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Thursday, Jun 8, 2023

Riverside Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson Applies Her Training Daily

“Knowing myself provides me with the confidence to proceed in the face of criticism,” said Patricia Lock Dawson, mayor of the City of Riverside and a current candidate in the Executive MBA program at the Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University (CGU).

Sworn in as the city’s mayor in 2020, Dawson has pursued a robust agenda to bring resources to the city as she juggles the demands of her academic experiences at the Drucker School. But her work as a student is actually paying big dividends in her role as public servant. She says the principles taught by the late Peter Drucker, a longtime member of the CGU faculty and the father of modern management, have made her more effective in her civic role.

“Drucker’s idea that ‘the best way to predict the future is to create it’ drives me daily,” she said. “In fact, it’s inspired this year’s State of the City address, which is titled ‘Building Tomorrow Today.’ I’m creating the future economy in Riverside by establishing the city as a global center for green and clean technology.”

Dawson said Riverside’s challenges with air quality and traffic “create a living laboratory for innovative environmental research and technology,” and she credits Professors Hideki Yamawaki and Kristine Kawamura for giving her a lens to treat these issues as opportunities for attracting businesses and driving investment into the city’s economy.
That ability to find silver linings is something that has grown for Dawson thanks to her experiences as a management student.

“I used to approach my development from a deficit viewpoint, focusing on my weaknesses and looking for ways to improve or fix myself,” she explained, “but Drucker principles taught me that knowing my strengths and building on them was a much better use of my time and efforts.”

Management schools often overlook a crucial aspect of leadership: To manage teams effectively, you have to first be able to manage yourself.
That ability to recognize one’s strengths and blind spots was something Drucker emphasized—and today that concept of “managing oneself” is a signature part of the Drucker EMBA program that is taught by Professor Jeremy Hunter, who has revolutionized the field by introducing Eastern practices of mindfulness into management training.

“In my role as mayor, my judgment and decisions are often questioned and harshly critiqued,” said Dawson. “Knowing myself provides me with the confidence to proceed in the face of criticism. My classes with Professors Jeremy Hunter and Chris Laszlo taught me grounding techniques and gave me the resources to build resilience and flourish in my leadership role.”

Dawson’s Drucker training is clearly paying off. In addition to regular media coverage highlighting her efforts to help the city, she also applied and was accepted into the competitive Bloomberg Harvard City Initiative. She was one of only 38 mayors selected from around the world to participate in this year-long program that includes support and coaching to establish a clean and green innovation economy in Riverside.

The Drucker School’s low teacher-student ratio has enabled Dawson to work closely with all of her professors, including Dean David Sprott, who is collaborating with her on a capstone project in her final semester that will leverage her work with Harvard. Additionally, as a member of the state’s Big City Mayors’ Coalition, she has secured millions in funding for youth workforce development as well as homeless programs by identifying opportunities in the state.

If she could give one piece of advice to up-and-coming executives about the key to her success, what would it be?
“Relationships are everything, so build them, nurture them, and be trustworthy,” Dawson explained. “Important relationships can develop with anyone. Never discount someone because you think they aren’t powerful or able to help you.”

Learn more about the Executive MBA program at the Drucker School at cgu.edu.

Paola Mendez
Paola Mendez
Paola Mendez graduated from Los Angeles Valley College, then transferred to University of California, and now serves as a Receptionist and Office Assistant to the Los Angeles Business Journal. Paola wears many hats in different departments and is trilingual in English, Spanish and French.

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