Kelly Lynam
Executive Education
June 28, 2022

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The power of advocacy: Executive Education participant ignites change for her future

Why it matters:

Kelly Lynam participated in a Johns Hopkins Executive Education program and since, has shifted her mindset to advocate for not only her team but for herself as a woman in a leadership position.

Academy for Women and Leadership:

Act with purpose, navigate the workplace, and take the lead with new strategies and tactics in this unique women’s leadership academy program.

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After taking part in a Johns Hopkins Executive Education program, one-word details Kelly Lynam’s experience. Gratitude.

As an IT professional, Lynam chose the Academy for Women and Leadership course to become a better advocate for herself and accomplish structural changes in her organization.

Currently, Lynam is the IT unit director for Johns Hopkins Technology Innovation Center. She manages a team of software developers and engineers for products in the Johns Hopkins ecosystem. Writing code, reporting issues, financials, and the IT helpdesk are a few areas where she and her team touch upon daily.

A few months after participating in the Academy, Lynam says she was promoted from a senior management position to her current director role – something she strived for before entering the Academy. She credits the negotiation and advocacy skills learned in the program for helping her take the next step in her career.

“This course helped make this promotion happen. My program mentor Mary Somers identified that I am at my best when helping others, which made me realize I was able to do so much more with my skills. I am so grateful to have had this experience,” she said.

The Johns Hopkins Executive Education Academy for Women and Leadership program is an eight-week transformational course for women in business seeking to gain insight and skills to move purposefully to the highest levels of leadership in the business world.

Fostering connections

The Academy for Women and Leadership doesn’t just develop techniques for women to be successful in their future endeavors. It also teaches important skills for team building and fostering relationships.

As IT unit director, Lynam acts in a project management capacity to help establish priority and delegate tasks but adds that her role in managing people goes beyond just ‘being a manager.’

“It’s my responsibility to my team to help them thrive and be as happy and successful as possible. That means listening and empathizing with what they say,” Lynam said. “And I learned a lot of techniques on how to problem solve with my team in the Academy.”

Becoming her own advocate

It hasn’t always been an easy task for Lynam to prioritize her schedule, manage a team, and find time to focus on herself. But after talks with past participants, she decided to explore the Academy for Women and Leadership for the unique topics discussed in the coursework.

“The feedback I received from the Academy was uniquely tailored to my specific circumstances, so I was able to action the suggestions directly back to my career and personal life. While uncomfortable conversations can still be difficult, I no longer allow my fear to prevent me from addressing what needs to be said. I know how to communicate in the appropriate ways,” she said.

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Looking back, Lynam says she appreciates the format of the Academy. Specifically, before starting the course when having to communicate with her team and customers that she would be unavailable for certain hours of the day.

“As someone who was not necessarily comfortable setting boundaries, before I even began the course, I had to set time away from my daily duties to prioritize my coursework and more specifically prioritize myself,” she said. “I was in the Academy not only to better the future of my team but to better myself.”

Lynam now leverages this new knowledge to communicate effectively with her team and establish trust in ambiguous circumstances. She also advocates for herself as a woman in a predominately male industry.

“The Academy for Women and Leadership was where I needed to be. Being able to call specific attention to the biases women face in the business world and learning how to negotiate for ourselves or how to strategize around those issues, other courses did not compare,” Lynam said. “And for that, I am so grateful.”

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