Student Research Feature: Ricki-Lee Prestley

Photo of MA Leadership graduate Ricki-Lee Prestley

The School of Leadership Studies would like to extend our heartfelt congratulations to Ricki-Lee Prestley on the completion of a Master’s Thesis titled, Designing Leadership Practice.

This thesis is available through RRU’s library here.

We asked Ricki-Lee a few questions about this research and this is what they said:

What are some key takeaways from your thesis that would be helpful for other leaders?

The primary takeaway is to remain mindful that leadership is a practice. Like any practice, developing one's leadership requires ongoing care and attention. Leader development programs and other forms of study are invaluable in building a foundation for leadership practice. Still, there is learning and growth that only comes from ongoing practice, reflection, and experimentation. It is useful for individual leaders to consider this when setting development goals and for organizations to explore how the use of formalized key performance indicators can support and legitimize leadership development practice as a core responsibility for those in formal leadership positions.

How is the organization moving change forward based on your work?

The findings and conclusions from my work have informed future planning related to formal leadership development programming offered at Fraser Health

What surprised you about your experience of the thesis process?

Conducting my research during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic afforded me the opportunity, with my partner organization, to forge an unconventional and ambitious path for my thesis work. The pandemic context, and unconventional approach, afforded no shortage of complexities and challenges to navigate. My biggest surprise was the degree to which this process would push me to clarify and reaffirm my purpose and my connection to the work and, further, the frequency with which greater clarity and affirmation were possible. It is a useful reminder of the value of deep inquiry when faced with complex or seemingly intractable issues.

How are you applying lessons learned from your whole MA-Leadership journey?

This was the toughest question of the bunch! The fundamental learning I took from my MA-Leadership journey was the value of engaging with the world from a place of curiosity. I carry that with me. Whether alone in reflection, at home, at work, or in my community, curiosity is an indispensable tool, which enables me to understand myself, others, and the systems around me, in new and evolving ways. Nothing about this world, this life, is static and curiosity gives us the power to keep up.