal.’ I can’t help but love Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope. She is the kind of person that I want to be as a human. I just love her character so much.”
- Listening to? “Musically, I tend to listen to a lot of older music. I’m a big fan of ’80s, ’90s, early 2000s R&B and pop, like Whitney Houston, Luther Vandross, Anita Baker, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson. I’m juggling so many podcasts right now, but one that I’m enjoying right now is ‘Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America,’ which is sponsored by Ben & Jerry’s and produced by Vox Creative. It’s been really insightful, really powerful, really informative, and just beautifully done, and I would highly recommend it to anyone.”
- Doing in your free time? “In my free time, I’m either creating something or I’m baking something. I really enjoy creating things whether it’s poetry or designing something, and I also love to cook and bake. That’s an act of love for me; it’s one of my favorite things that I love to do for people, including my partner. I love cooking for us as a family and for other friends.”
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