What Superpowers are Necessary to Lead Inclusively?

Area of Interest


Level of Experience


Target Audience

Academic Librarians, General Librarianship, Public Librarians

Session Description 

This panel discussion includes three women of color whose work experiences span across galleries, libraries, archives, and museums. They will engage in critical dialogue on

1.) leading people rather than managing objects,

2.) how our individual identity, power, and positionalities impact and drive our work,

3.) rejecting the normalized modalities of leadership while working towards a trauma-informed, healing centered leadership framework, and

4) dismantling barriers such as racism, sexism, transphobia and more that prevent inclusive leadership.

Each panelist has superpowers that enable them to adopt a servant based leadership framework that centers inclusion and equity. Together, the core powers are practices grounding in joy, love, and human-oriented, community builder, reflective, giving, humble, and passionate. One has extraordinary managerial skills, very open-minded and non-judgemental, honest, mentor, and much more. Another one is a consummate educator, critical scholar and researcher, empathetic, and much more. The last one is a facilitator, idea generator, sounding board, coordinator, and much more. Their work is not only focused on generating awareness and undoing implicit biases, racism, sexism, Ethnocentrism, transphobia, homophobia, etc. that were woven into the structures of the profession that harm BIPOC library workers and the communities they serve but also to lead inclusively, mainly engaging in critical reflection and critique to address (white) savior complex and vocational awe that impact ourselves, institutions, library spaces, services, and resources. Working towards racial justice is understanding that historical and contemporary injustices affect every aspect of underrepresented communities' lives. As bell hooks stated, real learning takes place in dialogue. Leading inclusively is about critically examining ourselves first, creating the space to do this, and intentionally examining the current leadership practices that have been actively oppressing and reinforcing structural inequities. Moreover, actively listening, de-centering whiteness, learning about and addressing exclusionary systems and organizational cultures, and centering employees are necessary to lead inclusively.


Twanna Hodge, University of Florida

Lourdes Santamaria-Wheeler, University of Florida

Porchia Moore, University of Florida